Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My first quilt

I have been quilting now for just a little over one year and it seemed to make sense to begin to document my work over time.  My other goal would be to document my WIP to hold myself more accountable to myself.

I come from a long-line of quilters and crafters.  My great-grandmother made gorgeous quilts using scraps of fabric from clothing, etc.  I remember a double-wedding ring quilt she made that was on my parent's bed when I was young and vividly recall tracing the curves with my fingers and trying to match similar fabrics across the quilt.  My mother didn't make many quilts when I was younger but always was using the sewing machine to make us costumes and dresses and all sorts of things.  Now that my sister and I are grown up, she has taken up quilting again a little more - often for baby showers.
one of my great-grandma's beautiful quilts
When I was about 12 years old I wanted to learn how to "quilt;" I stayed at my aunt's house for a week over the summer and she taught me how to hand quilt on a small fabric sandwich with a cheater cloth.  Looking back, what I really wanted to do was learn how to piece a quilt top, so I got extremely bored with the hand quilting and didn't think much of it again.

Late last December (2011), I was invited to a baby shower for a friend.  This was the first person in my group of friends that was having a baby and I was racking my brain trying to decide on a gift.  It suddenly came to me to create a quilt though I had no idea how to actually make a quilt from scratch.

So, I started googling quilts online and found a link to this beautiful quilt and was smitten.  Smitten by the quilting (the texture seemed so similar to the old quilts of my great-grandmother and not the big puffy things I kind of remember from my childhood), the fabrics (amazingly bright, cheerful, gorgeous!), and the simplicity of the quilt.
my first finished quilt! - Jan 2012
I went to the fabric store and picked out as many bright and modern prints as I could.  At the fabric counter, one of the women suggested that if I was making one quilt, I might as well make 3 - that way if someone else had a baby I would be ready.  Optimistically, I ran with her idea! (not quite realizing how long it would take to make 3 quilts).  I enthusiastically began cutting fabric and deciding on the color layout - super fun!  I even drug my barely-used sewing machine from a closet and figured out how to thread it again.  To top things off, I decided that I would figure out how to do the beautiful free motion quilting even if it killed me!
back, highlighting the FMQ
Not knowing much about quilting, I made many mistakes in this first quilt - used 3/8" seam allowances instead of 1/4" (I always used 3/8" for all the garment sewing I had done); had some tension issues with my FMQ; and used double fold, pre made bias tape for the binding (which was a bear to hand sew through!)  But all in all I was extremely proud of my first quilt and chomping at the bit to try something else.
finished about 10 minutes before the start of the shower 
I now identify myself as a modern quilter and serve as one of the founding members of the Pittsburgh Modern Quilt Guild.  I get completely absorbed an inspired from so many of the blogs I read and have been challenged to push myself to try things I haven't done before.  So here begins my foray into blogging.  I'll hopefully be back soon with more to share!