Quilting as Mother Culture
a Guest Post from
Rachael of Homeschooling Kiwi Style
“It seems to me that, whether it is recognized or not, there is a terrific frustration which increases in intensity and harmfulness as time goes on, when people are always daydreaming of the kind of place in which they would like to live, yet never making the place where they do live, into anything artistically satisfying to them.”
– Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking
I’ve always loved to try my hand at different forms of creativity. When I was about 15 years old, I started cross-stitching, and from then on I cross-stitched pictures for gifts for friends and family for several years. I delighted in the finished product, but it also gave me something to do with my hands on those cosy winter evenings. I find it fascinating that I can look back at a portion of a cross-stitch picture and remember where I was or what I was listening to at the time. Sometimes it was a movie, sometimes it was a youth Bible study, sometimes it was listening to a particular speaker on a Christian radio station. I have since found that I retain a lot more if my hands a busy when listening. Not that I advocate taking along your cross-stitch to church, but we certainly find now that our girls take in a lot more of the Sunday sermon when they have taken notes, keeping their hands busy, rather than trying to sit absolutely still and just listen.
Another reason I love creativity is that it is simply like breathing to me. If I haven’t done anything particularly creative for a while I start to feel it! I’ve tried my hand at several new creative outlets, particularly in the past few years as my girls have gotten older and are able to join in. We also love doing an art project as part of our picture study. I’ve dabbled in a little bit of drawing and water colour, sometimes wishing I could set up and spend days painting! But then I come across something else that I want to try…perhaps that’s why they are called the “liberal” arts!
One hobby that I have started recently, and that has stuck, is quilting. I didn’t sew much as a child. I did a couple of those “home economics” courses at school, but I don’t think I produced much more that a little patchwork cushion! I have certainly never made my own clothes. I tried a bit of stretch sewing back in the nineties, when tracksuits were fashionable, and sewed a few little pairs of leggings for my elder daughters. But I didn’t own my own sewing machine until a few years ago, when another homeschooling mum gave me an old Necchi. That old Necchi has had a workout! It all started with a quilting class at church, taught by our pastor’s wife and another lady who is a beautiful quilter. We had a few basic lessons on piecing fabric and learnt how to make a “quilt sandwich”. This is when you put all the layers together: the pieced (or patchwork) top, the batting in the middle, and the back. From then on, my old machine has made numerous small quilts. I’ve also tried out other sewing projects, such as tote bags and cushion covers. I’ve been able to take up curtains for the rooms we’ve renovated, and probably best of all, my girls have all had a go too! All I had to do was say “yes, you may use the machine” and off they would go. Bethany (12 ½) has made numerous little bags for herself. These all have linings and trimmings. She has adapted a basic tote bag pattern and got creative! Lately she has been producing “Little House on the Prairie” costumes, complete with fancy hats! Emily (11 ½) has also had a go, and produced little cushions for gifts for her brother and sister. Ainsley (8) is also a keen sewer and has made miniature quilts for her dolls and cushions as well.
It has been wonderful to have a go and see the results, and it’s also been wonderful to see my daughters using their own creativity to produce beautiful projects.
Here are some of my favourite inspirational quilting blogs and websites:
Check them out, you never know, you might love quilting as much as I do!