Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Beginning

For those of you who have never visited my blog or website before, I thought I would give a brief history of how I got into quilting. Well, it all happened by accident! I have always loved the look of quilts and when I was furnishing a new apartment, I came across what I thought was a quilt at J.C. Penneys, that I absolultely fell in love with and had to have. A few years later, I found out it was actually a patchwork comforter, which didn't make me love it any less, but lit a fire in me to acquire the genuine article.

I wasn't brought up around quilts, so I had no idea the work that went into making one, but decided I wanted one for my bed when my husband and I bought our house. We started pricing them and I realized, after seeing the look on my husband's face, that I was NEVER going to own a handmade quilt unless it was my hands that made it! To be totally honest, I would have failed sewing class in high school if it weren't for my sister sewing my projects at home for me, so I didn't know if this was something I was capable of or not. But I decided to check the phone book for a local quilt shop. As luck would have it, I found a great one not too far from me, Quilter's Corner in Finleyville, PA. The first class I took was a hand quilting class, since I didn't know there was any other way to quilt a quilt and I figured if I didn't like that part of it, there was no point in going any further. I liked hand quilting but knew I would probably not finish too many quilts if that was my only option. Fortunately, the quilt shop had so many beautiful samples that were quilted by machine and I realized there was more than one way to skin a cat.

My next class was a beginning quilting class, for which I needed a sewing machine. I thought a low end model would serve the purpose, since I was having flashbacks of my high school sewing class and didn't want to spend a lot of money on a machine I might never use again. I walked into the store, where I now teach, and walked out about an hour and a half later with a brand new sewing machine. It wasn't exactly low end, but I deserve the best, don't you?

I fell in love with piecing, but since I am math challenged, I didn't enjoy having to measure everything and having to be accurate so my stars have points. So my next class was a paper piecing class. If you have never tried this technique, Piecing By Number, is the best way to describe it. With this technique, you use a big piece of fabric, sew it in and trim it down to the right side afterward. Brilliant!

Soon after this class, I started thinking that I could design my own patterns using this technique, so I bought a tablet of graph paper and went to work. My first design was AND IN THE MEADOW and featured a snowman, tree, and star with a rail fence border as well as a polymer clay carrot nose and 3d scarf. I was thrilled with the result and when I took the quilt with me to the quilt shop to find a fabric for the binding, the employees told me I should publish a pattern for the quilt. So I did!

Larkspur Lane Designs officially came into being in 2003 when I started the company with a friend of mine. She and I have known each other since we were children and since our birthdays are one day apart in July, we named the company for the flower for July. Although we are still friends, Colleen left the business in 2005, but because of all her help in the beginning, I was able to keep it going on my own.

At this point, I think I have about a dozen patterns on my website, and have been published in magazines ten times, (including 3 times in Quiltmaker!). My patterns are sold by Clotilde and McCalls and also through my website:

I have probably a hundred designs in my computer waiting to be sewn out and just need to invent a time machine, so I can keep resetting time to get them all done!

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