Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My quilting history (all 2 years of it!)

My quilting started with the desire to give a personal gift to an acquaintance expecting a baby. I came upon a fabric with pre-sewn squares and knew this woman liked quilts and sewing so I purchased the fabric and a coordinating fleece. I wrapped the fleece around the edge of the quilted fabric and sewed along the edges. Then I tied the two together throughout. It came out very nice.

I saw another fabric in blues, which was also pre-sewn squares, and I purchased that for myself with matching fleece. I followed the same process. I was very pleased wtih this. Some where in there I realized that it couldn't be that hard to just sew the squares together and with another girlfriend expecting, I decided to do just that. I chose fabrics based on her nursery theme but chose them in different textures. I had 2 cottons, 1 cotton flannel and 1 chenille. Then I had the anti-pill fleece backing. I searched online for simple instructions and cut and sewed away. I loved it and she loved it.

Now my SIL was expecting I decided to try something a little more creative but still easy. Instead of 4-patch (as I later learned it was called) I did a 9-patch. I tried using a different fleece and instead of wrapping it, I added binding. Can't complain about the job done but I won't do any binding on these types of quilts any longer and I'll only use the anti-pill fleece. I like the weight and look of those better although the fleece for this blanket was lightweight enough to make a good "car blanke" like I had initially wanted.

All these fleece backed quilts had been tied and lap-top size. I could have paid better attention to sewing a straight 1/4" seem but, well, live and learn. These blankets moved on to a couple requests from friends. One saw a pattern and fabric kit on eBay so we got it and I sewed it with a fleece back. Hubby liked it so much he asked me to make one that matched the couch so we had a throw. These two done and tied, I was ready for a challenge beyond just squares large and small.

Wouldn't you know, a couple more friends were pregnant! I created a log cabin variation for one and a pieced star for another. I really loved the feel of different fabrics so these were created with flannels and cottons as was the rail fence I created for my nephew. Finally, another friend adopted a girl from Guatemala. She was under 2 when she arrived to her new home so I created an appliqued quilt with chenille hearts.

Alas, I'm getting tired of all this tying (although I'm still fairly convinced that if my friends have any more kids, I will still tie the baby quilts I make... keeps em cuddly to me). I have now decided to try quilting the top, batting and backing of a couple small pieces (like placemats). I have discovered I don't mind doing this on my standard old Brother from Wal-Mart, but I quickly realized it would frustrate me to do this on larger pieces. Since I rarely buy toys (compared to DH's motorcycles and other toys), I decided to look into getting a new machine specifically so I could work quilts. I'll talk of those (yes, those - plural) later.

Keeping in mind I now had a machine I could do something with, I committed to piecig the blocks together and the quilting portion of a charity quilt some online friends and I have decided to create. There were several delays from all of us along the way but I'm finally starting the quilting of this top. I can't wait until it's finished to show everyone.

I also am working a double wedding ring quilt (been off and on working it for about 8 mo. now) which I will also post about separately. I've finalized a photo memory quilt and finally, I've tried my hand at some hand quilting. I purchased a panel and pre-cut squares for a Christmas wall quilt. I gave it to my mother as a gift but for my first time hand quilting without any instruction, it came out pretty good and she loves it which is what matters most. Suffice it to say, I wanted more challenging work and I jumped in head first!

My other ongoing projects? Pieced and appliqued (I machine applique these) blocks as part of a bible study online, particularly the psalms, and a NYBeauty quiltlet challenge where we have to try to make an "ugly" fabric pretty. Since I've never paper-pieced, I joined this to teach myself how to do this and practice with it. I have to say, while it didn't work because of the fabrics chosen, my actual piecing with paper was better than I thought it would be on my first try! Woo-hoo!

Alright, this has been a long post so I'm going to end it here and pop in again later with ramblings and musings as they come. Cheers!

Oh, one final note, all the quilts in this show were patterns bought or found free on the internet. None are my own.

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