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Archive for January 2010

When you think about your first quilt… the very first quilt that you made, what emotion does it invoke?

After reading Theri’s post about her first quilt, it got me to thinking about proffering a challenge to our circle of quilting friends.

Post about your very first quilt, and all that you can recall about it.  Have a photo, of course you have to include it.  Tell us about the horror or the pleasure the quilt gave you, at the time, and how you feel about it now.

The Quilt!

I have posted about my first quilt on my blog here.  This blog was a list of firsts that I had done with relation to quilting.  And of course, this is my oldest UFO!

The Recall!

I would have to say, that when I was 9 or 10, this quilt was a very big thing for me.  As I mention in the other post, it was put aside for a while.  I pulled it out, in my teens, could be when I took Home Ec in Grade 8, or TAC (Textiles Arts and Crafts) in Grade 10, but I did add a few more things to it.   I’m thinking it was Grade 10, so I would have been 15/16 at the time… I see a few pieces that I used for a couple of projects.   I don’t know why I never threw it out.  I still have not finished it, although I do intend to.  I have to mend a few places, and square it up.

The Photo!

It all began with this?


Now this quilt (top) brings me amusement and memories.  Some of the fabric pieces I recall fondly of childhood memories.  It has polyester, nylon, wool, acrylic, cotton, denim, terry towel, flannel, and a lot more.   Can you tell what era it’s from?  I shudder at the thought of even trying to machine quilt it… perhaps I will just tie it.   Some of you may recall this quilt, as I did post it on APQ, and I called it my “ugly” quilt.  Now before you all go and tell me it isn’t ugly, and that it is full of memories, you would be right about the full of memories… but IT IS UGLY!  and I am the first to admit it!  Hmm… I have an old blanket that was given to me by my Paternal Grandmother, which is orange (I really didn’t like it), about the time I added to it (way back when I was a teen), that maybe I’ll back it with that!  No need to put a batting in!  Or maybe the orange blanket could be the batting, and I’ll have to rummage around and find something for the backing!  Now wouldn’t that be a hoot!

The Challenge!

If you wish to accept is to find that deep down area in  your “gut”, and find the courage to write and post about your first quilt on your blog.

  • What do you recall about making the quilt?  What you felt?  Who/what it was for?
  • Post a photo (if you have one)
  • Tell us about the quilt as it is today?  Where is it?  How do you feel about it today?
  • And of course, anything else you would like to share!

I do hope you take up the challenge and post here that you have!


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: You have to look back on your first quilt(s) and give them the credit where its due!   As we gain more experience and find new interests, our knowledge base grows exponentially.  We may try one technique and find that we don’t like it, but it leads us to another.  Or we may like the technique and find our own path.  I’ll be the first to admit, that some techniques perhaps some of the simpler (easier) techniques intimidate me.  Why?   I’ve been thinking about that a lot, and think perhaps it is because I have not found a need? an interest? or a true desire yet to try that technique.   And then there are other techniques, where I just jump in, despite not knowing how deep the water is, and have a blast!  I have one quilt that I am scared to finish piecing.    I have made 3 similar quilts, and because I have learned so much since I made the first 3, I know that I will see the “mistakes” and “imperfections” and will want to change it to make it better.   I am just going to have to “suck it up”, and one of these days, just jump in.


What a fun day, at the Saturday workshop our Guild held.  There were scrap strips flying and machines a whirring.  Several times, participants commented on how quiet it was (no murmurming, no chatting).

Our instructor displayed several design options for us.  They can be viewed at the guilds blog. So where does one begin? We were given a supply list, and were told to bring our strips.

After the presentation, and the wonderful variety of design options… how does one choose which way to go!  Squares?  Diagonals?  Double Diagonal (Split Diagonal)?  Rectangles?  Diagonal Rectangle (4 blocks make a diamond)? Spider Web?  X’s and O’s? Fans?  Equilateral Triangles?   I chose not to go the “easy” way.  If I had, maybe I would have left with more than four blocks done… but that’s okay.  I am sticking with my choice.  I chose the Double Diagonal.   If you select a design option that requires just straight stitching with all the strips going in the same direction, these options lend themselves to chain piecing, which will make things go a lot faster.

Now the next choice was colour.  Now, you don’t have to have a colour option in mind, as I soon found out, I didn’t have a lot of certain colours.   You could use all one colour, and select darks, lights and mediums.  Make one block all darks, one all lights, and alternate, and rotate to give a really neat basket weave effect.  The possibilities are endless!  Okay… back to what I decided to do.

I chose two colour options… blue and yellow.   I had brought all my strips with me… from 1″ right up to 6″.  I only used up to the 3″ strips.   (PAUSE:   My mind is wandering all over the place here, so bear with me, I’ll eventually get on track.  I’m getting excited about all the different options that are buzzing around in my head!  But first things first, I need to get back on track and tell and show you what I did).

I didn’t have any old sheets laying about, so I had picked up some very inexpensive muslin.  I first cut the muslin into squares of 9″.  I started with just 4.  To make things go smoother, I think I would have cut them all.  Working at home, I will definitely cut them all up, and then they are ready.  I prefer my cutting table, it does not cause any back pain, from being hunched over!

To begin the Double Diagonal, you need to draw a line from one corner to the other, and use this as a guide.  You then start adding your strips.  Strip 1 – wrong side to muslin.  Strip 2, right side to right side of Strip 1.  Stitch and finger press open.  Oh Yeah!  Remember I said no rules!  No pressing with a hot iron required!

