Thursday, April 16, 2015

Remembering Nan

About twelve years ago, I made my first quilt. My grandma helped me learn to sew straight lines and rip out my slightly imperfect seams. She taught me how to use an iron and how to choose fabrics. After it was pieced, she guided my quilting. She showed me how to bind a quilt and hand sew the binding. I was eight years old.

When I was eleven, I went to my aunt's house and told her I wanted to make a quilt for my baby cousin. It was simple squares with straight line quilting, but I got it done in time for her birth without the help of my grandma. (The baby is now nine years old and on the right)

A few months later, I told my grandma I wanted to make a quilt for another cousin. His nursery had a nautical theme, so she showed me how to paper piece sailboats and anchors. The quilt was never finished, but I found a few of the blocks when I was looking through a box of mementos from my grandma's sewing room.

Last August, I completed the Forest Abstractions quilt after reteaching myself the same technique my grandma had eight years earlier.

When I was thirteen, I begged her to teach me to read patterns while we were at Joann's one day. She decided on a simple apron pattern and helped me make three. We spent the entire day cutting out patterns, trying to sew hems on curved pieces, and she showed me how to sew on ric rac. I don't think I've ever worn any of the aprons--in fact, I have no clue where to find them at the moment. But I was excited to finish them and be able to say that I'd sewn an actual article of clothing.

When I was seventeen, I decided to sew my prom dress instead of convincing my parents to spend hundreds of dollars on something I'd wear for a few hours. It took me a month to figure out how to work with satin and 16 yards of gathered tulle. But I finished it without the help of my grandma. But this time, it wasn't by choice. She had passed away the year before, and no matter how much I wanted her help, I couldn't go to her with all of my questions.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of her last day. In four years, I've come quite far in my sewing adventures. In the past year, I've made fifteen quilts (and an unknown amount of minis). I've sewn too many bags and added to my wardrobe with apparel made by my own two hands.

I have an unmanageable amount of memories drifting through my mind today, so I'm going to end the post here. My grandma left quite a mark on her local quilting community and on me. As much as I wish I could turn to her with questions, I'm incredibly grateful for the online communities I'm a part of that so kindly offer help when I need it. So I'm going to start blogging what I'm doing in an attempt to give back to a group of people who have already helped me so much. 

Until next time,