The Evolution of a Quilter..and a Thanks to my Dad.

Way back when our son Karl, who is now 19, was in third grade, he was in love with Harry Potter.


He was reading all the books.  As a reward for his reading I decided  to make him a quilt with Harry Potter fabric.  Big blocks is was.  Something simple and easy.

At the time I didn’t have a quilting machine so I tied the quilt.  I tied lots of quilts back then.  I eventually got to the point that quilting was frustrating for me.  I wanted to make the machine quilted quilts I saw in the magazines and on patterns but just didn’t have the money to pay for the fabric AND to pay for the machine quilting.  I did a few wall hangings and throw quilts because I could quilt them with my traditional machine, but slowly I just quit quilting because I couldn’t complete the projects the way I wanted.  I wanted to make bed size quilts!!

Finally I made it known to Hubby that I wanted a quilting machine.  With the five kids, it was a struggle to try to save much money, but slowly we saved a bit…not a lot, but a bit.  It was enough that I had hope that maybe, just maybe I could get a machine in few years.

Then my Dad had a stroke, lingered and then passed away.  It was a long summer of hospital visits, nursing home visits and then cleaning his belongings.  Once the estate was settled, each of my siblings and I inherited some money.  That was hard for me.  I am not used to getting something for nothing.  I felt like it was my Dad’s money…I vowed I was just going to put it in the bank and forget about it, not spending a cent.  Then after some talking and prodding,  hubby convinced me to take enough money out to purchase a quilting machine.   Hubby convinced me that being I did a lot of donation quilts, it really was no different than my dad donating money to a worthy project.  His logic made sense and after some thought, I bought a quilting machine.

I didn’t do any investigation.  I just bought what I first saw, my Pfaff Grand Quilter.

My quilting life changed with that gift of money from my Dad.  I was so happy quilting because I felt like I could afford to quilt and finish my project the way I wanted.  I didn’t have to tie quilts anymore.  I could machine quilt them.  I could make quilts look like they did in the pattern.  I could make big bed sized quilts.  From then on, I started sewing all the time.  It honestly was like a new door had opened for me.   I can’t say enough times how thankful and grateful I am to my Dad for the gift of my quilting machine.

As I patched this hole in Karl’s quilt today these were the thoughts I had….


thoughts of thankfulness.  Thankfulness to my Dad…thankfulness that my son grew up healthy and smart.


Then I picked up the quilt to fold in and…what??

I had sewn through the quilt catching too much fabric.  I tore it out and patched again, still thinking how blessed I am.

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12 thoughts on “The Evolution of a Quilter..and a Thanks to my Dad.

  1. Kristie

    I’m sure your dad would be proud. I can relate somewhat to your story. I used to constantly make simple quilts and tied them but was never truly satisified with them because I wanted them machine quilted. I try not to ask for much and money was tight, but hubby and I talked about it. I ended up having 75 quilts tops of my own waiting to be quilted (photo on my sidebar) as I waited for my machine. Something came up and the money that I had saved had to be spent for something else. When we got out tax return I bought my Bailey machine and hubby built my 14ft frame. It works perfect! I felt such qulting freedom when I was able to do my own machine quilting. Then I felt a little guilty about spending that much money so I started quilting for others. I got really burned out on that and now I safely feel that I have quilting enough for others to pay for my machine several times. :) Now….I am just going to quilt for myself, I think I have somewhere around 35+ tops that need quilting of my own.

    Have a wonderful and Blessed day
    Kristie

  2. Laurel from NW Iowa

    Oh, Jo, I had to wait until I stopped crying to post this. What a lovely story about your dad! He must certainly be proud of you and of all that you do to reuse and recycle. My dad was the same way. One time I had a mini retreat at my parents’ home in Ft. Dodge. My friend Steph from Cresco had a Bernina Quilter’s Edition machine and I had a 10- year-old Kenmore, which worked just fine for my level of sewing. Dad thought I needed a new machine, so for Mother’s Day he and my mom bought me a Bernina. I was scared to death of it because I was 90 miles away for where I bought it and was afraid I would push the wrong button or something. Whenever Dad would ask, “How is the new machine?” I would say, “It is awesome!” which was true. Then when he died in 2001, I figured I had better start using it in case he could see from Heaven that I was not sewing with it! Crazy, huh? Your story brought back good memories of my dad, so thank you!

