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Sunday, May 19, 2013

My quilting journey - the beginning

   
My baby quilt
      I have long been fascinated with quilts.  As a baby, I received a quilt made by one of my mother's relatives. As you can see, that quilt has seen better days, and isn't particularly well made, but I love the graphic look, I love the little fabric prints, and I love the texture of that quilt.  And, I love that it was mine!  


The graphic look of this quilt makes it seem quite modern - even though it is now an antique!

 


I love the little ditsy prints.  This was made with love, not great skill.   Perhaps my inability to match up seams is inherited!
     Over the years, I had tried my hand at making quilts, but I did pieced tops, and then tied them together. I made a small baby tied-quilt in the early 1980s, and then a few other tops, including one I made from upholstery fabric. What was I thinking?

     In 1999, I got the idea that my daughter, then 10, would love to sew and quilt. I signed us up for a beginner quilt class at Joanne Fabrics. We made two different 3 inch blocks, a nine-patch  and a half-triangle block and sewed them together.



The nine-patch and half triangle blocks
      My "ah-ha" moment came when we quilted this little project.  Despite my crude hand-quilting, once it was washed,  I realized that the texture I so loved with my own baby quilt was from the quilting.   I now mostly use warm and natural batting, and prewash the quilt fabrics and backing, so when I wash the quilts,  the batting shrinks a bit, making that wonderful pebbly texture.

   

A close up of my laughable hand quilting.




My finished little sampler. 




My embroidery skills were even worse than my hand- quilting - but at least I know the date this was completed.


     I was hooked on quilting - and the chance to be creative, and create something practical at that same time.  I was also fascinated with the history of quilts, and loved working with patterns and blocks that had been used by women long ago.     As for my daughter, she did not have the same reaction to the quilting experience. Quilting was not for her, but she appreciates the many quilts that I have made for her.

    One of my first quilts was a fairly good sized quilt using a variation of a crown of thorns block, using some of the fabrics from the little sampler, and concentrating on reds and greens.   Because of that color scheme, I called this  quilt "Christmas in July".


The quilt

 
  I used a different red or green print for each block.


The blue from the little sampler has faded to grey.


The flower fabric from the little sampler. 


I started with some machine quilting - still a challenge, although practice has improved my free motion skills.


I made sure to sign this quilt, with permanent ink pen.   My binding skills have also improved greatly since 2001.
 


The quilt may be old and faded, but Chester still enjoys it.



     I have great difficulty buying just a little bit of fabric.    I had no idea that a fat quarter was actually a good amount of fabric.  I have yards and yards of some fabric.  Indeed, the scrappy string quilt, which is in the process of being quilted, contains many remnants from those initial quilts.



The string quilt, ready to be pinned.  I hope to have this quilted by the end of the month. 


The strawberry fabric, and the little blue and red fabric made it into this scrappy quilt!


So did the lady-bug fabric!

 
     I continue working on a quilt that I can't yet share, and have many more projects underway.    I hope the weather is nice where you are.  
     
Take care,
Gretchen  

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