Harvested by Maia
I started sewing on a machine at the age of 9. My mother had made our coats, and dresses, and overalls when we were little, but times were different then. A kid with older siblings was the unlucky one to have “hand-me-down” clothing forever!!! I hated it. I wanted my own, I wanted new, I wanted my own style, not that of my older sisters. And as I complained, then came lessons from my Mother on the sewing machine. By the time I was 12 I was making Pendleton wool plaid trousers with matched patterned seams, zippers, and all. Later as a young adult entering the workforce when business suits were required, I was making my own. But by then it was to stand out from the crowd because store-bought suits all looked alike, and again, I wanted my own style.
When I became a grandmother the little ones loved my homemade tote bags. And because I had always been a bit frugal and thrifty, making these gave me the idea to “harvest” fabric wherever I could. I found a wealth of ideas from my husband. Being an avid gardener, he would wear through 5 or 6 pair of jeans a year. But only the front panel at the knees had holes; the back of the jeans would be in pretty good shape. It was a great source of “free” denim and I used it to line the totes, which made them really strong and durable. I have several friends who have received a “Harvested By Maia“ bag, and after 15 years of wear and tear they tell me the bags are holding up just fine.
I discovered quilting later in life – like at 50 years old and I am now an official junky. I don’t even have to have an order or even an upcoming birthday or graduation to make a quilt, it just keeps rolling. I love the whole process: finding fabric, designing the top, finding the backing, and then the quilting of the layers.
I started with the more traditional log cabin designs – they allowed me to use fabric from all sorts of old clothes and such. But I became bored with the process- squares and angles, and the exactness that quilters look for kind of freaked me out. I am not an exact person; I am not a symmetrical kind of person.
Then I discovered the beauty and flow of Bargello waves. Fun, but the process left me a bit bored as well. It was still rows and rows; and while the selecting of fabric was fun, it was still rows and rows of sewing.
Paper piecing appealed to me; the Mariners Star was great fun. But enough with being exact! The pressure was too much.
Then my quilting life changed when I purchased a longarm machine and frame. It made the process oh, so much more fun. Swirls and twirls, and never having to “stay in the lines” – what a wonder that is. I was given advice on being able to use the long arm – she said “put on some fun music and have a glass of wine, and it will come easily.” She was almost right – and while it doesn’t come easily, it sure is fun trying.
And now I am doing what I call my garden quilts – based on flowers in the yard or the flower mart, or the woods on vacations.
“Harvested” started when I began titling and signing my quilts for friends and family. It was my way of explaining the fabric that was used – bits and pieces collected, making the quilt a fairly inexpensive hobby. I used old blankets for batting, and old sheets for backing. Afterall, quilting was always about not being wasteful, using what you had around, and recreating it into something usable and beautiful. So I continue to harvest where I can.
Now that I have emptied out a bunch of my “stash” I give myself permission to buy fabric. All the old blankets and sheets have been used up. But my goal remains to not be wasteful in my pursuit of happiness in quilting.