• LeAnn Benton

Journey into Quilting

Hi Everybody,

I am LeAnn Benton. Welcome to my channel. I am an art teacher and a fiber artist. I love making art quilts, applique quilts, and just basically anything quilty.

My quilting journey began like many others. My grandmother sewed some of my clothing when I was younger, because of this she had lots of fabric scraps around which she gave to me to play around with.


While she sewed clothing and did other crafting projects candle wicking, cross stitch, macrame etc. I made clothes for my barbies. I never saw her quilting but in my later years my aunt shared that she did quilt and even had a large frame that was lowered from the ceiling and suspended on chains for quilting. I never knew!! Somehow after graduating high school in the 90s. I became interested in quilting.


My first quilt wasn’t even pieced by me. I bought a bunch of fabric, cut it into squares, and talked my cousin who had a machine to quilt it for me. It was not satisfying, but I had no machine. I have never had an interest in hand piecing or quilting.


Fast forward a few years and my grandfather lent me his reproduction Singer sewing machine. I found a pattern and create my first quilt. This was before rotary cutters, and I remember using my cardboard template to trace each square by hand and then cut out with my scissors. We have come a long way haven’t we! After creating that quilt, I was as they say “hooked.”


My first class experience was at “Material Mart,” in Midland Michigan.

It was there that I learned how to sew the “Tree of Life,” (baby quilt) pattern by Alex Anderson. I must have made 5 of them. It was the perfect beginner pattern. I even used the leftovers and created my own design with just triangles.

https://amzn.to/3aoI7sw

A log cabin quilt came next, it was a little wonky and I turned it into potholders. I loved the fabric colors I used and would love to redo that one. Maybe one day. It’s technically not even on my to do list.


From there I created a throw quilt. I used the book “Traditional Mini Quilts” by Moon Over Mountain Quilters and revamped their “Nine Patch and Diagonal Crosses” into a throw.



More quilts followed especially my piece de resistance. At Wal-Mart in 2003 I came across a book on the clearance rack.




https://amzn.to/3M9YKpc “Great American Quilts Book 9” by Leisure Arts.



I fell in love with that checkerboard quilt on the cover. I created that “Wild Stars” quilt. I don’t have it anymore, but I did do a remake in 2020 using batiks and a raspberry background instead of blue. Since buying a long arm this year I will be able to quilt it myself (after a little more practice). That quilt was the only one I ever sent out to be quilted. Those are just some of the quilts I have made.

 

As I said earlier, I love quilting and there is just so much I want to do. I find the history of quilts block and quilting fascinating. It is interesting when you start cutting and creating quilt block patterns. Just flipping triangles in a certain way changes a block from one pattern to another, Add other shapes here or these and you have something else. There are so many possibilities, and the fabrics. The world of fabrics has certainly changed since I started quilting. The myriad of color choices, patterns, and designs are absolutely wonderful.


What a wonderful time taking a walk down memory lane and seeing where I have been in my quilting journey. Can’t wait to see where it takes me.


Can’t wait to share to exciting things coming soon.


Till then have a good one. See ya soon!

 


Civil War inspired fabrics using a Sawtooth Square Block.





“Thirty Something” pattern by Ann Champion,

featured in Quiltmaker Magazine July/August 2009

This quilt used 1930s reproduction fabrics by Darlene Zimmerman




My first art quilt based on the story of Moses and the Burning Bush from the Bible. I completed a series of 3 quilts. Part of a series called Stepping Out in Faith. Moses had faith when he obeyed and did what God told him to do speaking through the bush.



Little Dutch Girl, made for my Mom for her birthday. I just created a template and went from there. She loved it.


This art quilt was created for my husband. We designed this together. He wanted Koi fish and we decided on water with the rocks and a Japanese Cherry Blossom tree and a full moon. The darker background fabric made me think of nighttime. This was a lot of fun to create. It has a silky Japanese print for the backing.








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