My mom has been a huge supporter of my quilting since I started in 2010 as a sophomore in college. I lived at home part of the time, and she allowed me to utilize our little-used dining room as a sewing area. That came to bite her when she helped plan my surprise bridal shower in 2012, though. :D
One of my favorite pictures of us.
Anyway, Mom has a special friend from childhood, and she wanted to make her a unique birthday gift. We sat down to choose fabrics, which I shared here. Mom picked the fabrics on the left for this quilt, because her friend loves a tone-downed palette. We're still planning on combining the scraps from these two stacks to make a wall-hanging. They weren't supposed to go so well together, but they really do!
Then, over the course of about a week, I led her through the process of making a quilt. I've come to the conclusion that it TOTALLY makes sense to teach beginning quilters how to improvise. Instead of piecing blocks and matching points (which you can learn later), it makes sense to first learn the process of creating a whole quilt and trust your gut. This is more for another entirely different post, but the point is this: I tested out one of my basic improv patterns on her, and it worked!
Things got silly after a while. It was gratifying, though, to see someone else enjoying the hum of the sewing machine for a few hours.
Then, I showed Mom how to baste a quilt (all the while blasting the Hamilton soundtrack on my phone. Just setting the scene here). I explained all the different ways to baste that I know of. Mom was interested to hear about the wonders of spray baste and my own process (which is based on much trial and error - I'll have to share on here in the future). She didn't do the basting herself because she just had two knee surgeries. I was happy to help.
Mom wanted this quilt to be quilted densely. After I presented several different options, she chose swirls with pebbles, which recalls shells on the beach (which her friend LOVES!). If you want to learn how do quilt this way, check out the Seafoam motif in Free-Motion Quilting With Angela Walters. In the interest of time, instead of teaching her to confidently free motion quilt (which would take at least 15 hours of practice!), I quilted it for her on my Janome. She's interested in learning in the future, though.
I hadn't quilted an all-over motif in quite a while, and it took several hours to quilt a 55"x62" quilt like this! I was absolutely exhausted over the three days I worked on it, but the outcome was worth it. I will forever insist that quilting IS exercise and that it should probably be an Olympic sport. I quilted over this soft palette using my favorite gray, Aurifil #2600 (Dove).
All in all, it was an educational process for both of us. Mom learned a ton about quilts - she says she didn't realize how much thought and work really went into each one. I realized how much I actually KNOW about making a quilt and how specialized a process it can be. It's a skill that can be learned and practiced, and we should certainly appreciate and place significant value our time and expertise. If you're an experienced quilter, please don't underestimate your skills!
I had the opportunity to use up some long-owned Art Gallery yardage on the back. Boom.
Oh, and my mom's friend LOVED it. It was the best feeling to receive this picture and a thank you note from her! Gifting quilts FTW.