Sunday, April 22, 2007

My First Quilt

The other day I read an interesting blog,called Cinnamon Sticks. She spoke about a first quilt that was put on the shelf for years and the maker pulled it out and finished it. I was moved to do the same. Here is my first quilt. It's a miniature pineapple quilt. It was not foundation pieced. I cut each little strip individually. If I'd only known now what I didn't know then...is that the correct way to say it? Well, you know what I mean. How dumb was I? The craftsmanship involved in making a miniature quilt is more for an advanced quilter, not a first time quilt maker. Constructing a quilt with larger pieces is generally easier. While constructing a miniature quilt, if you sew a fraction of a fraction of an inch off the seam, you can mess up your quilt! If you really want a challenge, try a miniature quilt. Back to the beginning of my quilting life. I had been sewing clothes for a number of years. Having made some for myself, but, mainly for my 2 daughters. You know, the frilly dresses for pictures and Easter. Back then it was economical to sew, not so much today. Sewing today is more about enjoying the process and making something with your hands that looks nice and is complete. First of all, I took a beginning quilting class at our local quilt shop in Houston, Texas, USA, called Creatively Sew. It was great at sellingbeautiful fabric, but, fell woefully short in the education of a first time quilter. All we did was one block, the Ohio Star, which we were encouraged to make into a pillow. This was 30 years ago and the pillow has long since gone by the wayside. Ohio Star, by the way, is one of my all time favorite blocks, maybe because it was the first one I made. Being a person who usually dives in head first in any endeavor, and now finding a new obsession, I saw a pattern for miniature quilts and I thought that looks easy...it's small...you know...small and easy...HA! But, I learned so much from making this miniature quilt, that it was worth the experience. I have to say, though, unless you have sewn a lot, don't try a miniature quilt for your first quilt, especially if there is no teacher to guide you. Here's a picture of my first time quilt, as you can see I did use high contrasting, yellow and green fabrics-albeit old fashioned calicoes(no offense to the cat...smile...) -but, you know, they worked. Let me begin by saying, foundation piecing a pineapple quilt is the easiest way to go. You have the stability and the sewing lines to guide you and this makes constructing this block much easier.


About 20 years after I made the first pineapple in miniature, I next made a twin size foundation pieced, machine quilted pineapple quilt. I like Stitch and Tear better than paper, for foundation, because it's easier to tear. I probably could have left the stabilizer on, since it's so light, but I removed as much as I could. This is one of my favorite quilts. This fabric is not as high contrast as my first quilt, that makes for a softer effect with the pineapples, but I like it that way...smile. Again, having little or not instruction, at that time, I think Georgia Bonesteel was the only thing going for teaching. I really probably thought I knew it all anyway and thought, oh Osnaburg, it's cotton...wrong...as you can see from this picture, the threads are large and quilting through it and the many seams in a miniature pineapple block, it's no wonder I didn't finish quilting it. Notice the lovely quarter inch stitches...ugh...we live and learn....smile. Now I machine quilt everything, using my Brother 1500s on a Hinterburg table, and I like it that way...

How was your first experience with your first quilt?
Why did you continue on? What is it with women and fabric and our love affair with it?

For those of you interested in my silk batting,
mentioned on an earlier post, I'll be putting it on my African coin quilt next week and will begin machine quilting it soon. I'll let you know how that goes. My favorite batting, so far, is wool batting.

Happy Quilting...smile...

8 comments:

gwen said...

How funny, I have just put pictures of miniatures on my blog as well. Mind you, mine were not the first quilts I made, I am not as courageous as you! I would not want to show my first quilt either, it is horrible. Thank you for sharing the nice pictures. Take care.

Leigh said...

Hi Julie, thanks for mentioning me on your post. You are one brave woman. I still wouldn't attempt that quilt.
Your large pineapple quilt is gorgeous I love the soft colors.
Ohio star is my favorite block too :-)

Connie said...

Julie, Miniatures are something I've thought about but never tried. They are so pretty though. I enjoyed reading your post from beginning to end. :)

Pam said...

Great story. I would think it would be a pretty major undertaking to do a miniature Pineapple quilt for your first project.
It is probably easier the things you don't know when you first start - LOL

I have heard wool batting is really good to quilt and great for batting. I will have to try it. I am interested in how the silk works out.

Alison said...

Minature Pineapple...I know many experienced quilters who wouldn't be game enough to do it with out foundation piecing. Your terrific...dumd but terrific. I also have a dumb but terrific piece. My first sampler and the hand quilting...I must have 40 stitches to the inch all over it and its easily a double bed size. The other thing they say is "ignorance is bliss" and how true is that.

Beth said...

I think it is VERY common for beginners to get in over their heads on 1st projects. My 1st hand quilting project, I just about KILLED my hand. Only yrs later did I roll the WHOLE batting out and find a small paper in the middle. It stated "wash batting 1st before quilting" Couldn't they have put it near the EDGE??? HA! My 1st machine pieced quilt was a Drunkard's path variation! CURVES!!

Helen in the UK said...

Love both your pineapple quilts, but particularly the colours of the larger quilt. It must be a spring thing because I'm really being drawn to softer colours right now! I'm surprised that minature didn't put you off quilting altogether - brave lady :)

PG said...

What an interesting qustion about fabric and 'our' fascination with it. I have a huge hand pieced quilt which I started 23 years ago when I was 16...I still have the poor thing, I wonder if I should finish it? I gave it up after a few years...but it did teach me to sew nicely - all those tiny stitches!

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