Friday, July 10, 2009

First Quilt and what I have learned...

Camille at Simplify is hosting a parade of quilts where participants blog about their first quilt and their most recent quilt and what they have learned.

Its going way back but my first quilt attempt was from a pattern in Woman's Day or Family Circle magazine in maybe 1980. I thought it was so cool - cylinders of fabric stuffed to make rows and rows of rows. Very modern. I bought fabric and stuffing and began sewing without following the directions - just sort of winging it. It was a total disaster. I did make another attempt and pieced a throw size top but could not figure out how to get the stuffed look and it sat un-quilted forever. Sorry no photos of those sorry experiences.

In 1984 I made a quilt for my first born - Matthew - I designed a swan applique framed by pale blue eyelet quilt top and made it into a duvet cover for his crib. There are lots of wonky bits because I made it up but oh how I love this quilt. It just brings back how little my son was and how much I loved being a mother and especially being his mother. I will take a picture of it and post it tomorrow. Gee I am all choked up just thinking about it.

In 2000 I made a real quilt for my last born - Patrick - I took a quilting class and was pleased to finish it for his birth. It has a teddy bear for each of his brothers and sisters and lots of hearts incorporated into it. I put a lot of effort and time into it which contributed to a little sibling rivalry. Matthew (aged nearly 16 then) expressed concern that I had not made him a quilt and when I brought out the swan quilt to show him he sort of mumbled: "Well what have you done for me lately???"

I asked if he wanted me to make him a quilt and he said sure but doubted I would deliver. I could not let the challenge go by and so took another class to make a sampler quilt in secret for him. I learned so much from Helen and am forever grateful for her guidance. The blocks were pieced by hand over a year and I was sooo, sooo slow, finally Helen said machine quilt them together. I could not get the blocks to be the same size and she said - we are not going for perfection - we are going for delight. Then I prevailed with quilting the top with a regular machine - stitch in the ditch - it was torture - lots of bunching and ripping out and doing over. I finished the quilt for Matt's 18th birthday and he was totally, totally surprised, blown away and happy.

And so I have progressed and persevered and learned a lot, including:

fabric is seductive, and addictive
creating ideas for new projects is enervating and engaging
mistakes, flaws and revising are necessary to appreciate your mettle as a person
finishing quilts is a struggle with so many new temptations to begin new projects
incredible satisfaction and peace accompanies a completed quilt and you see it wasn't that hard afterall
the quilting community is incredibly generous and supportive

My newest finished quilt will be my strawberry quilt from Dana's Old Red Barn Co. Quiltalong - only 5 weeks to make or Cait's - 3 years in the making. Which will it be???


Rafael's Mum said...

How about 7 weeks? Your strawberry quilt is lovely and you are far ahead of me! it'll be done in a jiffy !!

Saucy said...

Quilting is a beautiful metaphor for life, as you tell it. Can't wait to see the finished products!

Jennifer Paganelli said...

You and your blog are lovely!!

MJ said...

Ah, the complexities of quilting I appreciate so well! I swoon over the fabrics, struggle over the piercing, and cluck over the quilting. I feel much relieved if I take it to a long-arm quilter now!

You could catch my quilts on my blog but it has gone private. If you want an invitation, email me and I'll forward you one! Happy week ahead!