19 April, 2012

Q is for Quilting

You can find a full list of my A to Z challenge posts here. :)

Finally, something fun to blog about!

I began quilting almost 22 years ago. I'd sewn quite a lot of our daughter's baby clothes and had all sorts of scrap hunks, nothing big enough to for more clothing, but too big to throw away (I have issues about wasting things).

Anyway,  I decided that  people used to make quilts out of their scrap hunks so maybe I should, too. I gathered them up, found a pattern for a star I kinda liked, and I even went out and bought a bedsheet to use for the 'white part'.

Then I had to trace and cut what seemed like eight-hundred-gazillion pieces for a bed sized quilt. It was made from the cheapest fabrics at the dime store (all I could afford) and a couple of bedsheets. 

I still have it.

My first quilt ever. It's a hot mess.
I was so, so proud of what I'd made, at least until it started falling apart. I'd made so, so many mistakes out of ignorance, but back in 1990 there weren't a lot of handy resources on quilt making. I went back to sewing baby clothes because they were easier, cheaper, and didn't fall apart.

Iowa State Quilters Challenge, 1995.
Then one day, our local PBS station showed a new program on Saturdays. Strip Quilting with Kay Wood. The woman is a freaking genius and I was almost immediately hooked. With Kaye's guidance (and a cutting mat, cutter, and one ruler), I made a little bargello wallhanging out of my baby-clothes scraps (Laura still has it hanging on her wall, it's so cute). 

Snowmen Door Hangers, 2009
Now that I had a little more confidence, I decided to tackle Kaye Wood's take on a Lone Star Quilt. I don't have it anymore (it was the first quilt I gave away, to my new niece, Jordan) but it turned out pretty darn good (and I think Jordan still has it, too). I had to go out and buy Kaye's special triangle ruler, another first. I started buying greater amounts of fabric when shopping to make baby clothes so I'd have enough for quilting. I started subscribing to Quiltmaker Magazine (I'm still a subscriber). And I taped every episode on Saturday afternoons.

Color Challenge Quilt, 2010
Yep, I was hooked.

Threads of Malice Tour Quilt, 2006

I've since figured out quarter inch seams and never use sheets for anything but, well, sheets. I also no longer buy the cheapest fabric I can find, in fact I don't flinch at $12 a yard - or higher - fabrics. I've done hand and machine applique, and hand and machine quilting (I prefer using my sewing machine for both). I've entered quilts in competitions that I've won, and a lot more that I didn't.

Winners Bouquet, 2012
I do all sorts of techniques and styles, but my fabric choices are almost always scrappy. I wouldn't hesitate to use more than one hundred different fabrics, if I thought the quilt needed them (my most, so far, is more than 400 in one quilt).
Christmas Table Runner, 2010
I've sewn so many quilts that I've burned out the motor on two sewing machines. 

Pieced Dawgies, 2012
And I still give away almost every quilt I make.

Twice As Nice, 2011
Quilting keeps me sane, and helps me remain happy. It's a great hobby to have. 

Henry's Quilt, 2010


Janna said...

Quilts are so beautiful. I've thought about trying my hand at it, but I am afraid that I don't have the patience, and I'm only a novice when it comes it sewing.

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

I love quilts! I've only finished two -- and one of those was a little 2' x 3' for my son when he was a toddler.

Yours are gorgeous. I love the colors on Henry's quilt.


Kat BM said...

I still have and love both quilts you gave me!!! ( both are up in my studio)