Just when I didn't think I had anything to blog about today, I saw where today is National Book Lover's Day and Moda is celebrating by asking what quilting book inspired you the most? I was surprised to see that Sherri at A Quilting Life was inspired by the same book as me.
Little Quilts All Through the House was the one that began my "true" plunge into quilting. Before it, I had made a couple things, including an Eleanor Burns quilt, Burgoyne Surrounded. Did we all begin with Eleanor? But I didn't have a stash, room, or was consumed before I had this book.
Let me set the stage. It was January 1995. I was living back home in South Dakota for a year because my husband was "lucky" enough to get a one year assignment in Korea, unaccompanied. My daughter was 8 at the time and she and I moved to South Dakota. I didn't live with my parents, but rented a house 60 miles away in the nearest "city." (At the time, a "city" was defined by having a McDonalds, a Walmart, and traffic lights. My hometown had none of these.) I can't tell you the despair I was in facing that year. I wasn't brand new to the Army life, either, and had already been "initiated" in my first 6 months with my husband going off to the first gulf war. I think what got to me the most was that he left right after Christmas and I was consumed by looking at the 1995 calendar and knowing that he would be gone for the whole thing! Maybe if he had left in May, or September, or July it would have seemed easier because I wouldn't "see" the whole thing. I don't know. All I do know is that I began the year in a poor frame of mind.
Luckily the large town (it never was a city) I was living in had a fabric store. It was just a chain shop--Northwest Fabrics. I'm not sure if they still exist? I would go there because I loved fabric, I sewed for my daughter, and I had made a couple quilted projects. While on one visit, I saw this Little Quilts book. I was smitten! I loved the projects. I wanted to make some like it. I first thought I could make them without the book, because is was something like $22! I didn't want to spend $22 on a book! (ha ha--the irony!) This was not a craft/fabric store that had 40% off coupons every week, either. I continued to visit and look at the book until finally the store was going to have 30% off any one item on the first weekend in March.
The first weekend in March was also my daughter's birthday. Family was coming, and that would be nice, but I wanted to get to the fabric store to buy my book! I woke up on that Saturday morning to a blizzard. Are you kidding me? It eventually stopped snowing hard so I set out and plowed through the drifts and made it to the store and got that book! I read it from cover to cover. Next I began to get some fabric. I remember looking at the pictures in the book and trying to get the same type of fabric so that I could "get the look" that I loved. I began by getting quarter yards of fabric, or even eighths! (No fat quarters yet!) And I plunged in. I made nearly every quilt in the book.
I made both log cabin quilts in the book, but the other version I gave away. Everything is hand-quilted except this one below.
Celebration Flag: I had two of these screw-pinned to the backs of my chairs in the living room.
Christmas Stars. I love this one and it is out all year long.
Cinnamon Hearts. I've made many of these. Whenever I teach back-basting applique, I always have my students make a heart. Since I make up samples showing different steps, I can make one of these when I finish all the samples.
A friend and I made the bearpaw sampler from the book together for another friend. I made a Sun Bonnet Sue from the book, also for my sister. I even made this:
which was shown in the book but didn't have the instructions. The fabric in the alternate blocks is from a real feedsack that I found at an antique shop there. The instructions for this quilt were published by Little Quilts in a later book.
I have remained a big Little Quilt's fan and have made many, many other of their quilts. When they finally opened their shop in Marietta, Georgia, I was able to go while I lived in Augusta, and I'm afraid I acted like a bit of a groupie, getting my picture taken, etc. I actually took a two-day class there, too and to this day it is my favorite class I've had.
I always date 1995 as the year that I truly began quilting and it was all because of this book. Quilting made the separation bearable and ever since, when my husband is gone, quilting really comforts me. I'm always quilting, but when he is away I get even more manic with it, even staying up all hours, etc. In an aside, that same year I took a genealogy class and got immersed in that as well.
What is the quilt book that inspired you the most?