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Meet Bonnie

In Memory of Bonnie who passed away Thanksgiving day 2012

A New Quilter's Thoughts: "It is fun most days just to be alive!"

Written by Mary Nelson Zadrozny
© 2007-2011 Just Imagine Design & Publications

I love quilting, designing patterns, writing and just about every aspect of running my business, however what really fascinates me are people and their stories. My very favorite part is the opportunity to meet interesting people, whether it's in person or over the internet. Bonnie is a new quilter (just one month!) who originally asked me about where to find applique templates. One thing led to another and we had some great quilting conversations. Her story is encouraging for both new and seasoned quilters. I like hearing how new quilters find this hobby, if they have previous sewing experience and what appeals to them. Learning more about what new quilters need also helps us better assist them in answering their questions.

At first I thought I would do a question and answer format but when Bonnie responded to my rather dull and dry questions, she did so in such a charming way, that it's just better to let her do all the talking. So here are Bonnie's thoughts on her new hobby:

"Well here goes. I know nothing about quilting. So there. Now the big secret is out!

I am in the process of making my first quilted throw for my sister for her birthday.

Better to explain.......

I have been working on this about a month. Not long huh? I embroidered a set of pillowcases for her for Christmas and she said to me "Can you make anything else?" My answer of course was "sure...what do you want?"

We were off to the races (fabric stores). Bought lots of fabric in all kinds of stuff: plaids, stripes, solids, prints, large and small flowers, etc. I have very little use of this yet. In hindsight I should have waited to see what would develop.

To really tell the whole truth I was tired of doing just embroidery work and was looking for a new hobby. I made clothes for my 2 girls when they were small. Really did not like sewing that much and did not have a very stable machine to work on. Easy to become discouraged. Now I work on a Kenmore $100 portable machine. So help me it works great, but it is very limited on stitches....hence I do a lot of hand work. I just love it!

Must admit I get tired of just hemming the pants for my neighbors because their wives don't know how or are lazy. Easy to give this old widow lady a few bucks. I like that I am always off to the fabric store (or gas money to go). Let me tell you blunt: This is one of the least expensive hobbies I can afford to do. Can buy as needed. What a great excuse to go window shopping and look at fabrics and stuff. Saturday mornings I hit yard sales looking for fabric, ribbons, buttons and anything I can find to hang on something. What fun!

I decided I could learn to quilt or something because I found an old magazine that turned out to be a catalog for small flags to put out in the yard. Price was so high, I decided to invest in some felt and try my hand at it. I used some old children's coloring books to make patterns from and away I went! Greatest therapy I ever did for myself.

Must admit I fell head over heels in love with the wool hanging items I have seen in the books and magazines that are out. Now I have some web sites (thanks Mary) to check out even more.

So I have discovered I really lean toward kindergarten art, early american art, and country arts. I just love the colors and simple way they have of talking to you.

So far I like being alone when I am working on projects. No "boss" anymore looking over my shoulder correcting me or just being a pain in the neck. I think this hobby is a good way to learn and sharpen the skills of getting to know yourself.

To sum it all up:

I just love to feel and look at felt and fabric.

I am excited about the gadgets and things to help this hobby along. Can buy as needed or as I can afford. (Note; This does not have to be expensive if you work hard at just looking and thinking about this stuff.)

Also, have not met a stranger when inquiring about anything I want to know even if it is elementary!

I got a lady close to where I live to teach me the blanket stitch. What fun it was to meet her.

Have retired from the county tax collectors office (tag office). There was so much stress there, I worked the dealer's desk for 8 years and it made an old lady out of me. This is the first time I have relaxed in years. Am happy. A total of 27 years in the car business is enough for anyone who wants to keep some sanity.

I went to the quilt shop here in town yesterday. Thanks for that big tip. I met and enjoyed looking at so much. Now I just have to win the lottery!

I know I have grown in my spiritual life since I started this hobby. Time to think again. Wonderful.

I enjoy a good joke too. It is fun most days just to be alive.

I have met a few stumbling blocks along the way. Was lost for resources until I got my computer 6 days ago. What a great way to get ideas and things you may need. Again let me stress---this is not an expensive hobby. Pay as you go.

Was surprised too at the things I already had at home. Just had to look and think about it for awhile. A stray light I had forgotten about and a very good pair of scissors I have not used in years. My old typing chair for comfort and a good coffee pot I quit using some time ago. My mother's pincushion and thimble. Got 20 old quilting magazines at a thrift store for 10 cents each. What a find! Information was still good in them and so were the patterns.

I did as much as I could and now I am at the stage where all I do is ask questions. The answers are out there. So ask a quilter and you will have a great conversation and demonstration in no time.

Any little thing I master (like the blanket stitch) puts me on top of the world. What a pleasure to be able to do something!!!!

No plans to get a quilting machine. I live in a 30 foot travel trailer. Room is at a premium (and so is the money). Guess it is good I enjoy the hand work huh?

Will continue to work at this until I can no longer see to sew. Am so happy to find this hobby.

My advice....keep on quilting! It will make you happy with yourself and your friends, family and neighbors.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Bonnie. I love the part about "It is fun most days just to be alive." Wishing you a wonderful quilting journey ahead! And here are some photos Bonnie sent of her quilt blocks:

Bonnie's quilt block 1 Bonnie's quilt block 2 Bonnie's quilt block 3
Bonnie's quilt block 4 Bonnie's quilt block 5
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