Doing this one thing keeps me happy… 173



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At the age of six, I learned to hand sew. When I look at some of the small pieces that I still have, I am amazed at what I achieved.

When I was 16 my mother insisted that I do sewing classes as “one never knew when the skill would be needed”. After having children, along with my other creative attempts such as pottery, it was all put in a back cupboard.




About 15 years ago, a friend invited me to a craft show. I bought a magazine with a picture of a quilt, which was a scene of two children in the shallow pools at the edge of the ocean. I decided that I would learn how to make one for my own grandchildren. As yet I have not created the landscape I imagined, however I am continuing to learn the techniques, which will culminate in my landscape masterpiece.

Along the way, each grandchild has his or her own personal quilt made by grandma. Most of the beds throughout the family are covered by my quilts. There is also one of my Australiana quilts hanging in the foyer of the Rehabilitation Centre in Cedar City, Utah.

We think of quilting as an American invention. It actually started as knight’s and warrior’s protection before metal armour was invented. It was also a cheap way of using old materials to make warm clothing and blankets. In Australia during the depression era, Waggers, which were made from used men’s trouser pieces, were sewn together to create warm bed covers.

My brother laughs at my quilting creations. He can’t understand why anyone would cut up perfectly good material then sew it back together again! He has no appreciation of the pleasure that comes from creating something beautiful and complex from some simple pieces and yes, there are some men doing it! For many people, it is a community activity and there are many groups in different suburbs where many tricks of the craft are shared and many quilts created for charity.

Like many crafts, some people have the gift to be able to take quilting to an art form. We get to see some Australian ones at the annual quilting shows. In America, there are several quilting museums where outstanding quilts from around the world are displayed. We had the privilege of going to the National Quilting Museum in Paducah, Kentucky a few years ago. Even my husband, who has no interests in the art, was amazed at what he saw.

So, I continue to sew, learn and sew some more. I describe it as applied geometry. Whether it is hand or machine quilting, I start to twitch if I can’t get to material and needles for more than a week. Maybe it is an addiction? I doubt that I will ever be a true artist, but enjoy being “crafty”. I hope that I can continue learning and creating quilts. After all, I still have a wardrobe full of material that needs to be used.

Do you enjoy Quilting? Please share with us some photos of your creations if you do? 

Dr Ely Lazar and Dr Adele Thomas

  1. My now ex said the same thing re quilting, some people have no idea. I have always enjoyed doing hand embroidery but being left handed my teacher’s wife had trouble ‘starting me off’. I just turned the work upside down to complete it. My hand sewing at primary school was neater than the other girls even though I did not get as much done I still achieved the higher mark at grading time. I have made my own clothes since I was 16, wow that’s 50 years now.

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