Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Welcome to my blog!

   Welcome to all my fellow quilters and Civil War buffs! I'm new to blogging, so please bear with me as I learn. I've kept a quilt journal for 20+ years to keep a record of the time spent on my quilting. Blogging will just be sharing my journal with you, right?!
    I have to start with a big "Thank You" to Karen Valentine  (valentinedesign.blogspot.com) who designed my blog and endured my endless questions and patiently explained to me in layman's terms how to navigate my blog site.
    My paternal grandmother, Della Lillard, was a quilter. She taught me to sew when I was 5 yrs. old. We made doll clothes together when I stayed at my grandparents' farm. She stopped quilting when her 9 children were grown, so I never saw her actually quilt. She had a large camel back trunk full of her quilts that I loved to admire. As a special treat when I spent the night, she would let me pick the quilt I'd sleep under. Oh, how I loved those quilts! Sadly, Grandma developed Alzeimers by the time I wanted to learn to quilt, so I am self-taught, but inspired by those beautiful quilts in her trunk. I own one of them, but the rest left the family to my deep regrets. Grandma made all her dresses and aprons out of calico fabrics and her quilts were sewn from the leftover scraps from her sewing. She would let me choose what dress and what apron she wore when I was there and, oh, how I loved that! The doll clothes we made were out of her scrapbag too. I fell in love with fabric thanks to Grandma. Thus, my favorite quilts are scrappy and even though I buy yardage, I usually use so many fabrics in my quilts, they look scrappy too.  Grandma used to tell me stories about the hard times in the Great Depression and how terrible it was to not be able to buy new fabrics. I remind myself of those stories every time I am in a quilt shop...I buy enough so if there is ever another depression, I'll have enough fabric to last me. Great excuse, don't you think?
   I started collecting antique quilts, quilt tops, and "orphan" blocks after I started quilting, always trying to "recreate" that trunkful of Grandma's "lost" quilts. I'm fascinated with old quilts and love to hear stories of their creation if known and fantacize what their story might be when no details are available.
  My lifelong love of history is intertwined with my love for antique quilts. My favorite period of history is the Civil War Era. In 2005 I gave my first "talk" on "The Importance of Quilts and Textiles During the Civil War" to the 8th grade history classes at our middle school. I showed some of my quilt collection, including a quilt made by a Union soldier and the students loved it. I soon was asked to speak to quilt guilds and other organizations. Since then, all the quilts I make are Civil War reproductions, with the exception of baby quilts I make as gifts for family. Those I make of 30's repros. I enjoy seeing quilts made by other quilters in modern fabrics and can appreciate their beauty, but I can't seem to put needle and thread to anything but reproduction fabrics.
   In future posts, I'll share pictures of my collection, as well as new quilts I'm working on, and all things "quilting." I see my first post is a bit rambling, sorry! I hope you visit again soon and share your own quilting experiences with me.
Keep stitching!

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