My Journey to Quilting

November 2011

This story may be a smidgen long so you might want to grab your cup of tea and get cozy.

Back in January 2006 we were just starting on our journey to adopt a baby girl from China. Once we learned that we were logged into their waiting list on April 3, 2006 I joined the April 06 online group of other waiting parents-to-be. There I learned about the Northern China tradition of creating a "Bai-Jia-Bei" otherwise known as a "100 Good Wishes Quilt" to welcome and celebrate a new life into the family.  One hundred family and friends donate a piece of fabric along with a written wish for the baby-to-be. The wish can be anything: a quote, a poem, a saying, a verse or a simple wish from the heart. A quilt for the child is made from the pieces of material and the wishes are placed in a scrapbook for the child to one day read. A small sample of the fabric is attached to the wish card so that the child can match the wish in her album with the square on her quilt. It is said that the luck, energy and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed to the quilt will surround the child when she is wrapped in it. The quilt is passed down from generation to generation.

So although I new absolutely nothing about scrapbooking or quilting, nor did I have any desire at the time to actually make the quilt myself, I loved the symbolic meaning of this tradition and I joined in on the fabric and wish (squish) swaps happening amongst the group's members. While I waited for the squishes to arrive in the mail, I hunted all over the web for ideas for what to do with them. My cousin offered to make the quilt for me so I thought that once I decided on a pattern, all I had to do was to hand it off to her and eventually I'd have back a finished quilt for our future daughter.

Well as is typical with me, once an idea pops into my head, I ponder it non stop day and night. I started to wonder if I should somehow participate in the quilt making process a little bit so that I has more meaning, that I actually had a small hand in its construction. It just so happened that my BFF was taking a beginning quilting class and when we visited her in July 2009, I was afforded the opportunity of sitting in on one of her class sessions. It didn't look as hard as I thought it was. If I could create towering wedding cakes to feed 250 people, I could do this. While she finished her class, I shopped the store and ended up coming home with 11 fat quarters. My stash was started.

Once home I wanted to try it myself. I borrowed my Mom's older machine, bought a few inexpensive bits of fabric (so that I wouldn't ruin any of the good stuff) and practiced making the blocks that I invisioned for the quilts (now not 1 to be made but 2 because we did a concurrent adoption of our Jammer boy from Vietnam while we continued to wait to bring home our Sunshine girl from China). I actually didn't do too bad with those but I needed more information! I checked the multiples of local quilt stores and didn't find any beginning classes like BFF's so she kindly sent me the instructions for the one she was learning to make and I set to self teach myself, with a few books open by my side for guidance.

It didn't take long to discover that I was addicted. Hook, line and sinker! Soon after I discovered a Quilting 101 class at my favorite LQS and signed up immediately, a birthday present from my mom. Lets say the rest is quilting history. I love it beyond words. I have my own wonderful machine that I adore. I've completed over 2 dozen quilts to date, I have a long list of projects waiting in the wings and my stash has growing nicely.

If you've read this far, I commend you for being interested in my story. As I delve further into the online and offline quilting world, I decided I wanted to separate my quilting life a bit from my personal blog and thus the reason for this new place. Who knows what wonders may come from my hobby but if somehow the chance comes in the future to participate in a blog hop or perhaps get to test out a quilt pattern or two, I'd like to have a place to write about that. And many of my projects, current and future, are to be gifts and therefore need to be kept secret. Plus the fact that I want to document the processes and I can't do that on my other blog so proverbial cats don't get out of the bag, I can now post about them here.

I feel like a whole new life with quilting is just opening up for me and I'm excited to see what the future will bring. I'm glad you've come along for the ride with me.