Saturday, August 23, 2008

My First Quilt

The year was around 1995 or 1996 when I walked into my first quilt store. I had been to lots of fabric shops, and made clothing all my life, but this was different. I lived near Salt Lake City, and happened to drive by "Gentler Times" and decided to peek in. When I saw all the beautiful quilts I knew I wanted to learn how to make them.
On the wall was this quilt designed by Jan Patek (from the book "Angels"), and it said it was a class offered monthly for several months taught by Leslie Ison. I remember thinking to myself "How fun! A class where I can learn how to make this exact quilt!" So I signed up.
Problem #1 I didn't know there were different skill levels in quilting. I arrived at the first class and discovered everyone spoke a language I had never heard. What is applique? A rotary cutter, what is that? I'm sure anyone who has started quilting for the first time can relate to my story. Poor Leslie. Every time I arrived for class I'm sure she had to pull out a barrel of patience.

Faithfully I kept coming, convinced I would catch on sooner or later. Aaah..emphasis on later. I had most of my things from the supply list when I encountered:
Problem #2 The supply list said to bring a good selection of scraps for the applique. I looked at my other class mates and asked "And where do you buy those?"

After buying stacks and stacks of fat quarters, I learned the freezer paper method of applique. Fortunately I had done a lot of cross stitch and hand work so I caught on pretty quick. Besides this was a "folk art" type of quilt and it's very forgiving in technique. Things don't line up? Oh well! It's that primitive look!

I loved the sayings about Angels. I just kept working away.

I think I must have had a few "quilting angels" watching over me, because when I look back, this quilt could have stopped me from persuing the art any farther. I think Leslie and a few people in my class were pretty angelic too. I asked a lot of questions, and maybe did a little whining? Grroooaannnnn.

One of the suggestions on this quilt I really loved. It said to put the initials of the people you love next to an appliqued heart. Those are the people who the angels will look out for. I put my brothers initials on this one.
For some reason when I downloaded this picture it will only place it sideways. So maybe if you twist your head completely to the right you can see it better. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep the pictures from turning to the side when you download them? Or how to turn them right side up once they look like this?
Problem #3:
It took me a few years to finish this quilt. In fact, I even decided to hand quilt it. Of course I knew nothing about that either. Just jumped in and gave it a try. Primitive right? Doesn't matter what those stitches look like.
Someone told me if you are riding by on a horse and your quilt looks good, then leave it alone. That encouraged me to keep making quilts.

What do your first quilts look like? I'm sure there are some pretty funny stories out there to tell. I'd love to hear them.
If you like Jan's quilts, you can find her at


Amy Dayton said...

I think this quilt is beautiful mom, and it brings back feelings of home, seeing it displayed there for so many years. Maybe you can add it to your list of "quilts to give to Amy when I die" :)

Amy Dayton said...

Also, I could share a story about my first (and last) quilt, but it would not be very exciting, as it is still sitting in peices in a box! -sorry I didn't inherit the quiliting gene!

Browndirtcottage said...

Your "first" quilt looks wonderful. I got hysterical about the riding by on a horse!!!! The thing about your DOESN'T look like a first quilt. This quilt really appeals to me, including your funny story about it! Isn't it amazing that this quilt you made some 10 or so years ago would become such fabulous entertainment for ME today!!!

Abby and Stephanie said...

Beautiful quilt and amazing it's your very first one! Love the story behind it. Thanks for sharing. Some of my earlier hand quilting looks like I quilted it with a nail! BIG stitches.

Di~ said...

Nice Nedra! Isn't it interesting -learning a new thing...I remember hearing the word sashing, but not know what it was! well--now I know!

Nanette Merrill said...

What a lovely story. Leslie did a trunk show for the Alpine group in the past year I think. How fun to remember your beginnings in quilting. I think my first projects were quilted pillows with embroidery in folk style like yours. It makes me sad Gentler Times isn't there anymore. I miss going there and loving everything.

Nicole said...

What a beautiful first quilt. You do inspire me. I forget that you haven't been quilting for your whole life you so such an amazing job.

Betsy said...

Beautiful. My first quilt is just some machine appliqued hearts on white blocks. Made for my grandaughter

life in red shoes said...

Oh how I miss Gentler Times, so sad to see them close.

Joyce said...

I love this quilt. I took the class but didn't get the quilt finished.. I may have to dig it out of my UFO's and get it done! Thanks for sharing