The year was 1983. A local fabric store was offering a beginning quilting class and I really wanted to attend. I discussed it with Mr. Goodneedle, we tallied up the projected expenses (how could he know then what would be spent in the years to come!) of that one class and we agreed that it would be my Christmas gift. It was a sampler class; I met the teacher (my dear friend of 32+ years now), bought my supplies and the "book" (magazine) and eagerly waited for that first session. I remember that Ann, our teacher, brought a Maple Leaf quilt to display (in addition to her sampler) and I sat in that class, staring at her Maple Leaf quilt, thinking to myself that if I could ever make anything that pretty I would stop right then and there. Ahem. I worked diligently on that sampler quilt whenever I had a free moment, at that time we had a seven year old and a three year old, there weren't many of those moments to be had. This sampler was hand and machine pieced and completely hand quilted, lap style. I dug out the quilt and that beginning "book" yesterday, along with my hand-written class diploma; Ann came out to Chez Goodneedle for a sewing and catch-up day, I wanted her to see that I have kept all of these "firsts", the important things that define my life as a quiltmaker. I think she was impressed. This quilt, my very first one, is worth much more to me than money could ever buy. Begun in 1983 and completed in 1985 I can still recall the feeling of pride and accomplishment when I took that last stitch in the binding and knotted off the thread. But even greater than that was what followed: I carried this just-completed quilt upstairs and placed it over my sleeping son who happened to be home from school sick that day. He opened one eye, surveyed the quilt, and declared himself "covered with love". I've been making quilts ever since! I am deeply grateful to Ann for starting me down this road, I look back over these past thirty two years and I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without quilting; the friendships, the adventures, the creative endeavors and, of course, the quilts. They will live on, well past me. I look forward to another sewing and catch-up day next month with my dear friend and mentor, this time we may actually switch on a sewing machine! In the beginning there was a young mother on a tight budget with a deep yearning to stitch a quilt of her own... the rest is history!