Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My First Quilt

Way back when, after I was engaged and before I got married, I wanted a quilt for our bed. I hunted and shopped and much to my shock, good old fashioned quilts are expensive! I decided I was going to learn all I can about making quilts. I bought magazines and books and learned as much as I could. My classes and teachers were the magazines and books I read. The thought of attending a class intimidated me. Deafness can interfere in so many ways and can frustrate teachers to no end. However, books and magazines are excellent substitutes.

I bought a lovely cheap Kenmore sewing machine on sale. I also grabbed their last floor model sewing cabinet that was marked at a deep discount. I purchased a Kenmore for two reasons: 1) I knew I only needed a machine that sewed a straight line and 2) my mother had a Kenmore that lasted her for years. I think she bought that machine before I was born. And, as far as I know, it is still going strong.

I still hesitated on sewing. I was afraid. The perfectionist in me also got in the way. But, one day, I saw a complete beginner’s quilt kit in one of the many quilting catalogs I received. It included everything except the thread. I purchased the kit and not long after the kit arrived via mail, I dived into the sewing and quilting world.

I read the instructions for putting together the kit. I arranged the squares of fabrics together into rows. And then, I sewed all the rows together. I was real pleased with my efforts even though the corners didn’t exactly match in some places.

Halfway into tying the quilt, I discovered a very critical error. I misunderstood the instructions. Instead of using a single strand of yarn, I used two. No wonder why it was difficult to pull the yarn through. Ha! I already had more than half the quilt done. So, I decided to purchase a skein of red yard and finish the quilt instead of ripping it all out and starting over. The color wasn’t an exact match; but, I was satisfied. I was not planning on keeping this quilt at the time. It was just to help me learn the basics of both sewing and quilting.

After I had the quilt tied and bound, I was amazed with the silly little thing. It is approximately 26” x 33” and very wonky. At the time I got into quilting, all the magazines were big on documenting quilts. It was ingrained in me to create a label or signature. And, I wanted something unique.

I was in a weird creative mood and decided to applique my initials with one letter backwards along with the year I made this. Good Lord, it’s ancient! Where have the years gone by?

I decided to keep it for my childhood baby doll as it is the perfect size for her. And, now all I need is the perfect doll cradle and I have been looking for years!

I have since learned and now understand why quilts are so expensive. The cost of fabric along with the labor of love causes the prices of handmade quilts to seem high. In reality, the cost for most true handmade quilts you see out there are reasonable.

By the way, I have yet to make a quilt for our bed. I got sidetracked with many things in life including making a quilt for my dad and going back to college. I have many UFOs; but, I plan to work on those soon along with the new projects I have started.