It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been on the needle for almost 25 years! Of course my needle only works when there’s thread and fabric with it, but still, the addiction is just as strong as it is with those illegal substances. And really, that’s what our quilting lives are all about–our addiction to our fabrics, threads and needles.
I started right after I married my hubby, Stephen. I traded in my credit cards for a new sewing machine, which he was convinced would turn into a footstool within a month. Instead, he had to replace the cheapo model he got for me when I wore it out within six months. I started by teaching myself how to make clothing–no classes, no mentors. And boy did it show! And then, quite by accident, I found a quilt pattern in a magazine and thought I could do that. And I did. Sorta. Mostly. (No classes, no mentors again.) The Beast still lives and travels with me to guild lectures where I release him from his cage so he can talk all about my quilting shortcomings.
But it was true love between me and quilting and I haven’t stopped since. Of course, as a self-taught quilter and sewists, learned the very hard way too many times to count. But I figure that makes me a much better teacher, because anything a student can mess up, I’ve already done myself, so I’m empathetic and nurturing about it. My classes are where we get to safely make mistakes because if we’re not making mistakes, we’re probably not being very creative, and what fun is that?
Somewhere along this journey of yardage I made a baby, quit my day job as a newspaper reporter, started working as a freelance writer and editor, changed diapers, kept sewing and then got the bright idea to write a book. And then another. And then two more after that. From there I started writing magazine articles and submitting quilt designs. And got published! (And yes, that’s as thrilling as you might imagine it to be!) I even won an award or two along the way (also as thrilling as you might imagine–maybe more so!).
Teaching and lecturing began working its way into my schedule and before I knew it I was actually making a living from what my husband believed would become a footstool. How about that!
In 2011, I was in the throes of being laid off from the magazine we worked for when my partner, Melissa Thompson Maher, and I launched our own magazine. Generation Q Magazine is a lifestyle magazine for today’s quilter and sewist.
Oh, and that baby I stayed home for? That’s Samantha and she’s now 15 and has her own machine which is not a footstool either. When someone asks her what her mother does for living, she says, “Mama makes quilts.”