Thursday, July 3, 2014

June Mystery Quilt Weekend

A report from Brandy Gully's Newest Quilter.

Quilters beware there is a man amongst us..
This last weekend saw our shop host its third 'mystery quilt' weekend. To my greatest shock and amazement, my middle child, Matthew at the age of 22 decided he wanted to join in and try his hand at quilting. He figured if he was going to work for me then he ought to have a first hand knowledge of what happens and what's involved in the making of a quilt.
Don't tell him, if you see him that just making the top is only half of the experience as I think he needs a bit more time to wrap his masculine head around the process.
I simply can't tell you the fun I had watching him learn to sew (which he had never done before) let alone wield a beer in one hand and a rotary cutter in the other....
So without further words from me, here is Matt's story in his own words, about the first quilt top he began to make and I am proud to say he now owns his first UFO.
Go Matt!!
What a weekend! I have always appreciated the detail, effort, love and skill that goes into quilting, but WOAH! I had no idea!

Unfortunately, I had some other commitments during the weekend and was not able to attend for the full amount of time.  I must say, however,  I am feeling pretty proud of my efforts!

The weekend began with a night of fabric selection, cutting, and a sneaky beer (to steady my hand for the rotary cutter). Although the whole night was very light-hearted, I don't think I have every been so nervous measuring such small amounts! Every time I felt that I was getting the hang of it enough to start showing off, I looked down and remembered that cutting fabric strips an inch too short was a big 'no no'....

With a wide range of skill and experience levels in the class (mine being the lowest) I felt very well looked after. Not only was mum watching to make sure that I left the cutting table with my finger tips intact, but there were decades of helpful hints and tips being shared all night from every member of the class. It is amazing the difference that "hold your hand like this" or "I find it easier in this order" can make! These helpful words of advice, along with the support from the lovely community on our Facebook page, I now see why so many ladies love the experience of drinking tea and turning beautiful fabric into something truly amazing.

The Saturday began late for me. I had to squeeze in a few hours of weightlifting training to make sure that my testosterone levels were high enough for a day behind the sewing machine. As I am not quite the fabric cutting ninja that mum is, I still had some fabrics to cut. Mum offered to do some cutting for me and speed me up, but the idea of sleeping under a quilt that I did all of the cutting for just sounded too rewarding! After finally finishing my battle with the rotary cutter and ruler I learned that that was the easy part!

"How hard can a quarter inch seam be... right? Stick two bits of fabric together, step on the pedal and BINGO! You've got yourself a quilt!" That's how I saw it going anyway... It was more like "line up fabrics... wait... that's not even... there we go... put it in the machine... step on the pedal... Why aren't you working?... Oh yeah! Lower the foot... WHAT?! I bumped the fabric... lift the foot and redo it... ok start sewing...... whoops... seam is too wide... now it's too narrow!!... NOW IT'S TOO WIDE AGAIN!!! OK I think I did a good job of that one now... I'll just check it.................. MUUUUUUMMMMMM!!!! Can you unpick my stitching! I don't think I did it right!"
Anyway... after a long battle with my strips, I was almost there! I had a big bunch of strips, "I am flying through this! It must be pretty close to putting it all together and finishing it". NOPE! Turns out, once quilters spend ages cutting up a perfectly good bolt of fabric, they not only like to cut it into small pieces and sew them together, but then they like to cut them into SMALLER pieces and then sew them back together! When I read the next instruction that said I had to cut my beautiful strips, not just into 4 or 5 pieces, but 40, I started to take a long hard look at the quilts around me. The ones that I had admired on the walls of the shop or slept under for years. These weren't just beautiful, these were AMAZING! The amount of cuts and stitches that must have gone into them was truly beginning to sink in!

With this new found sense of appreciation, I was back into it! If mum had made me so many quilts with so many little fiddly bits, I was going to make her one that she could be proud of! (I wasn't going to give it to her... It was going to take me too long to finish this thing. I don't want to give it away!! But I will let her show people I guess...).

By the time Sunday had come around, I felt like I was in a storm of coffee, fabric, and the most delicious cake I have ever eaten! The quilt was starting to come together! ...and then back apart when I realised I had yet again gotten my seams wrong! But all around me, the ladies with a bit more experience than me were really flying along. What had started as sets of four bolts of fabrics, was now beginning to turn into absolutely stunning quilts, right in front of everyone! By the time the machines were being packed up at the end of the day, there were quilts in a wide range of stages. Each, however was gorgeous! Mine, (the slowest of the group) was still only a bunch of squares, but I was stoked! I had learned a new skill, spent a whole weekend in the company of lovely people and had enjoyed every minute of it!

So I would like to end this by saying, on behalf of all of the non-quilting recipients of all of your lovely quilts! Thank you! We love your quilts and think they are beautiful, but until we sit behind a machine and try it for ourselves, we simply don't understand!

So whether you would like to educate someone on just how difficult and rewarding, making a quilt can be, or would just like to be a part of a friendly and fun atmosphere, I would thoroughly recommend our next mystery quilt weekend! I loved every minute of it!

Matt Tervo


Susan said...

Great insight Mike, a great read, I particularly like the MUUUUMMMM paragraph LOL You go mate!!!!

Nikki Tervo said...

Thanks Susan.

Haha I'm glad you liked the MUUUUMMM Paragraph. I felt it pretty much summed up my weekend of quilting haha.

Thanks for the support :)

Matt Tervo
Nikki Tervo Designs