Did your grandmother quilt? I’m sure some of them were beautiful, made by hand and treasured. Some of them were also ugly and utilitarian…..out of necessity. Today we are quilting in a whole new world! First, you must understand that “quilting” is really a two part process. You have to “piece” a quilt top together and then layer the top, batting and a backing and “quilt” it together. Although we still use some of grandma’s patterns, we have new and modern designs; a wealth of “tools”, fabulous fabrics, and great sewing machines used to” piece” and “quilt” our creations. If you just want to”piece” a quilt top, you can then take it to a “long arm” quilter and have it machine quilted for you. We have several in our area. A “long arm” quilting machine consists of a 12ft or 14ft table with rollers to roll up your quilt top, batting, and backing. A large sewing machine then moves over the top of the quilt, hand guided by the operator, creating beautiful quilting patterns appropriate to your quilt design. You can also learn to machine quilt on your own sewing machine, and of course, some of us still hand piece and hand quilt. Appliqué quilts are gaining in popularity and some of those can be done by machine or by hand. First, go to one of today’s quilt stores. There are thousands! For us here in Mason, there’s one in Brady, one in Fredericksburg, one in Kingsland and one in Kerrville in an old Victorian house. The fabric choices are endless, even overwhelming at times. Pick a pattern. Some are so simple that if you can sew a straight line, you can piece a quilt top. It’s all in the fabrics! Pick some fabrics. You will probably need a dark fabric, medium tone fabrics and light fabrics. There are colors and patterns galore. Let the sales ladies help you pick if you are unsure about what goes together. There are also fabric “collections” where all the fabrics in one collection will already go together. Get some “tools”. Today’s quilters have cutting mats, rotary cutters, special rulers, wonderful threads, and those are just the beginning. Modern sewing machines can do many things and make sewing really fun, but your old machine will work as well. The quilt stores have classes if you need one. There are quilt guilds in the area with as many as 150 members. Here in Mason, we have a quilt “bee” (very informal) that meets every Monday night from 6:30 to 9 PM at the River of Life Church in the lobby. We each work on our own projects, but are willing to help you with yours if you need it. Nine of us recently went to the Songbird Quilt Retreat in Kingsland and did nothing but sew for three days. They fed us well and the accommodations were wonderful! Creations quilt shop in Kerrville also has accommodations for overnight retreats. The bottom line is: you can do as little or as much in this hobby as you wish. Stop by one Monday night and we’ll get you started. It’s all fun!!