I do have my very first quilt. In bringing it out of the storage tub in my closet -- the one with my Science Olympiad medals, prom corsage, and yearbooks -- I realized it is not quite as impressive as I had remembered, and I wasn't expecting much.
This quilt belongs to a time long before the Modern Quilt Guild existed, before I knew what a blog was, and before I came home from a quilt shop and told my husband I'd like to try quilting and needed a few supplies...I wasn't part of a quilt guild, but rather, a member of several high school clubs. The Internet was dial-up, fabric came from Wal-Mart, and I certainly wasn't married with two kids. Yep, things have changed a bit since then.
At that time of way back when, my grandmother had recently made me a quilt featuring my letter jacket letters. It was patchwork and tied, nothing overly elaborate, but it got me to thinking. Maybe I could make a quilt too.By the looks of it, my current quilting capabilities cannot be completely contributed to natural inclination. During this first experiment with quilting, I didn't know what a rotary cutter or walking foot was, that fabrics can go together without having the same value and pattern, and that some points are actually supposed to match up.
While I didn't pursue quilting in greater depth until many years later, I did return to the notion of quilting. One year into marriage, I discovered a local quilt shop during a summer break from teaching. I enrolled in a row quilt class. You were supposed to learn how to make one block in class, make six more of it at home, and end up with a quilt eight weeks later.
Well, ignorance was bliss. I hadn't realized that the eight week time estimation wasn't terribly accurate for a complete quilting novice. Nine weeks later, I had a quilt top. That wasn't too bad for someone whose sewing experience was composed of a couple semesters of home ec. (family and consumer sciences in this day and age). After about a dozen weeks, I had myself an actual quilt, and I was hooked.
As one not well-versed in quilting reality, I set about making oodles of the heart block from the row quilt whilst envisioning a generous king-size quilt. I pieced and sashed, and then requested information regarding how to free-motion quilt the ginormous monstrosity that I had created.
"Not a good idea on my $100 Target Singer?"
"What's this about birthing?" (Thank goodness this concept was presented before I was a mother of one, let alone two kids.)
"Oh, I see...You think I should tie the quilt."
The quilt shop owner fortunately managed to talk me out of my domestic machine free-motioning, especially considered my choice of super puffy poly batting. Let's not talk about how I insisted on at least adding a lace ruffle, eyelet fabric, and little heart shaped beads. Sorry, modern quilters...I imagine you're getting pretty scared right about now, and I hadn't even mentioned the tone-on-tone creams, white, and oat-ey color combination.
Then...I discovered the Elm Creek Quilt Novels, and that got me thinking again. I pondered whether quilt retreats like that did exist. That led me to Quilt Camp in the Pines, which served as a wonderful reprieve from a constant flurry of activity as an elementary teacher.
At retreat, I began to further discover what generous, caring women quilters are. They also let me in on another life-changing insight: quilt guilds.
Now, I'm more involved in quilting that ever -- still learning and still loving the creative outlet it provides.
What's the story of your first quilt? Quilting Daily is having a contest if you'd like to share your tale.
You can win up to five items worth $200 from Interweave. If I won, my picks would include:
If you do decide to enter, leave a link to your blog post in the comment.