Click on the photo to read the descriptors.

This is another block with three strips added.  You work from the centre… but not quite the centre, and move out towards one corner.  Then you continue in the other direction from the centre piece.  Over extend the end of your strips at least 1/4″ for when you add the second diagonal piecing.

I used the pencil line as a guide, but actually I ignored it.  Some of my blue pieces did not quite reach over, so I lined up the yellow, allowing at least 1/4″ or so to the blue ends.  Stitched.  Trimmed to at least 1/4″… some of those pieces were long!  Then pressed.  I have to confess, I did press the yellow strip with an iron.

And more yellow strips (strings) being added.

Yellow strip added, right sides together, just before being stitched

It was much easier chain piecing the yellow strips.  This part of the blocks went by much quicker.

You may recall, that I mentioned I cut the foundation fabric to be 9″.  This is NOT the unfinished block size.  Our Instructor suggested cutting the foundation piece a bit larger than your planned unfinished block size.  I then trimmed to 8 ½”.  What a difference trimming makes!

This is the four blocks completed, and laid out, with a yellow centre.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that some of the strings are a bit “wonky”.  You can precut your strips to be wedges, and stitched, or stitch them so they are a little off.

Isn’t it amazing how changing the orientation of the blocks, gives this quilt a different feel.    Warm colours have a tendency to advance, or come towards you, while cool colours will recede, or move away from you.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to make pillows, or make a quilt from them.  I do have 4 more blocks on the go, and will be using this quilt as a fill-in between finishing up some of my UFOs!  Photos of the other participants will be posted on the Guild blog within the next few days.  Be sure to check them out, for some other design and colour options!

And now for the remainder of my Saturday.   The Robbie Burns dinner was a very neat affair.  A beautiful Prime Rib dinner, with some haggis.  What a tradition.

The Head Table

The Noble Pudding

Piping it in, and presentation to the Head Table.  After this point there was the toast, and the subsequent cutting into the Haggis.

The evening would not be complete without some entertainment.

And that sums up my Saturday activities.  I did try the Haggis, and unfortunately, there wasn’t enough gravy.  I can’t say I liked it, but I can’t say I disliked it either.  I found there was way too much Sage.  But I’ll keep my options open.

OOOh… and today is Robbie Burn’s Birthday.   I just remembered that!


Tomorrow (Saturday), I am embarking on another quilting adventure.  Our guild is providing a workshop on String Quilts.   And I was not originally scheduled to work the day, I took advantage of it, made myself unavailable for work and will be participating.

My friend Nina will be teaching the class.  She has posted some of the samples she has done for the class on her blog.  From what I’ve seen this is a great way to use some scraps up.  I had read somewhere about trimming off a little extra when you square up your yardage of fabric, instead of just trimming off the bare minimum.  This is so you can use the odd sized and shaped piece in things like string quilts or other types of scrap quilts where a “squared” piece of fabric is not required.   I had started doing that, except… I ended up putting the pieces in with all sorts of other odds and sods.  One of the things I’ve done over the last few days is trying to sort and find those strips!

I’m not sure when I’ll be posting photos from my progress, tomorrow evening we (my hubby and I), will be attending a Robbie Burns dinner.  This is my first time to this event, should be interesting!  I’m not so sure about the Haggis, but will keep an open mind!  I have never been fond of eating organs, but who knows if my taste buds have changed, and the childhood memories have been erased enough to give it a go.  My husband’s grandparents immigrated from Scotland via New Zealand to Canada.


It has been several months since I presented the finished quilt to the recipient, and I thought that as my hours are dropping in the next few weeks, that I should write something more about the quilt, and show some more in progress photos, as well as one of the finished project.

It was bittersweet to present the quilt to our friend, I really liked it, and almost didn’t want to give it up.  In the previous blog Fabric Collage Revisited,  about this project, the last photos show my technique for working on the water.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos in progress of the land portion of the landscape.  The photo below (clicking on a photo will display a larger image to see the detail)  is the landscape portion finished, with a piece of black tulle laid over it.

The tulle helps hold all the little pieces, requiring less stitching to hold everything in place.  Black is best, as it does not really change the colour of the fabric.

The next section I worked on, was directly to the left of the collage section, and is the Ship’s Crest.  I used my artist’s prerogative, and decided to duplicate only the rook portion and the background to it.

I stitched the red and yellow pieces, and then cut them so they would be on the bias.  I appliqued the rook , and then thread painted it to give it, its dimension and colouring.

I added a border to the collage portion, then attached the Rook.  I added a blue piece on the top and bottom.  I used a font on my word processor, for the lettering, and printed it off, and then traced it onto the blue fabric.  I thread painted using a  Sulky variegated rayon thread.  I really liked the way this thread practically glowed on the fabric.  This was the first time I had used a rayon thread for quilting.  I was very impressed with the results.

This is the finished top, being sandwiched.  I was standing on a chair above the table to get the shot… didn’t think of hanging it first!

And this is the finished project.

And this is the recipient and I.

I presented the finished quilt to Pamela at the Change of Command Dinner, with Pamela stepping down in July 2008.  Pamela spent her first summer as a Cadet at the Summer Training Centre in the summer of 1980, and was the first female Commanding Officer of HMCS Quadra.

Hello everyone from APQ, and for those who have been following my rather neglected blog.

I don’t usually have New Year’s Resolutions, but I think I’ll change that, and try to be a bit more active on my blog.

For those of you hailing from APQ, please be sure to leave a comment.  I hope to be visiting your blog soon.


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January 2010
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