My list of firsts… or when did I become a quilter? Part 1
Posted 24 June 2008on:
Have you ever thought about when you became a quilter? Was it when you couldn’t stop buying fabric? Was it the very first project you started? First project finished?
Do you remember you first quilt? I do, and this blog is about the story of my first quilt… as well as my other firsts in my quilting adventure.
When I was about 9 or 10, I started my first quilt – a “patchwork” quilt. I don’t remember now, why I wanted to make a patchwork quilt. All I know, is I started gathering fabric. A pair of PJ’s I had favoured since I was 8, was cut up. Other clothing too small, was fair game. A few pieces of fabric my Mom had used to make us clothes. A few blouses from my grandmother who didn’t require them anymore. A pair of jeans from somewhere. I cut squares/rectangles and pieced them together in a row. Then stitched the rows together. And continued for about 6 strips or so (sew?). A life change happened, my parents split up, my sister and I took a bit before we settled again, and this quilt was forgotten, for a time.
Then my second first occurred. In a grade ten class, I learnt to make a star quilt pillow. As you can see, it is not a star, even back then, I changed things to suit me. I gave the pillow away to my grandma as a gift. They shortly moved away, and I had forgotten about that pillow. After the passing of my grandmother, and the subsequent move of my grandfather into their condominium and my “new” found interest in quilting, I asked Mom, if it was possible that Granpa still had my pillow. Amazingly enough he did. With Mom’s visit at the beginning of the month, she brought it to me.
Amazingly enough I kept the instructions… for some day! I’m not sure when it happened, could it have been the course at school? My quilt from when I was 9 or 10 surfaced again, and I added a few more pieces to it. Again, finding favourite clothes to small, or bits of fabric from a sewing class in grade eight. I wanted to finish the thing… so the patchwork pieces became much bigger. Other interests became important, and the poor quilt was put away again.
More life changes – graduation from high school. Marriage and children. A couple of moves. My eldest daughter was interested in doing some sewing. I think she was just beginning her teen-age years. She discovered my unfinished forgotten quilt, and wanted to add to it. Unfortunately, that never happened, as life does that from time to time.
Fast forward to the end of 2004, beginning of 2005. My eldest daughter was expecting her first child. When I had my first two, they were made quilts my their grandmother. I wanted to do the same. The only experience I had was from the class… many many years before. I designed my first quilt… using a spreadsheet program… easy to make squares! I have not made that quilt yet, and I have since redesigned it using EQ5 software. It is on my must-do list!
Now to 2006. With the passing of my father, from a short battle with cancer, I decided I wanted to make something. My father did not have much by way of personal wealth or belongings. A plan started to form… something for my two sisters and his common-law wife. Something to treasure and remember him. I asked his CL wife, what she had planned with his shirts. She didn’t want to give them away to the thrift store yet, as she didn’t want to see other men walking around town wearing them. I boldly asked if I could have them, that I had an idea. Without anything further, I got his shirts. She had some difficult times after his passing, and I would come and stay with her for a few hours in the evening, or overnight, to give her some peace of mind. During these times, I started designing a quilt, using his shirts. Still had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to incorporate his favourite things… the colour blue, roses and bald eagles. His initial would be made from his shirts. I chose an off-white tone on tone for the background.
I started reading a little bit about quilting on the internet. I needed a stash. This leads to another first! Building one’s stash. I thought the best way, and possibly the cheapest was to buy fabric from eBay. WOW, I can get 48 patches for a couple bucks. I went on a shopping spree. Several hundred 4″ squares later… I came to realize, this was not the most efficient way to build a stash.
While thinking of making a quilt to remember my dad, I thought I would revisit making those pillows. After all, I did it ummm… 20 plus years ago, I can do it again. I brought the subject up with my youngest two, and asked them if they would like to spend a weekend making pillows. They would get to choose their fabric (which meant a shopping trip), and off we went. My first quilt fabric shopping trip. Little did I know, that poly-cotton blends would not necessarily make the best quilt (not going to go into that debate). We got the three pillows made.
Now I think I am ready to tackle my dad’s quilts… I can make it using triangles (after all, I just made 3 pillows and isn’t that the best way.
But before I tackle my Dad’s quilt…. need to get the pillows finished I started with the kids. Here are the three we made together… this time using the star, or the instructions as intended.
This is the beginning of my firsts. I will continue listing my other firsts in my next blog entry.