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Thursday, July 26, 2012

My First Quilt

Do you remember the first quilt you ever made?  I certainly do.  And there's no question "beginner's luck" was with me all the way through.  I'm not exactly sure how long ago I made it but it's probably been at least 25 years.  And I still have and use this quilt today.

Honestly I don't know why or how I was inspired to make a quilt.  It could have been that one of my newest friends at the time was the first "quilter" I ever knew.  Or it could have been that the fabric I wanted to use really wasn't "dress" material.  I can't remember.

I only know why it eventually happened.  It was because I had bought some wonderful fabric from Liberty of London when I was in London in an overseas program during one of my college semesters. 

At that time I used to make my own clothes, but without realizing it then, I must've been a quilter in the making because I used to always go into cities, find a fabric shop and buy fabric, supposedly to make that next dress, pants, shirt or skirt.  But this fabric I purchased from Liberty of London - well once I brought it back to the states, as much as I loved the fabric, it just would not work for me as a dress or skirt.  Waaayyy too dowdy, no matter what dress design I selected.

So what was I to do with the fabric?  I soon realized it clearly had "quilt" written all over it.  So I bought a book to teach me how to quilt.  You know the book - one of those "how to" books that Sunset published. And so I began.  I cut my 6" squares, created a 4-patch block and stitched it all together.  Then I got the only batting available then - that very puffy polyester kind, and I used a sheet for the backing.  I then pinned it all together.

But before I began to quilt it, I realized I didn't want to do a binding.  I didn't like bindings then (and really I am still not wild about bindings).  Since this was a quilt that would end up on my bed I wanted to finish it off with a pretty lace or fringe.  So I found some and sewed it to the top (I think).  Except I didn't know how to do a mitered corner so instead I just cut the ends and left them.  Probably the only very noticeable and huge mistake in the quilt.

Then I began to quilt it, except that I didn't want to hand quilt it.  I knew if I attempted to hand quilt it I would never get it done.  And I wanted it done!  I thought why can't I just feed it through my machine?  So I did.  And amazingly it worked, without lowering the feed dogs, without a walking foot - and all that batting... I did it!

Of course it is not heavily quilted.  And I didn't press my luck to far by trying to machine stitch in the opposite direction to quilt it down some more.  I just did some cross diagonal stitches about 10" apart.  And to this day I still have the quilt.

Funny thing - I still had some other material from Liberty of London.  And I was on a roll now.  I thought I know how to quilt!  So I decided to do my "second" quilt ever.  I gotta tell you, I wasn't quite so lucky in this next endeavor.  In fact when I pulled it out of my trunk the other day i saw that it was nearly a complete disaster.  I did everything the same, except somehow my piecing and blocks don't line up.  The quilting is atrocious, and I even tried to hand quilt it this time, and the backing bunches up, and, and...

Problem is I still love the fabric.  It's beautiful.  I wonder if it's salvageable.  I can only hope.

Happy Sewing,