When I first started quilting, I wanted to make a quilt for my sister. We weren't close growing up, but got much closer after we were both adults. She was in college, and I thought a big picnic quilt would be fun for her to have. I picked out a jelly roll quilt pattern from a book I had picked up, but didn't know where to buy jelly rolls. It was before I'd really gotten into fabric, and did most shopping at Joann's. I checked out a couple of other quilt shops, but I guess it was before jelly rolls got really popular. Or something.
I wanted to make it bigger anyway, so I just bought some yardage I found at Joann's. It was a really cute line, and I supplemented with a couple of yards I picked up at a local shop. I overestimated how much I needed and bought way too much, it was almost enough to make two complete tops.
I struggled a lot with the top because of the star placement in the strips, and the pattern had some flaws. It didn't help that I enlarged it by adding an extra row, but I went over it and over it (and again, when I made the second) and the pattern was just wrong for a few things. It took so long to get it to all work out right!
I backed it with denim (mostly made of our dad's old work jeans with some denim and red canvas yardage added in), and made it before I knew there were affordable long-arm quilters out there, so I tied it with yarn. It was so tough and I had such sore fingers!
In the end, it wasn't a great quilt, I was still such beginner. But it was made with love. :-) She still has it, but doesn't use it often.
A couple of years ago, I decided to clear out my UFOs for a new year's resolution, and the leftover strips were at the top of the stack. It was one of the first projects I finished in my resolution, but I knew better and sent it out to be quilted. It was the first quilt I had Abby Latimer quilt (stars and loops, a great penny-incher panto), and she did a great job. She's my go-to quilter. I backed it with denim (just yardage this time) and it turned out great! So much better than the first, but I had a couple more years of experience, and a year of Saturday Sampler under my belt.
We use ours a lot. We take it to the park, we use if for Family Movie Night (yes, it deserves capitalization…), and when our floor was ripped out in our kitchen from a flood, we ate on it on the concrete. It gets a lot of love at our house, and our girls know that when it comes out of the closet, they're in for a treat. (They always assume it means movie night)
First quilt (not pictured) approximate completion: 2010?
Second quilt (pictured) approximate completion: July 2013