Winter’s always a good time to try that new hobby you’ve been dreaming of, and this year that’s especially true: Between social-distancing rules, stay-home orders ― and, in some parts, curfews ― we’ve all been spending a lot more time staring at our own four walls. It’s no surprise that, along with toilet paper and flour, sewing machines were selling out everywhere, in the early months of the pandemic.
A lot of crafty types dusted off their sewing machines back in March, to make re-usable fabric masks. The next logical step, as the pandemic drags on, the nights are long, and the weather gets colder and colder: to tackle that quilting project you’ve dreamed of starting for years.
Making a cosy quilt to hide under at night is an excellent use of your time when the world outside feels scary. It doesn’t only keep you busy ― research shows the rhythmic whirr of the sewing machine, the uplifting colours and the tactile aspect of the craft can calm the mind and improve your mood.
For Mona Brown, of Fogo Island, Nfld., quilting is not a new hobby. The founder of Hart House Museum and Craft Shop has kept busy with this activity to get through long spells at home for more than two decades. Quilting is how she makes the most of the colder months in the outport community where she was born and raised.
“You could get a lot of stormy days here in the winter, and there’s nothing better to do than go upstairs ― go in the little sewing room ― and sit back with your machine ... it passes time.”
Watch the video above to learn more about Brown’s love of quilting and how it connects her to the generations of quilters on Fogo Island that came before her. (Story continues below)
If you’re tempted to make quilting your pandemic hobby ― or to challenge yourself with more complex projects, there are excellent tutorials, tips, videos and inspirational posts on YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Below are some quilters to follow on Instagram to get you started.
Fabric designer, quilter and author Tula Pink creates unique and fabulous fabrics and kits for modern quilting projects, and often shares images of quilters’ handiwork ― all of it spectacular.
Kathleen Riggins from Alberta (who created the gorgeous tattoo quilt in Pink’s unboxing video above) offers a variety of virtual classes, some of them free and some for a reasonable fee. Her Instagram account shares many quirky and intricate quilting projects, as well as embroidery and appliqué work.
Manitoba quilter @prairiembquilter’s colourful Instagram account is excellent both for modern quilting inspiration and soothing glimpses of nature. Remember the outside world?
Bisa Butler takes quilting to a high-art form, exploring her African-American heritage and social justice issues through quilting and appliqué techniques applied to vibrant cotton, silk, wool and velvet.
Samuel Mikolon’s love of making quilts (especially with denim from thrifted jeans) is only matched by his love of inking and biking, lamps and baked goods, headless vintage dolls and having songbirds land on his arms, “Snow White”-style.
Quilting ― it really is for everyone.
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