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Quilter learns craft via YouTube videos


When Melissa Breeding retired from BASF in 2016, she knew she wanted to pursue a hobby.

“I decided I had to have something to do. I thought about it, and remembered that my mom was a very good seamstress. I started looking on YouTube and saw quilting videos, and I got hooked.”

In the last seven years, she estimates she has sewn 16 quilts.

“I do, basically, vintage quilts, with repro vintage fabric,” she said. “I do not do modern quilts; mine are pretty basic.”

Her favorite designer is Lori Holt, whose company, “Bee in my Bonnet,” is based in Utah. There are other fabric designers she follows as well.

Holt collaborates with the Fat Quarter Shop in Texas. “I like their style and presentation, it suits my taste,” Melissa said. “They offer Youtube videos, including how to cut, or anything you need to know about quilting.

“Novices can teach themselves, and that’s what I’ve done.”

With the help of the YouTube videos, Melissa is basically self taught. But that does’t mean she quilts alone.

On the first and third Wednesdays of each month, she joins a group of quilters and crafters who meet at the Holy Family Parish Hall. “We go and spend the day. Participants may quilt or make crafts. Sometimes we’ll go to lunch or have a carry in, and we’ll have an enjoyable time learning from others, tips and tricks.”

Four of her fellow classmates from the Hannibal High School Class of 1969 also attend this twice-monthly gathering, Laura Atkins Zeiger, Jane Lewton Bleigh, Belinda Bono Ebers and Marilyn Jurgens.

I just want to go and have fun,” Melissa said.

Costly hobby

“Quilting can be an expensive hobby,” she said. “I have to look at it like this: Some people buy a boat, go fishing or hunting, or travel. You pick what you want to do.”

Melissa started quilting on her mother’s old Singer sewing machine, but she finally had to set it aside, because it needs refurbishing.

“Now I have three Baby Lock (specialty) sewing machines; it’s addictive,” she said.

“It's just like anything else in life, find something to do when you retire.

First quilt

The first quilt she made, she gave to her son, John. It was a lap-size quilt, made of five-inch squares. “I would get scraps of fabric, and practice free motion quilting on my domestic sewing machine.”

In this instance, “You move the fabric in conjunction with the speed of your machine; that determines how long the stitch is going to be. You can use a stencil for your pattern, or free motion, moving in circles, making squares, or straight line quilting.

“The free motion on a domestic machine, a lot of people do that; but if I have a real big quilt, if its too much for me to handle, then I send it some else for quilting.”

Hannibal has several talented quilters who will do the final stitching, Melissa said, in addition to two top-notch quilting stores.

She gave a a quilt to her daughter-in-law, Heather, a school teacher who lives in Springfield, Mo.

Melissa is currently working on three more quilts.

She donated one quilt for a church raffle, and will probably give away more in the future.

The good thing about quilting, she said, is that she can pursue her hobby year-round.

In 2014, Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal Courier-Post, where she worked for 39 years.


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