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Aledo Times Record - Aledo, IL
A full-time teacher in the Carmi-White County School District
Quilting
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By Erin Pennington

Ms. Pennington is a full-time teacher in the Carmi-White County School District. Her degree is in Secondary Education English and she has a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. She has lived in Carmi with her daughter Taylor since the year ...

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Simply Ink

Ms. Pennington is a full-time teacher in the Carmi-White County School District. Her degree is in Secondary Education English and she has a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. She has lived in Carmi with her daughter Taylor since the year 2000.

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By Erin Pennington
April 29, 2013 7:01 p.m.



Most acts of sewing are becoming a lost Art. Unless the craft is passed down from generation to generation it dies away. For example, how many people do you know that can tat? Tatting is a thing of the past. Quilting may be gone one day too, unless we preserve this beautiful form of self-expression.

I started quilting in 1995. My daughter was small and I had a lot of time on my hands during the evening so I decided to teach myself to quilt. I checked out some books from the local library and never looked back. At that point in time, my husband’s Great-Grandmother was still living and she was all excited about helping me learn the necessary techniques. She helped me secure a second hand sewing machine from an estate sale. Little by little I taught myself the basics. My first project was a pot holder. I loved the idea of piecing together a pattern, but I did not like sewing on the bias tape edge. Grandma Threatt taught me the “pillow case method”, only she called it the “pilla case way”. This is helpful on small projects, but you wouldn’t use it on full-size quilts. You basically cut a square the same size as the front. You sew it front to back and leave about four fingers room width to flip it inside out and sew it shut. It doesn’t get much easier than that. As she said, “Honey, if you can sew a pilla case you can make a quilt.” She was right.

I don’t really know how many quilts I have made since then, but I do have an album full of pictures of some of the ones I made. For a period of a few years, it actually became an obsession. It is very challenging and yet relaxing all at the same time. I competed in numerous county fair quilting shows and have won over 40 ribbons. Somewhere along the way competing became less exciting, so I went back to making quilts as gifts and also selling them in my online store.

I have been very blessed in that people often give me free fabric. Usually, when a family member passes away or when an elderly person can no longer see to sew, then I will receive a box lot full cotton fabric.. Grandma Threatt brought me a knee high box of gingham to work one day, when she could still drive. That meant more to me than she would ever know. I made my daughter a queen size four-patch quilt out of it and it was stunning. I rarely ever turn away fabric. If I can’t use it, then I share it with people I know. There is an Amish family close by, that I save all my solid broadcloths for.

 There is something beautiful about taking a pile of scraps or a mound of fabric and turning it into an heirloom quilt that can be passed down from generation to generation, as it has been said, “When life gives you scraps make a quilt.”

 

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