Friday, July 10, 2009

My First Quilt

Strictly speaking, what I am showing here is not really my first quilt because it no longer exists, having fallen into shreds and been discarded. I first learned to quilt at a community education class in the early 80's. It was quilting, 19th century style - cardboard templates, scissors, hand piecing. I made two 16 inch square "quilts" that I turned into pillows for my first "career girl" apartment. I enjoyed quilting but was so focused on my career, working more-than-full-time, trying to have a social life (meet marriageable men really) so quilting was just too time consuming and pretty much fell by the wayside...

...until early 1992 when I just happened into the LQS (Quilter's Barn in Allentown, NJ - sadly, since gone out of business), where I saw a sign advertising their Quilt In A Day class. "Quilt in a day, how is that possible?!!" I was quickly introduced to rotary cutters, machine piecing, strip piecing, and all the modern advances in quilting at the time that made it possible to make a quilt in less than three years. While I was in the process of making a log cabin quilt, my sister told me she was pregnant so the resulting quilt went to her baby, Nicholas, now 16. It was loved to death and is now in shreds. I don't even have a photo of it. The handmade quilt pillows suffered from excessive sun exposure over the years and eventually fell apart and were discarded during a move.

So the quilt shown here is my First Quilt Still In Existence. I made it in early 1995 while pregnant with Miss Main Street (yes, eventually, while not quilting, I met a marriageable man). First Quilt Still In Existence is the double Irish chain pattern in traditional calico prints, machine pieced and hand quilted. We used it as a crib quilt and my daughter still has it in her bedroom, on the back of a chair. It survived in good condition because her blanket of choice was a soft, fringed baby blanket she received as a christening gift. It was known as "Manky" and was the one that went everywhere with her. She still has it and occasionally "wears" it like a shawl while watching tv.

My latest finished quilt is Mon Petit Chou, blogged about here.

Between then and now I have become much more adventurous about color and enjoy mixing more fabrics together. Of course, my skills have improved and I have moved well beyond squares. I still enjoy hand quilting but limit it to smaller projects and let a "professional" handle the larger quilts, though I would like to try quilting on my new Bernina. And I am more prolific, generally completing four or five quilts a year (depending on size and complexity).

Now, this is a real first effort, I mean really FIRST! This is what started it all, the skirt I made in 7th grade home ec. It was my introduction to sewing, when I fell in love with fabric and creating, and the whole shebang! Picture it - early 1971, the girls in home ec for sewing and cooking, the boys in workshop so they could learn how to hide in the basement without doing anything productive :>)

A maxi prairie skirt with eyelet trim and an elastic waist. And my mother saved it all these years! Miss Main Street and I brought it home from Michigan along with some other clothes I really did wear in the 70's; she is saving them to wear to a 70's theme party she thinks is going to take place sometime during this next school year.

Thank you Carrie and Camille; this was a lot of fun!


  1. Kids are SO cruel! She's going to wear something you made and wore growing up as a "costume"! And I'll bet she thinks of it as being "vintage"! :)

    The quilts are wonderful but it probably comes as no surprise that what I really love are the stories behind the quilts. I do have one question though ~ why did you name the hexagon quilt "Mon Petit Chou"? :)

    Thank you for sharing your quilts and your stories ~ and I'll see you Monday. :)

  2. I know its not part of the post but I really like that baby quit you completed for the auction. Its really cute.

  3. I love your quilts. The design of your newest is fantastic!

  4. Beautiful quilts! I love the fabric choices in your latest.

  5. Love the skirt!!! I wore those in high school. The quilts are great too. Thanks for sharing them with all of us.


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