  3. Dee

    Wow, I am so relieved to hear I am not a crazy woman. Why? Well, my Dad’s estate is just getting settled and we had a dispersement. I cryed for 2 weeks as I didn’t earn this money (it’s not a huge some), what do I do with it to honor my folks? I finally ended up putting it in the bank for now (I cried when I opened the acount-poor teller thought my Dad passed recently – which it has been a couple of years.) As I told my husbund, I know it is weird, but it is like they are both gone for real now. I used to be able to drive by the farm and at least pretend they were there. It’s hard to be adult, I miss Dad and Mom much.
    Thank you for sharing. I am guessing there will be a machine in m future

  4. Denise in PA

    I’m sure your Dad is thrilled that you purchased a quilting machine with your inheritance. When my grandmother (who lived with us) passed away, I bought my HQ16 and used her former bedroom as my “longarm” room – I know she is smiling. o:)

  5. Ranch Wife

    I think that your Dad would be proud and happy to see that the quilting you do with your machine brings you…and many others, much joy. You are giving back and blessing others and I think that is a wonderful way to honor your Dad.

  6. Sue K

    I can so relate. I, too, inherited some money from my Dad when he passed away. He had suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed and I took care of him for 17 years. My husband told me to spend the money and enjoy it but like you, I put it in the bank and always thought of it as Dad’s money. A little bit at a time, I am spending it on crafty goodness…yarn, fabric, supplies. Most is staying safe to aid in my retirement and I am very grateful.

  7. Margaret

    A sad ending became a new beginning. That is how life should always work out. Congratulations on getting a quilting machine and doing what you love. I am sure your dad is looking down and giving you a Woot! Woot!

  8. carolyn

    I quilt on a Pfaff grand quilter too, I really want a long arm, but i’m not sure I can justify the purchase either. I would hate that someone would pass away and leve me the money. i do have enough to buy it, but since I just retired, I’m not willing to tke my money out of my retirement ‘stash’ to purchase something like that. I know I could make $ and yes I too donate quilts. I just don’t think I want to start doing something on a time line yet.Time will tell.
    I loved your story though I’m glad you dad provided you w a start, bc although I have been quilting since the early 80’s I’m learning constantly from you and others to improve my quilting.

  9. Cindy in NC

    Jo, your story really touched my heart — in part because it is similar to mine. I, too, received an inheritance after my mother, an incredible quilter, died in August 2009. Like you, I was very uncomfortable with the idea of having money that I didn’t earn and stashed it all in my retirement fund so I wouldn’t have to think about it for a long time.

    In the process of looking for a way to get her unfinished tops quilted, I discovered quilting blogs and the Million Pillowcase Challenge. I decided to turn much of her fabric stash into pillowcases and, in doing so, realized there was not much life left in my 34-year-old Kenmore. I became intrigued with the Janome 6500 after reading about this machine on Bonnie Hunter’s blog. I found a great deal on one with a table but hesitated to spend the money. I then received a letter from Social Security stating that, due to an error, my mother was owed some money and that a check would be sent to me. I thought I’d have to wait months (and make many follow-up calls) to get the check, but it arrived in just a few days. It was for $7 more than the Janome cost. It took this as a sign from my mom to buy the machine, and I haven’t regretted this decision. The Janome helped me make more than 230 pillowcases for charity.

    I do not currently have the space, time, or skill for a longarm. If I ever do, I will remember your husband’s wise words. I knew my mother would have approved of her stash being used as it was, but I never thought of those pillowcases as being a gift from her until I read your post. Thanks for the insight.

    Cindy in NC

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