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  • Writer's pictureMary

My First big project...

I learned to crochet from my mom. She taught me the basics...chain stitch, slip stitch, single crochet, double, etc. From there I really just toyed now and again with yarn and made and remade scarves or ruffley things for my dolls. I couldn't read a pattern but I tried. I remember looking through one of her books, finding a pattern for a crocheted teddy bear and began work. I got the head mostly done then, for some reason, I stopped and gave up. I tried many times over the years to get back into it and make something real, tangible, something for myself or others that would be worn and enjoyed repeatedly. No luck.

My mom, a very talented woman, also taught me to sew. She never officially taught me quilting but she did teach me the basics of sewing. I made some pretty wild patterned Bermuda shorts as a teen and as a nursing assistant from age 16 to 22 I made multiple pairs of scrubs in fun prints that my patients loved to look at. As a young mother with a son in preschool I made him a "prince" costume for the last day of preschool before Halloween one year. He LOVED that little faux velvet coat with the gold braiding down the arms! He still has it tucked away in a chest.

I grew up, got married, we had a couple kids, moved around a bit and then one day in the spring of 2015 I received notice that not one but THREE important people in my life at the time - two nieces (sisters) and a good friend - were all getting married in the same month...and it was only a couple months away. I suddenly had the idea to begin making wedding quilts - I now have a backlog of quilts for several weddings I missed doing this for! I contacted the brides for their favorite colors and got to work picking patterns and fabrics. I was also knee-deep in the beginnings of sorting through things in my house to ready them for packing as we'd just begun our house search for what would be our forever home.

Blocks all laid out for the first quilt.  Just needed a final border around each block then sewing together.
Quilt #1

Progress went well and I got all the quilts done in time...well, almost! That third and final one I was finishing up the morning before the wedding and suddenly I noticed I was quilting a fold into the backing! Oh no, the stitches were too close to ever pick out easily so I called my niece and she totally understood. Her mom is a seamstress extraordinaire so she'd witnessed things like this happening. I promised I'd get it to her as soon as I could.

Well, life happened, and I didn't get it finished...not until about 6 months ago! We were house hunting, moving with two fairly young children, changing up our homeschooling routine, getting livestock (the house even came with a chicken!), and all that entails. My niece was okay with the delay though since that marriage only lasted a few months. Sad, but she's now happily married to someone else and has been blessed with a sweet bundle of joy. Needless to say she asked that I keep the quilt...which after being wrapped up those 4 years turns out did NOT have any mistakes that were hugely in need of a seam ripper! It didn't take long for me to finish sewing on the binding which was all that had needed to be done when I'd set it aside. Of course, now she's been added to my list of wedding quilts to catch up on...hmm blues, grays, and finding specific video game themed fabric for her hubby!

Shortly after all the quilts, I sewed together some quick and easy floor mats for my kids and a couple of their cousins to sleep on at their grandparent's house for sleepovers. My kids still use theirs periodically though the mats are now way too short.

The first big crochet project was an afghan. The house was getting pretty full of boxes, we'd given away most of our large furniture, my sewing machine and fabric were all packed away...but I had two huge inexpensive skeins of yarn from when I made my daughter a wolf tail. the tail was quick and easy to make and she LOVED it! She wore it everywhere I'd let her.

I grabbed the yarn, dug out a crochet hook, held both colors of yarn together, made my chain and began the first of thousands of double crochet stitches. In all, by the time I decided the afghan was just too massive, I'd used 8 1-pound skeins and it was a wonky afghan, but very warm. We were moving to a place that had colder winters (we get snow every year now but not too much) and we'd need all the blankets we could get. It was super long and narrow so didn't really fit any of the beds but we ended up using it anyway...until last summer when I took it all apart. That was torture! I sat there for hours upon hours with two laundry baskets pulling it apart and feeding the two colors into their own bin. When I finally got to my first knot, I decided it'd be easier if I just crocheted it all up into new projects as I disassembled the afghan. I ended up with two large shawls, two large blankets for my friend's kids to cuddle under, and a smaller blanket for my daughter..cause she can never have too many blankets!

By the time I'd decided to take that afghan apart I had crocheted countless beanies, scarves, a few shawls, baby blankets, couch blankets, and a couple purses and handed them out via my Christmas grab-bag. I tossed everything I made throughout the year that wasn't for a specific person or event (such as baby showers) and then took it with me for the family gatherings at Christmas. Everyone took what they wanted and was happy. People kept saying I should sell my stuff so I got to thinking maybe I should...but is it good enough to sell? I think a large portion of it is so here we are!

Thanks for reading all the way through. If you made it this far through my long-windedness, I appreciate you taking the time to learn a bit more about me. Hope to see more of you on the blog-o-sphere!

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