LUMBERTON — Victoria Henderson wants to dispel any fear prospective quilters might have in crafting their first masterpiece.
A four-year quilting veteran, Henderson is passionate about sharing her craft with others, and hopes to inspire young people to try the quilting as well.
“I really feel like it’s a dying art,” Henderson said Wednesday. “I’d really love to see more young people pick this up.”
Henderson’s own granddaughter often picks up scrap pieces of fabric and tapes things together for her Barbie dolls, including quilts. She foresees a sewing machine in her granddaughter’s future.
“Kids need a creative outlet,” Henderson said. “If we teach our kids, it will continue instead of dying out.”
In the meantime, Henderson enjoys teaching three-hour beginner quilting workshops that are held twice a year on Saturdays at the Museum of the Southeast American Indian at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, in the fall and early spring.
“I feel like I need to participate,” she said. “I need to show other people how to do it.”
Henderson provides pre-cut kits of fabric, batting, backing and binding, but participants must bring their own sewing machine, thread and cutting tools — a cutting mat and rotary cutter. The cutting tools can be purchased in a kit from Walmart, Hobby Lobby and Michaels. A seam ripper and extra bobbins are also recommended, as are scissors.
At one of her earliest workshops, Henderson said she had a student who was so nervous about trying to quilt, “that she made me nervous.”
The student’s mother and sister were professional quilters and the student was afraid her work wouldn’t measure up to theirs. Henderson immediately put her fears to rest.
“I told her, ‘If I can do this, you can do this,’” she said. “If we sew something together, and it’s not straight, we can always take the stitches out.’”
Henderson said the anxious student’s quilt “turned out to be the most beautiful that day.”
Henderson admits it’s a “little bit of an investment to get started,” but students can bring borrowed equipment from friends or family.
“We sew together pieces, and then I’ll show them how to cut and arrange it,” Henderson said. “They leave with a finished product for the most part.”
If a project isn’t complete by the end of class, students will have learned the skills necessary to finish on their own. And, once a technique is learned, it can be applied in different ways on future projects.
Professionally, Henderson is a school teacher, but she’s quick to point out that she is still learning her craft, and frequently attends other artists’ workshops to acquire new skills.
“I’ve attended the beading workshop, and the pine-cone patchwork workshop,” she said.
Henderson incorporated the pine-cone patchwork technique that she learned from Kat Littleturtle in a big sunflower on a quilt, “and I put beads on it, too.”
“It’s exciting to me to see what you can do next,” Henderson said. “I try to teach them a skill that they can use with the next quilt, so they will have an idea of what they want to do next.”
Reach Juanita Lagrone at [email protected] or call 910-416-5865.