Friday, February 21, 2014

You Have To Start Somewhere - My Early Quilts #1

I am always sharing my latest quilts and projects; but up until early quilts have not seen their 15 minutes of fame here on my blog.  Yet, it is about time they received a little love...because let's be honest, hideous fabric and poor piecing aside, making these quilts is how I got my start.  I tried things, I failed, tried again, failed again, and eventually I figured it out.

The earliest quilt that I have dates back to 1994, I was 15 at the time.  If you cannot remember what was happening in 1994, Buzzfeed did a wonderful recap "22 Things From 1994 That Will Make You Feel Old". And does make you feel old.

Untitled, 1994

Not bad for my first quilt, eh?  This is one of the larger ones that I made, it comes in at approx. 46" x 54". What you might notice is how there is no actual "quilting" visible on the quilt.  I did not fully grasp the concept of "quilting" the layers together, and so I chose to tie my quilt.

Yet, it looks like I had some fun and used different colors of DMC embroidery floss along the way.

This next photo is adorable for two reasons.

  • First, the labeling.  
  • Second, the lack of binding.

I learned early on that it was important to label your quilt; but obviously I chose to make a more permanent statement using not only Sharpie; but finding that embroidering on top was an even better idea.

As for the binding, well it wasn't until many years later that I understood what a binding really was.  Most of my quilts were made "pillow-like", meaning I sewed the top and backing RST along the perimeter, leaving a hole so I could turn the quilt inside out.  I would then squish Poly (Yes, Poly) batting inside the hole, spending the next half an hour or so flattening it out.  Tying was next, followed by an off-edge stitch line to secure the whole thing together.

Even after all that, it looks like I was hooked.

So, was your first quilt-making experience similar or did you have a better understanding of things?

Happy Friday!!

**This post belongs to a small series I've created to share some of the first quilts that I made, not only for documentation purposes; but to show that we all have to start somewhere**


  1. I made my first quilt at the ripe old age of 51! I moved to Pennsylvania and lived with my sister's family for a time until I found my own place. She is a quilter and I joined her quilt group. Thankfully, I had LOTS of great advice and encouragement for my early quilts. One of my favorites is a very small quilt that is only 30" square. It is a Bethlehem Star. I saw the pattern and thought it was pretty so I made it. I had no idea that it was supposed to be difficult so I had no fear! It remains one of my favorite quilts. My quilting style has evolved over the past 11 years. I rarely add borders to quilts any longer and my fabric choices have become more "modern". I have even started doing some "improv" quilting so old dogs really CAN new learn tricks!!

  2. I think it's fab - HSTs in a first quilt? Impressive!

  3. i was lucky and learned from my Grandmother at a very early age. She ended up hand quilting my first quilt for me. it was way back in the 70s. i still have it, but it hasn't seen the light of day in decades.

  4. My first quilt top had piecing and applique. The applique was of teapots on large snowball block backgrounds. The pattern was in a magazine. Not a quilting magazine either. I used heavy fusible and some kind of weird (I only realized this in hindsight) construction "technique" to make the snowball blocks. No stitch and flip corners. Did I mention it wasn't from a quilting magazine? I guess it might have been salvagable (sp?) but the fabric was also hideous. Finally threw it out several years ago.

  5. I just love that you shared this! Do you realize that even back then you were leaning toward modern design?!

    I also started quilting in '94 - I was 20 :-) And my first one was tied as well. I just sewed a bunch of flannel squares together and I was thrilled. Then I folded dark backing fabric over to the front and stitched it down with WHITE thread. It is so ghastly - but we still use it today, LOL!

    Ok now you are inspiring me to want write up a similar "early quilts" post. Darn you!!

  6. My first quilted item was a cheater print potholder when I was in grade school. still have it 30 years later and its shredded, ready for the trash.

  7. Ha... Love that you already had a modern edge to your work, even back then! :)

  8. Love the fact that your honest about your early work. You didn't comment about some of the "ugly" fabric in that quilt. Just trying to save my feelings as most of that fabric came from my stash. As you are probably saying to yourself right this minute, "Yeah Mom, and I'm sure you still have some of it upstairs in that mess you call a sewing room". Well, if I taught you anything it's that you never throw anything out. I hope that you kept and will share some of the black and white work from school, college that is. Also, you have to share your "cow" skirt story and the reaction of the animals at the manager when we went and you wore that skirt. All my love, Mom


    I swear we were separated at birth.


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