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Quilter takes shapes

First-time quilter sews for daughter, enters quilt in Placer County Fair
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Breck Smith could tell the older lady working at the quilt shop wasn’t too keen on him when he first walked through the front door.

“I was wearing cowboy boots, I have tattoos and I had a black shirt on,” he said.

But then the 37-year-old Roseville resident and powerline worker started asking questions about quilting, and the two became “best friends,” Smith said smiling.

He didn’t have much experience with quilting until he made one for his 8-year-old daughter, Amelia, which he entered into a competition at this year’s Placer County Fair. The quilt can be viewed in Johnson Hall at the fair, which runs through Sunday at the Placer County Fairgrounds.

In December 2009, Smith mentioned to his mom how he was tired of always rolling up his daughter’s pants — she has short legs, he said — and getting her jeans professionally hemmed is too expensive. So she bought him a sewing machine for Christmas.

“That night, I hemmed like seven pairs of her pants,” Smith said.

He had the idea to make a quilt using photos of Amelia through the years. He bought a guide book and got to work. A year and a half later, he completed the quilt.

During the process, he encountered some jabs from male coworkers and friends not used to a man making a quilt, which is traditionally a craft favored by women. Usually, they hear about Smith’s golfing and woodworking hobbies.

“The girls like it, though,” Smith said.

He plans to give his daughter the quilt when she leaves for college or gets married. Now he’s considering whether to make another quilt.

“It’s cool but it’s a lot of work,” Smith said. “It’s much easier to hem jeans than make a quilt.”

~ Sena Christian