Sunday, August 28, 2011

My First Quilt

Night Song

Oh how I LOVE fabric!! 
I buy dresses with the thought and 
have been overheard saying, 
“That’s going to look good in a quilt someday.”

I had been watching quilting shows for years. I’d been collecting fabric even longer. It was time to finally make a quilt. I came across a quilt guild meeting in my area and decided to see what it was all about. When I arrived a group of about 15 ladies and a gentleman were in attendance. On this night the guild was presenting quilts to a non-profit group for battered women and children. When I saw the ABSOLUTELY STUNNING quilts they presented to the representative, I became VERY intimidated. How could I EVER make something so beautiful! Everyone was so supportive and encouraged me, a quilter wanna be with no clue of how to go about it. A very dear lady whom I sat next to during the meeting suggested six inch squares and the dimensions for a lap quilt. I thanked everyone for their kindness and went on my way. I left feeling encouraged but I would not be going back to the guild anytime soon.

That night (June 7, 2002) I went home so excited and determined not to let the intimidation I felt take away my desire to make this quilt. I gathered my scraps, things that began life with another identity, and began cutting. Life kicks in and a few days later I have time to machine piece the squares. All I knew was a quarter inch seam. That is the one measurement I was sure of. It took most of the day but I got all the blocks together. Upon inspection, not many of the blocks were actually the same size. Most of them were cut from long strips but a few were cut as singles. Unhappy with this, I sat it aside for a while. I gave myself ample time to let my desire for completing this quilt override my disappointment.

About six to eight months later I pick up my sewn together blocks. Now it’s time for borders. Those borders have really long lines to be sewn, STRAIGHT! I can’t even draw a straight line without a ruler and sometimes not even then. I begin sewing at a turtle’s pace, trying to be accurate. Finally, all sides now have boarders. I now hold in my hand my first ever completed quilt top! YEAH, next step, the quilt sandwich! But that would have to wait.

A few months go by and I pick up my quilt top. I assemble my quilt sandwich and pin the whole thing together with safety pins. Now I have to decide how it would be quilted. Should it be tied or hand quilted? I’ll have to think on this. I’ve been told I don’t think about things I meditate. The quilt sandwich goes away for a couple more months.

I decide I want to tie this quilt. I retrieve the sandwich from the closet and get busy tying. I finish and remove all the pins. I really like the way it looks but I’m not sure about it. I start to think about it. I leave the tied sandwich laying on a bed and stare at it a few weeks. Nope, tying will not do. I thought a quilt isn’t a quilt unless it is hand quilted. I removed all the ties and pinned it again. I hand quilted the entire thing with stich in the ditch, that’s where you quilt a quarter inch away from the seams. Happy with accomplishing the hand quilting, I laid the quilt on the bed for a little while longer as I pondered how to approach the binding.

It is now the end of November 2004! I've done my research and thought I had a grip on how to do the binding. I began sewing two and a half inch strips together holding the piece against the quilt making sure it was long enough. I trimmed the excess backing and batting from the quilt and began to attach the binding. I hand stitched the binding to the back, finally reaching the end to the beginning I joined them. The binding process took me three days.

Not many of the blocks met perfectly in the corners, none of my hand quilting was in a straight line, but it didn’t matter. After two years I was finally holding in my hands a dream I had carried inside myself since I was a little girl. I had made my very first quilt.

*****Quilt Details:  Dimensions: 44” x 54”, 6 inch blocks; Quilt Name: Night Song; Fabrics Used: The blue fabric is from a dress I had made for myself, the frog fabric is from a pair of lounge shorts I had made for my husband without a pattern (which he lovingly wore for almost a year, only around the house) the green fabric which was also used as the backing came from our first set of bed sheets. Quilt Recipient:  My husband on Christmas 2004. 

Post Note:
The quilt was just about a foot too short for a grown man. Just last year my husband began asking me to add another row to his quilt because while in use he has to pick cold feet or cold shoulders. I love him but I refuse to alter the quilt. With all its  short-comings and imperfections it is a perfect masterpiece in my mind, a dream realized.

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