Monday, July 6, 2009

My First Quilt

I've been all nostalgic lately. It might have something to do with my baby turning one (?!?!), or it could just be the itch I get every summer to move on to something new. In any event, I've been spending time going through old pictures and checking out projects that have long been completed. When I found this blog post this morning when I was doing my blog rounds, a light came on! So, here's a hint about the big MonkeyTree Creations (MTC) news that is upcoming, and (I think) a fun look at just how far my fabric craft has come.
I don't have any pictures of my finished first quilt. It was truly a labor of love. I didn't know anything about quilting, or fabric, or batting, or squares, or geometry, or well, you get the idea. Here are all of the photos that I have, please forgive the awful quality. They are photos of photos... taken when digital was crazy expensive.
Me, behind my mom's amazing Bernina, stitching my little heart out. My mom, helping me pin the edges. The quilt, folded in half with the front corner folded back so the front and back show.

I jumped into this project with my typical "how hard can it be?" attitude. I consulted my mom, who quilted in the 70's and she advised me to cut a cardboard template for my squares, to trace it on the fabric, to cut the shapes out and then to sew them together. The cardboard template was the first piece in this poor quilt's rocky foundation. The squares weren't really square... but I pushed on. I didn't want to do binding, so I insisted on sewing the quilt together like an inside out sandwich. It ended up working out all right, but did contribute to the overall rhomboid shape, as I couldn't square my edges. When I actually quilted the thing, it ended up being a lumpy mess. It should have been 6X6, but ended up being 5.75X5.33 or something like that. The photo of my mom sitting by the quilt is probably the last time the poor thing was flat. I don't have this quilt anymore, and while I thought it would break my heart not to have it, it doesn't.
This is the most recent quilt I have completed. I started this as a 35th B-day gift for the man who is now my husband. I wanted to make him a blanket for the floor of his apartment, because he always sat there when he was watching TV.
I designed the quilt to fit between his couches and pretty much cover the room. Because I wanted to get the quilt done quickly, I went with a large block pattern. I designed the blocks in the center to feature dragonflies, which symbolize victory in Japanese folklore, and used fabrics with an Eastern/Mid-Eastern feel. Sadly, I didn't get this finished until way after his 35th B-day, and when it was done, he had long since moved out of that apartment and married a lovely bride. The quilt is 7X7 and fits perfectly on the couch we have now.

Detail of the dragonfly blocks in the center of the quilt. Their simplicity made cutting and piecing them a breeze.

I wanted to share this quilt as well. It is my first show quilt, and, I feel, the best quilt I have made to date. I titled the quilt "Dreams". The entire quilt was stitched on a Janome Jem Gold, which I'm pretty proud of. This tiny, but capable, machine was a dream to work with, although it's size made quilting tough. Dreams ended up being 4.5X4.5. Close up of the quilted portion of the quilt. I did this all free hand on my machine. It took FOREVER! All of the orange and blue rows are quilted this way, as well as the adjacent blue and blue row.

Tune in Friday for the big announcement! Abi

10 comments:

Nadine said...

Hi Abi! Love the quilts, and what a great story about your first! Thanks for sharing. Oh, and what's MTC? Just curious... :)

abi said...

thanks for your commnet Nadine! MTC is my herb/craft store, MonkeyTree Creations. I edited my post to include this info. You can check out the shop by clicking on the top button in the right tool bar. : ) Thanks, Abi

Elephunk said...

Wow! I love watching people progress through their craft.

tscrapper said...

I've always wanted to learn how to quilt, so I love looking at them. Nice work!

Carrie said...

Hi Abi ~ They're wonderful! And good for you for entering a quilt in a show! Everyone should show their work ~ you never know who you're going to inspire or how something you've made will touch someone else. And the quilting on Dreams is terrific!

And it sounds like your cardboard template experience mirrors mine... nothing was the size it was supposed to be and everything turned out a little "wonky". Square? Uh... not even close. :)

Camille said...

So fun to read your story- and to see your pictures of pictures too! I'm so impressed with your quilts and your machine quilting. Looks great! Thanks for joining in!

Deborah said...

I wish that I had taken a picture of my latest project when I had moved furniture out of my living room when I was getting it ready for quilting. What wonderful memories. You do beautiful work.

Bowlby said...

Gorgeous quilts! I know what you mean about nostalgia. My little guy is turning 2 in a few weeks. Sniff.

Donnelly said...

They are both lovely! Have a great day.

Magnolia Bay Quilts said...

Wonderful quilts! And such a sweet story about your husband!