I am learning that there is a community among quilters, and they are generally pretty awesome people. My first introduction to the kindness of quilters was when I went shopping at Bernina World of Sewing for fabric to make my first quilt. It was a stroke of luck that I picked that store to start with. The clerk that helped me was super friendly and helpful, giving me lots of advice and assistance. She also gave me a large cutting mat that she had personally brought in, having replaced her mat with a new one. That saved me $45+. Later Sean went in to pick up a machine for me, and she remembered him. That time she sent a very informative introductory to sewing book home with him. I figured she was just super good at customer service, but now I am beginning to see the generosity she showed isn’t unique.
Backstory: When mom was here the other day she mentioned how she would like me to make a quilt for her. However, the cost of the material for her large bed was prohibitive. You really can buy quilts cheaper than you can make them. The fabric for a quilt is typically around $100 and up, and with her large bed it would definitely be pricey. And that is just the cost of the top… the batting and backing would add another $60 or so. Not to mention I am still learning, so paying that much for a potentially (re: likely) crappy quilt is just dumb. That is why I have been making small quilts; I want to keep the costs down as much as possible while I learn.
Yesterday I posted a message on a quilting forum asking for tips on saving money when making quilts. A lady responded saying she had a bunch of fabric she wasn’t going to use and didn’t feel like trying to sell it. So she is sending it to me for the cost of shipping ($17) so that I can make mom a quilt. I have no idea what the fabric looks like, I didn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. It will be interesting to see what she sends. I was surprised at the unsolicited generosity. It seems quilters are always trying to help each other out, especially the newbs like me. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I really hope what she sends will work. Who knows, it could be a bunch of crappy/ugly fabric, or just stuff that doesn’t suit mom’s tastes. Even if there is stuff we don’t like though, I can always pass that fabric along to someone else in need.
Another example of the quilting community also stems from my perusing of the forum. I found a section for swapping fabric, which in itself is helpful. One thread was perfect timing for me though. The other day, while looking for a pattern for a quilt to make mom, I stumbled on an I Spy quilt that caught my interest. The I Spy quilts have lots of unique fabric squares in them. To make this kind of quilt on your own you would have to buy a LOT of fabric, and then only use a very small amount of it (most stores have a minimum amount to cut). The one I linked has 88 different squares, which would be crazy expensive. However, quilters organize swaps to help each other out. It was this kind of swap that I happened to find in the forum yesterday.
So, today I ran out and picked up some fabrics and cut squares to join the swap. This is going to be fun! Not only did I get to go shopping for cute novelty fabric that I normally wouldn’t have a use for, but I get to send them off to help others and then wait for a package to arrive with a variety of mystery fabrics. I can’t wait to see what all I get. It will be like Christmas! I have a feeling these I Spy swaps could be a little addictive. I might have to do a few swaps before I get enough charms (precut squares) that I like enough to use in a quilt, but that is okay. It will be lots of fun participating in the swaps! And, now I have a reason to pick up random cute fabrics when I find them.