I grew up in a German Mennonite Community in Belize, Central America, with a strong culture and lots of traditions. Making your own clothes and quilts, was a way of life for every woman of the household.
Growing up, we did have sewing machines, so the quilts would usually be pieced by machine, and of course the clothes would be sewn by machine. Pretty much every quilt was hand quilted though.
We often had sewing circles, among close family, like grandma, aunts and cousins. And believe me, there were a lot of those. The mennonites took the bible verse about bearing fruit and multiplying and filling the earth, to mean having lots of children. To be a Mennonite, you had to be born into it.
There were other sewing circles with more distant relations and with those in your district.
When I was still young, I remember always looking forward to these times.
My mom would have gone to the sewing circle either at grandparents, or one of my aunts early afternoon. When we got out of school, we would head over there too and have lots of fun playing with cousins. Taking turns, it would occasionally be at our place as well.
By the way, I grew up speaking low German, which is a dialect, not a written language. When I began first grade at the age of 7, I had to learn a whole new language, High German, and also English one day a week. My first year at school, we learned to speak High German, and other things like the alphabet as well.
After the first year, if we were caught speaking low German on school property, even during recess, we were punished in some way, like stay inside during recess. One day a week, we had an English day, and we had to speak English on school property, and our books and classes were also in English.
Back to the sewing circle day; often in
the evening for dinner the menfolk would come as well.
So, I was surrounded by quilts, sewing, and making things ourselves. All the things you learn by growing up on a farm, including gardening and canning as well, just to name a couple.
I begged to sew my own doll clothes at a young age, around 8 years old. I enjoyed going through my mom’s scraps, and make my own doll clothes and doll blankets.
I made my first applique baby quilt at around the age of 16. From then on I have made many many quilts; for my family, friends, and customers.
Now, almost every day, I enjoy making quilts, finishing quilts for others, and helping others make their own quilts.
My dear husband, the rest of my family, and my wonderful church family, are all wonderful supporters of my love for quilting.
My husband and I now live in Oklahoma City, where I’ve lived for the past 13 years, and for most of that have had my own business making and finishing quilts for others.
Handmade things are always appreciated so much more than store bought items. It’s such a joy to give a hand made quilt as a gift. So, go ahead, jump start your journey of quilting and make some gorgeous heirloom quilts that will be treasured for years!