BCQuilter's Weblog

My list of firsts… or when did I become a quilter? Part 2

Posted on: 29 June 2008

It is now time for my second instalment of my list of firsts.   But I don’t know where to start.  I realize now, I should have just kept writing, and split the post in two, when I was done.  Hmmm… I think I was called away, and that is why I ended it off… as well as it was getting quite lengthy.

So where were we….  ah yes… I ended with the pillows… which would have been the Spring of 2006, and the creation of “My Dad’s Quilt”.

In Part 1, I described how I designed the quilt, and posted the EQ version of it.

My quest was to look for eagle fabric.  In Canada, it was quite difficult.  I was fortunate to find some on eBay.   Buying the rose fabric was relatively easier.  On a trip to visit my Mom, I stopped at a couple quilt shops in the Greater Vancouver area.  I also bought some Moda Marble in different shades of blue.

The background fabric I used some of the 4″ charm squares I bought from eBay, and I also purchased a few quarter yards of tone-on-tone ecru.  Each of the three quilts I made was an improvement on the last.  I realized when I had finished the first, that some stabilization was needed for some of the shirt fabrics.  They stretched unbelievably… my first introduction to bias cuts.  If you don’t think fabric stretches on the bias… try cutting a poly type fabric in a half square triangle, and then sewing it to another triangle.  So I stabilized with some interfacing I had.  I only have pictures of the first two… I wanted to deliver the third, and forgot to take pictures of it before I did.   Each rose and eagle on the quilts were stitched around each element.  My first attempt at free-motion quilting… but I didn’t know I should be using my darning foot, as opposed to my walking foot.  A couple stitches, lift foot, turn, couple stitches… boy… have I learnt a lot.  I do not recommend this “technique” for anyone.    Putting the corners onto the borders and even adding borders was also a first for me.     The pictures I have, do not do these quilts justice.

The first of my Dad's quilts.Finished Fall 2006

Second Dad\'s QuiltFinished December 2006

I found making My Dad’s quilts very therapeutic, and it helped me through the grief.  There were times when I wanted to give up, it hurt to remember him, wearing that particular shirt.   There were times when I put them aside.   Perhaps this summer, when I have a few more of my projects in progress completed, I’ll start working on mine.  Now that my quilt’n room is almost complete, I can hang it above my computer.

In April 2006, I participated in a Guild Demo night.  They showed us how to do redwork.  What fun!  I didn’t really think I would do hand-stitchery, just this point in time, my life is very busy.  Little did I know.  Within 2 weeks, I had a design for my first red-work quilt in mind for my Mom.

In December 2006, I started my first Mystery Quilt.  I finished it in February 2008.  Before my Mom’s Quilt… Star Bright was my first large quilt.  Another first for the Star Bright quilt… I free motioned the entire thing.  I had no idea what I was doing… I just did it.  Meanders, stars, leaves, and a few other things I can’t remember what I put in.. .the little fellow that received it and his friends searched the entire quilt trying to find them.  Star Bright is also the first quilt I sold.  It was so sad, because it was sold before I finished it… I never got a chance to enjoy it in its finished form.

The great thing about belonging to a guild… all the opportunities to learn/try something new.  For the first two years as a member, I didn’t want to do everything, as I was not interested.  Then I realized, I should anyway… one it helps support the teacher, two it is a chance to socialize, three the opportunity to learn something new.

There are several things that are firsts for me.  Some I have already written in other blogs.   So when did I become a quilter?  I’m not entirely sure.

I have found in quilting an inner peace (piece?).  It brings its frustrations, but in the end, it is bliss.  Now that my quilt room is a little closer to being set-up the way it was intended, I will find it a much joyous place to be.

When did you become a quilter?


4 Responses to "My list of firsts… or when did I become a quilter? Part 2"

Alice, your story is inspiring and I can see so (sew?!) much of my own quilting journey in yours.

It has taken me much longer to make the transition that you have achieved in just a couple of years.

I have some Australian wildflower applique blocks that have yet to be made up. They were supposed to be for my mother but she passed a way from cancer before I could make a start. Since then I have struggled to make them into a quilt as they are tinged with sadness. I know that in time I will bring them together…just not yet.

I began making quilts about 15 years ago but my progress is slow – one quilt about every two years. Over the next two years I plan to make at least 8 quilts after which I will scale back a bit – maybe two quilts a year.

I love the journey from idea to inception, through construction and completion – mistakes and all.

I have never been to lessons though. When you are on a budget choosing between a $90 lesson and fabric/batting is a no brainer. I belonged to a guild for a little while but had to give it away when mum became ill.

I make do with teaching myself for now.

Cheers, Ann.

Ann, I can understand and appreciate being on a budget. I’m not sure if its a terrible thing or not, that I am working to support my habit… I mean my hobby *grin*. The Australian Wildflower applique quilt, will let you know when its time. I hope that you haven’t tucked it too far away. The last quilt for my Dad is nearby… and with rearranging my quilt’n room, it has become a little more hands on again. One of my goals this summer! I’m glad to hear you find my words inspiring. The comments that are left, inspire me! Thank you! -Alice

Alice, I look forward to your posts. They are thought provoking. I started quilting as a way to get back in touch with sewing and as a way to restart my creative process. That was about 4 years ago, we were living in Port Angeles (a beautiful but isolated town) and I felt like I was at the end of the world. I think my dabbling in quilting then saved my sanity and my marriage LOL. I made a small wall hanging commemorating my DD Debbie’s marriage. I adapted a pattern from a Fons and Porter book and had Debbie and her beloved Jason send me a pattern of each of their hands.

Thank you Judi. I am becoming a fast believer that quilting is very therapeutic, different ways for different folks. Maybe it is something they put in the fabric, as my DH says? What a great idea to commemorate your DD’s wedding and marriage! -Alice

Your father’s quilts look wonderful, especially the way you’ve used his shirts. And I don’t think I’ve seen your mum’s quilt finished – it looks fantastic!

I started quilting when I was about 10 or 11, after receiving the ‘Readers Digest Book of Needlecraft’ for my birthday – one of the best presents I’ve ever received. The first quilt I made was an English paper pieced hexagon quilt using fabrics from old clothes etc.

It’s probably only in the last 15 years that I’ve really come into my own, after joining my first quilt group and taking part in courses – wonderful stuff!


Jen… were we separated at birth? That’s cool you remember what started your quilting adventure! Oh.. .Mom’s quilt isn’t finished yet… still being quilted. I laid it out on our bed after I sandwiched it to take some photos… being the largest quilt so far, it didn’t fit on my temporary design wall. Thanks for your wonderful words! – Alice

You weren’t joking about jumping in with both feet, were you 🙂 Your Star Bright quilt is awesome!

Hee hee… yup, probably my understatement of the year. If I don’t jump in, I just don’t get there. Thanks for visiting! -Alice

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