Sew Thinky Thursday: My sewing history

Have you seen the new linky party, Sew Thinky Thursday? My friend Emily, of Mommy's Nap Time, has started a new linky party that encourages thought and reflection on your sewing journey, and this is her first week, so I wanted to make sure to participate to support her on this fun new creation. I like to think and reflect, and I don't do it nearly as often as I'd like, so here goes.

This week's question: When did you start sewing? Tell us a bit about your sewing history. When did you realize you were hooked?

Me, around age 7, with one of my favorite dolls and a doll quilt my aunt Jeannie made
My first attempts at sewing were in my early girlhood, and I failed miserably. My mother wasn't much of a sewist, but my aunt was. She was a quilter, and lived very far away, so I didn't really have an adult to teach me. I had doll clothes and quilts that my aunt had made me (like the one in the picture) to admire and I tried to teach myself from books at the library. I think these early failures have something to do with my healing distaste for hand-sewing, as these were hand-sewing attempts. The good news is I have almost gotten over my allergy of hand-sewing, at this point. As I approached my teen years, I learned to cross-stitch, and enjoyed that for a while, until I decided it was dorky and boring, so I quit doing that and spent my energy being a moody, journaling teenager instead.

My kiddo, shortly after I started sewing, with his homemade Cat in the Hat hat
After my son was born and I became a stay-at-home mom, I needed an outlet. I needed something to do, something to feel proud about, something to exercise my creativity. All of my adult life, I'd been a workaholic, the kind of person who was proud of their work and got a lot of enjoyment from it, so I felt like I needed something that could take the place of that hole in my life, though I enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom a great deal. I was wandering around Jo-Ann's one day, looking for something to do, and I stumbled into the sewing machine center, and wound up walking out with a sewing machine, a rotary cutting mat, a rotary cutter and so forth. I checked out books from the library, and tried a handful of projects from those books, from a notebook cover to receiving blankets and a Cat in the Hat hat, and it wasn't until I made my first quilt that I really felt hooked. I felt like it was something that was fun for me to do, that took thought and effort, that made me feel like I was something more than just a mom. In short, it was awesome.

After that first quilt, from which I learned all kinds of things to NOT do when quilting, I trucked right on, starting another quilt, learning more from it, and then another, and another, and eventually starting my blog, and to this day, there isn't a day that goes by without my thinking about sewing or doing actual sewing. It's a part of my life now that I can't imagine my life without. When I meet people, I identify myself as a mom and a quilter. It's a huge part of my identity. Sewing really changed my life for the better. It's led me to being more social than I've been in years, brought a kind of joy that was lacking in my life, and has afforded me opportunities I couldn't possibly have dreamed of when I first started.

Tampa Modern Quilt Guild - January Meeting 2013
photo of me by Katie Ringo of Katie's Quilting Corner; at January Tampa MQG  meeting
Want to join in the thinking and sharing fun? Link up your post with Mommy's Nap Time every Thursday. I'm looking forward to linking up and learning more about other blogging quilters. Happy Thursday - and stay tuned for a new tutorial tomorrow!