I first started quilting this summer while I was finishing up my grad school classes. I was fortunate enough to have some time off that I could use to attend beginning quilt classes at my (not so) local quilt store. I calculate that I saved about 2 years of frustration and hard lessons by starting out with good habits learned, and soon made rapid progress. In that first summer I made a large sampler quilt from the beginner class, two baby quilts, two quilts for “Quilts for Kids” and another large quilt for my husband. I was in love with quilting. I had finally found “my” craft.
Fast forward to October 2010. I was about to deploy to Afghanistan. I was not about to bring my sewing machine, so I got the bright idea that it would be a great time to make a quilt completely by hand. Looking back, this was never going to work, but at the time it seemed doable. I cut out all the pieces and brought needles, thread and instructions. This attempt to hand piece lasted approximately two long and frustrating hours.
I began to research sewing machines that were small, portable, and most importantly – would be able to stand up to Middle East dust and dirt. I found the Singer Featherweight 221 to be the answer to my problems. I ordered one, and had it shipped to Southern Afghanistan. I’m pretty sure I have one of the few, if not only, Featherweights in this entire country. It is the perfect solution. It is small, has a case, and is entirely mechanical. I can oil and grease it myself. When I get back home, I will be able to give it a thorough cleaning on my own and have a great little machine to travel with. Mine is a 1948, and it runs amazingly well. I recommend this little machine to anyone looking for a travel machine.
Now, I am attempting to quilt in an area that is about 18”x30”. It requires some creative maneuvering. It has also led me to discover the world of pre-cut fabrics. I don’t have enough space to really deal with yardage. My introduction to pre-cut fabrics is in the form of the book “Jelly Roll Quilts” by Pam & Nicky Lintott.
I’m working my way through this book in 20 minute increments. I work 7 days a week, so I sneak sewing in before work, during lunch, late at night … whenever I get a chance. This is the story of my attempt to keep my sanity and keep a piece of myself no matter what else is going on in the world.