Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Evolution of a Quilter

(This is a re post of one I accidentally deleted)

The guild member who was scheduled to give our program Monday night has had to cancel due to a family emergency. As program chair I had to come up with a replacement program on short notice. Luckily we have some very resourceful ladies in our guild and on our board and within a couple of hours of sending out an e-mail S.O.S. we'd decided upon a program. One member came up with the idea of expanding on the birthday anniversary of Charles Darwin last week. Each board member will bring 2-4 quilts or so that demonstrate her evolution as a quilter. Great idea, isn't it?

Here's my story:

My first quilted project was a wall hanging I made in 1999. I found the paper pieced pattern in an issue of Crafting Traditions. The only thing I knew about quilting was what I'd learned from watching TV programs like Simply Quilts and reading quilting magazines. It turned out pretty well. I even hand quilted it (don't want to look to close at the size of the stitches). But for binding I simply brought the backing fabric to the front. It was mitered..but still not a good look.

So a few years later when I'd been quilting awhile I decided it really deserved a better binding and I fixed. Looks better don't you think?

I didn't do any quilting again for several years. I was getting lots of fliers in the mail with pictures of cute wall hangings and I decided I could make some of them myself without the patterns. I made these two wall hangings for granddaughters in April 2002. Since I no longer have either of them, they won't be part of my show and tell at guild but I'll share here.
I hand button-hole stitched these appliques and did a combination of hand and machine quilting.
I machine appliqued this one and also machine quilted it.
Now I was definitely hooked and I count my quilting history from this point when people ask how long I've been quilting (7 years almost now). Within a month I made about 10 wall hangings for family members and myself. This was my 6th. The little Sunbonnet Sue pattern was taken from a Miniature Quilts magazine pattern. They finish to about 1 1/4" tall. They are raw edge applique with hand button hole stitch and hand embroidery.

I had so much fun making this and call it "I Still Love Paper Dolls" since it reminded me of how much I enjoyed paper dolls when I was young.
The reason I'll take this quilt to show is because of the sashing. When I put the blocks together I discovered I wasn't so good at lining it all up. Not wanting to take it all apart I decided to fold fabric strips, lay them down on top of the old sashing and zig-zag them in place. Not a conventional method for sure! This little quilt hangs on the wall of my sewing room and every now and then I think I should take it apart and do the sashing properly. Then I decide it shows how far I've come and I leave it alone.
Seven months after those first wall hangings I decided I wanted to make a quilt for the birthdays of my 3 sons, five grand kids, husband, mother and mother-in-law. Since we have 4 December birthdays I started with youngest son and did the other three December birthdays 12 months later (grand kids). I met my goal in 1 year, plus adding a quilt for a new great-grandson in the process.
This is Jeff's quilt...not quite full be sized but big for me at that point. I joined the backing, batting and top using the "birthing" method and then machine quilted it with an all over free-motion pattern. I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to use this method now, but it turned out pretty well and I still love the color play of the fabrics in this quilt. Being a newbie no one had told me that half square triangles were supposed to be hard.
And the back:
I don't have that quilt to take to the meeting to show either, so will take this one, which I talked about here. I made it in Dec 2002.

The quilt I will take to show my current work is my Aurora Star quilt, made in 2007. I designed it in Electric Quilt, using the Dakota Star block and then variations of the block. It has won two 2nd place ribbons, a third place and a Best Machine Quilting award at our county fair last year.
A close up of the machine quilting.

That's my quilting evolution.


Sunna Reyr said...

I think that's a evolution to be proud of. Wish I was as good at machine quilting.

Crispy said...

This was really fun to read. I think my first quilt had the back brought to the front. Good thing I gave that one away LOL.

I LOVE your Aurora Star Quilt. The fabrics you used are just yummy. Hooray on getting all the awards.


Geta Grama said...

I am glad you posted an article on this topic.
So fun to see and read about miniature with Sunbonnet Sue.
Great quilts, keep up the good work !