Monday, November 24, 2014

A quilty beginning...

I have never finished the first quilt I started. Though the New Year's resolution that got me jump started on finishing projects was to finish all works in progress, I still am not sure I'll ever finish it. I don't really feel all that bad, either. There are so many other projects pulling my interest.

When I moved into my current house, I commented on a quilt group flier I saw on my neighbor's refrigerator. "Oh, do you quilt?" she asked, her eyebrow raised in hopeful anticipation.

"No, no, but I've been wanting to learn; my sister-in-law received the most amazing quilt from her best friend at her baby shower, and ever since, I've been dying to learn." The next thing I knew, we were cruising the aisles at Joann's, buying all the basics I needed. Pins, thread, fabrics for a sampler. I borrowed my Mom's 50-year-old Viking sewing machine (which weighed a ton!) and rotary cutting supplies, and found myself at a neighborhood quilt group meeting. My neighbor, Julie, patiently taught me how to cut and the basics of piecing, and away I went. The group had a sampler book and the host ran copies on cardstock of the templates for anyone who wanted them. I made 8 or 9 blocks and loved deciding which fabrics I would use in each block.

A few months later, the host relocated across the country for her husband's job, and though we tried to keep the quilt group going, it fell apart, and I stopped working on the sampler.

Shortly after, I discovered I was pregnant and decided to make a quilt for my future baby. I picked out fabric (gender neutral since it was too early to find out), and decided to make an Ohio star pattern. I didn't know about quilt blogs, patterns, or anything, and did the math myself on graph paper I printed. Julie showed me how to add mitered edge sashing around the outside, and then showed me how to hand quilt it.

And then I miscarried.

Heartbroken, I put the quilt, still on the large embroidery hoop, in another room and closed the door. Once I became pregnant again, and was sure it was viable, I cautiously pulled out the quilt and began quilting again. I finished quilting, I learned how to bind it, and managed to finish it several months before my beautiful daughter arrived, healthy and safe.

I think every single one of the star tips got clipped off because I didn't take seam allowances into account, but it was my first quilt and I was so proud that I did it all myself, from piecing, to quilting, to binding. And, in many ways, I think it's significant that my first completed quilt was for my child. So often, the most meaningful quilts are the ones we make for others.

I have not hand quilted since then; I just don't really like it, and I prefer the look of machine quilting. But, I've done it once, and I'm proud that I can say that. The whole project was a real learning experience for me, and really propelled my confidence in quilting. Stay tuned for more flashback quilts!

Approximate completion date: August 2009

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