Jan 25, 2010

A look back: my first quilt

This is my first finished quilt. It's buried today in a plastic storage bin somewhere but I do bring it out and hang it on the wall when I feel like it fits the season, though it's not for any specific one. It's my 9/11 quilt but it doesn't have a name. It isn't because I made it in remembrance of the event but it's because I finished sewing on the binding by hand while I was riveted to the horrific scenes in NYC that day. Looking back, maybe I'll call it "Grounded By Quilting" because it helped me stay grounded while watching those news reports.

I started quilting after watching a lot of it on TV as a young housewife. I had tried sewing baby clothes but I wasn't too successful at it (I think the fabric wasn't the right one or too cheap so the sewing machine got put away) and I loved watching the craft shows on HGTV at the time, about 10 years ago. Between a couple of crafting, sewing and home show's was Alex Anderson's show Simply Quilts. The colors, patterns and textures were amazing but I considered it an "old lady's" hobby. It didn't help that the vast majority of ladies were much older than me, which wasn't a stretch since I was only 25, and I thought you needed lots of time to do it, which I equated to being retired and not having a baby and an 8 year old. Over the weeks of watching, I just couldn't stay ignorant about it and sought information on quilting online. Even at that time, there was a lot of information available and, as my luck would have it, a new website was starting up and giving free classes on quilting online. That website was Quilt University and the free class offered later evolved into their Starting from Scratch class which they still have today. This was the quilt I made from those online lessons. It is amazing how perfect the points are and how nice it came out even though it was my first. The quilting is not very close together but I'm not tempted to go back and "improve" it because it is my first and one I'm not ashamed to display. I did "improve" the middle block after I had it together and on the wall. I daringly appliqued the dark blue square in the center because the light blue left it looking like there was an empty hole in the middle.

That part is not so neat looking but it's not hideous either.

After this quilt, it actually took me a long time to make more. I had a very demanding baby and I never even made a baby blanket for him. I did make a quillow out of two pieces of fabric without any piecing in it whatsoever. I was not very imaginative or aware of the possibilities. I have spent many years learning however. From that point on I watched as many quilt shows as I could. My local PBS station had an hours worth everyday plus Sewing With Nancy also featured quilting sometimes. I checked out websites and I also went to the library and read books about quilting. I am basically totally self taught but it wouldn't have been possible without all the wonderful publications out there. Your First Quilt Book (or it should be) by Carol Doak was a fountain of useful information and a book I would totally recommend to any first time quilter.

So that's where it all began and that is where this blog is beginning, at the beginning

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