July 28, 2023

My First Quilt With Michelle Peters

Around here, the last Friday of the month is My First Quilt interview day and today I'm excited to share my interview with Michelle Peters. Michelle owns Watergirl Quilt Co in Ontario, and we first connected in 2020 when she contacted me about teaching workshops through the shop, which I had so much fun doing. She has a Newfoundland connection as well, which you'll read about 😊
My First Quilt with Michelle Peters | DevotedQuilter.com
Here's what Michelle had to say when I asked how people can connect with her: 

Check out our online store, class offerings and events at www.watergirlquiltco.com 
You can also follow @watergirlquiltco on Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest. We are most active on Facebook.  Watch Michelle live or on replay, every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 9am EST at our Facebook page for tips, tricks and closeups of new merchandise. Join our private Facebook Group called Share Your Creations Watergirl Quilt Co. to share your journey with others, to be inspired and to encourage other quilters in our community.

And now, here is Michelle's first quilt! Isn't it a fun one?
My First Quilt with Michelle Peters | DevotedQuilter.com

What year did you make your first quilt? What prompted you to make it?

I started quilting in 1989. I had finished high school one semester early and I wanted to use my free time before going off to university to learn something that was just for me to enjoy. I took a full semester, learn to quilt class at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario. We met 3 hours each week. I didn't even know how to use a sewing machine when I signed up. Luckily, the college provided sewing machines because all I had was my Mom's old Singer machine in the cabinet, not very portable. I remember being so scared! Jean was a wonderful teacher and we made placemats, pot holders and small projects. The quilt that consider to be my first quilt was started in that class but not completed until 1996. My first quilt was also my first UFO! 

What techniques were used in that first quilt? Did you quilt it yourself?

So my first lap quilt involved machine piecing, needle turned applique and I quilted it by tying yarn knots in the corner of each block. I used all teacher themed fabrics because I wanted to use it one day in my classroom when I became an elementary school teacher. That quilt either hung in my classroom or was on my rocking chair for 24 years. Now I show my ABC quilt to my customers who are learning to quilt to show them that we all started out at the beginning, making simpler projects. Well, most of us started that way! 

Who taught you to make the quilt?

Jean Boyd, a well know quilter and pattern designer in our area taught me and many others. Everytime my husband and I run into Jean, my husband says to her, "This is all your fault" and we have a laugh. Well, I think Jean is getting tired of hearing it!

Are the colours you chose for your first quilt ones you would still choose today?

Oh my goodness, no way! So my first quilt was all reds and blacks because it suited the novelty theme. I prefer to sew with fabrics that are very bright and cheerful like turquoise, oranges and fabrics such as those by Alison Glass and Tula Pink.  
My First Quilt with Michelle Peters | DevotedQuilter.com

Did you fall in love with quilting right away? Or was there a gap between making the first quilt and the next one?

I did fall in love right away. My Nanny in Newfoundland had made quilts and I loved them but with me living in Ontario, she never had much chance to teach me. I was really proud to make potholders for Nanny as a quilt-as-you-go project in that class. I continued to sew until I moved to Japan where I didn't have a sewing machine. I tried hand piecing during the years I lived there but didn't care for it. Looking back, I wish I had known about English Paper Piecing because I am a huge fan now and do EPP everyday. A few years after returning from Japan, I made my first king size quilt using upcycled kimonos I bought in second hand shops. I made a friend through quilting and I went to her house every Wednesday evening for almost a year. She lent me one of her sewing machines and we would talk about our lives while sewing. After making that quilt, I decided it was time to invest in my own sewing machine and that was 2011. Since then, I am obsessed with sewing and quilting and must spend time in my studio every day for my self care.

Where is the quilt now?

The quilt is now at my store, Watergirl Quilt Co. as a reminder that we all begin somewhere, we all improve and learn, and to remind me that dreams can come true. I wanted so badly to be a teacher and I was for 24 years. The hobby that helped keep me sane throughout my teaching career also, became my biggest passion and so I left teaching to open a quilt shop. My first quilt reminds me that we should be open to the journey.

Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself as you made that first quilt?

I would have told myself, don't be scared or nervous. You were born to be creative and you are capable. Everything you make is beautiful even if the techniques don't turn out the way you hoped. The imperfection is the beauty. 

Anything else you want to share about your first quilt?

I was only 18 years old when I began my quilting journey.  I would love to see more young people taking up textile related hobbies and hope that us, the "elders" can encourage and offer opportunities to young people to try different experiences. When I signed up for that quilting class, some kids teased me that I was doing "old lady stuff". I am glad to see that attitudes are changing. I even have 2 fifteen year old boys who work for me and their peers think it's just fine. I could never have imagined that when I made that first quilt, I would one day create my own quilt shop and community. What a blessing!

Thank you for sharing your first quilt with us, Michelle! I love that you're spreading the love of quilting to so many more people now through your shop!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with Michelle that I would love to see more young people trying textile related hobbies, and I love that she has 2 15-year-old boys working for her now whose peers think it's just fine!!


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