Wednesday, May 24, 2006

20 Years Ago... The First Quilt

A while back Cathi over at Crazed Quilter tagged me for a little history - the 20 years, 10 years, 5 years ago thing. So, here is part 1:

20 years ago I made my first quilt, and this is it - going through a little bit of repair.

I was going to a horrid boarding school and this was a 3-D art project. Home for a weekend my sister and I laid it all out on the floor (the very same sister I was sewing with in April!). I used my Mom's wonderful old workhorse machine and zig-zagged everything down. The green hills are just zig zagged to the blue sky! And then after I was comfortable with zig zagging, I used a cam (or is it a kam - but those old plastic disks that had the decorative stitches on them) to do a little bit fancy stitching. We lightly stuffed the shrubbery around the lake and on top of the green hills to give it a puffy effect. I didn't know a thing at all about seam allowances - some of the seams on the back are over 5"! And, what is stabilizer? So, it is a bit puckery. We lined it with an old orange blanket and the backing and WIDE binding (probably 5" too) was a large red print (don't have it anymore, but it is the same fabric as the red shrubs in front of the house). I can't say for sure what my source was for the pattern - probably a combination of my own and something that I copied.

And I absolutely loved this little quilt! It was always on my bed - fits a bottom bunk bed very nicely with the design facing the room. It was great for car trips and beach cook-outs. Sad to say though - I only got a D from my art teacher. Too bad, because it made me quit art altogether for fear of lowering my GPA. Honestly, I think art should be graded on productivity instead of a single teachers opinion. Fortunately the D didn't ruin quilting for me though.

That was 1986. In 1992(?) a girlfriend and I got the bright idea to drive across country from California to Cape Cod in an old car, with no A/C, in the middle of the summer, with NO money. And of course, we didn't tell our parents because we didn't want them to worry! Oh, except I had just enough money to buy a TINY bit of sunflower fabric somewhere (2 little squares), in the middle of nowhere, where we stopped to buy some ice to suck on to keep cool - ice is cheap (we arrived at my families house with 10 cents between the two of us and an empty gas tank, but we made it!). By this time the quilt was badly in need of repair - some of the fabric had shredded and there were holes and stains. I cut out the sunflowers and appliqued them over the parts that needed hiding. I trimmed the sails on the sailboats and re-appliqued them down, but some parts I had to cut all new. In 1992 that was my idea of a perfect fix!

Here you can see where I snipped a sail and re-sewed it down! This little boat also got a new flag in the process. I love how I just used a wavy running stitch in dark thread to create water movement. As a brand new quilter, I didn't know any "rules" and just did things!

This is the house - with a silk-y door and 1/2 circle window on top - that fabric has held up really well. The house and sails are a very soft woven fabric - if a tiny bit gets out from the stitching it frays! But by the time I got to the house I was using the cams for stitching and that has held together really well.

So, this is my first quilt. It makes me laugh every time I pull it out and I really must find some old blanket to re-line it and make it into a beach blanket for Little Boy. And that was 20 years ago - I will have to rummage around in my photo tubs for what I was up to 10 years ago...

Oh, and shortly after I made this quilt I got very sick and left that awful school. When I started to get better my Mom bought me an old black "portable" sewing machine that weighed a ton from a yard sale for about $20. Mom got me into a log cabin quilting class and I made the blue log cabin I showed you this past winter - somewhere in the archives of my blog. I had to measure out all my strips with a wooden yard stick (no rotary cutter!) and learned about 1/4" seam allowances. And my poor Dad had to lug that machine into class for me every week - bet he would fall in love with the new lightweight Janome Jems! It is the only quilting class I have even taken, but it was good enough to give me a working background and I slowly continued from there! I will be forever happy that Mom had the good thought to get me a sewing machine and sign me up for that class and that Dad was a good sport to carry that heavy machine around for me!


cher said...

nice post on your first quilt. I really enjoyed the tale.

Linda_J said...

Interesting to hear how you got into quilting. Your mom must have sewn but did not quilt herself? Still, the quilt has held up pretty well considering the use it has gotten over the years.

KCQuilter said...

Loved your story about your first quilt!! And I agree, how can you grade someone on their art, for Pete's sake??? Glad you kept on quilting.

Norma said...

Thanks for sharing your start to quilting with us. I love learning about why people got into quilting. Your first piece definitely "tells a story" like all good quilts should!

ForestJane said...

Thanks, you brought back memories!

I still have all the cams that came with my Kenmore - and they still sew too!

Jeanne said...

What a happy, carefree first quilt! How wonderful that you still have it, after all this time.
The ocean has always been part of your life, hasn't it?
Hugs ~ Jeanne

Samantha said...

what a great history your first quilt has!

Dawn said...

That is a wonderful story and what a fun first quilt! I'm so glad you shared it with us!

Finn said...

So much fun to see that quilt from 20 years ago. As a mom and a quilter, I'd say, "my hats off to you!" It's a pretty darn remarkable and creative piece for your age.
It's great, as is the story of your cross country trip. I'm thinking there probably isn't anything you can't do!!! Hugs, Finn

P.S. yes, Q on M had a corner for kids, tub of toys and books and lots of Fisher Price goodies from my kids..Little Boy would have been most welcome there. Bathroom available as well as drinking of water(or juice)if needed...*VBS* I'm a mom first, after all...*S*

Lizzy said...

Thanks for the 1st quilt story.
Love the sail boats on the quilt.

Brit said...

That is a adorable! I"m making a little quilt for the Moo with tracks on it so he can play with his trains in bed...or wherever...this just kinda reminded me of where I got the idea. Cute.