I have always loved creating with fabric. I was lucky enough to have a mother who made all our clothes and so there were always scraps of fabric to work with. When I was nine I got my first sewing machine, a Singer hand crank sewing machine, the best Christmas present ever. I made clothes for my dolls, myself and later my children. When I wasn’t sewing, I was knitting, embroidering or spinning.
Through my children I discovered the joy of working in Early Childhood Education and when the youngest was off to school I went back to school myself: teacher training college. My love of all things textile followed me there and I wrote my thesis on the endless possibilities of textile materials in Early Childhood Education. After teaching children for a while, I went back to the teacher training college, this time as a teacher.
Another change in my life took me to Italy, to a little village in the province of Prato and work in a small chemical company (surrounded by the Prato textile industry). The enormous choice and availability of knitting yarns there, started me knitting again. After a while (there being a limit to the amount of sweaters that fit in my closet) I started looking around for something else to keep my hands busy and my soul happy and so I (re)discovered quilting. After going it alone for a while I finally found the courage to enroll in one of the on-line courses of the Design Matters team. I haven’t looked back since.
I cannot imagine a life in which creating with fabric does not play an important part. I love making things myself and I love sharing what I do with others.
Pezzettino is a beautiful book by Leo Leonni about a little piece (pezzettino in Italian) who thinks he must be part of something bigger because all his friends are made of many pieces. I used this book in my very first ‘creating with fabric’ lesson for four and five year-olds and I think it’s a perfect title for a website dedicated to using little pieces to make something bigger.
Herma de Ruiter