sewing + quilting confidence grows here, tip by tip

Monday, 2 July 2012

My Very First Ever Quilt

That's me putting my first ever basting pin into my quilt at CQ
- the other ladies in the class then helped to baste the quilt
Before I arrived in the States in August 2011, I knew once I got here I wanted to continue my studies into Textile Arts alongside taking the opportunity to make new friends.  I searched and searched the internet but Textile Art courses, of the type that are becoming more and more available in England, just weren't happening out here.  Well, at least, they were few and far between and hard to get to when I was looking for something that I could just jump on the subway and go to for a couple of hours once a week.  A lot of the courses seemed more, what in America, you call retreats - 3-5 days in some remote location, that only a plane journey and/or car ride can get you to, oh and bring your own sewing machine!

I quickly discovered though that what you do have in America is quilting.  Quilting didn't interest me, not in the slightest - it's for frumpy old women and who wants a boring old quilt anyway (please bear with me at this point, I will be proved wrong!)?  Searching for an outlet for my love of sewing showed me that I didn't really have a choice - it was quilting or clothes making or nothing.  So with great trepidation (and my husband, S, and daughter, F, on my arm for moral support and to stop me backing out) one Sunday afternoon in August, we ventured out to The City Quilter in Manhattan.  We weren't even sure that we wanted to go in at the door, but we rang the bell and were buzzed in.

We were all looking at each other not sure that we liked this place and not knowing what to do and then a really friendly young lady (now fellow guild member and friend, Karen Haynes) asked if she could help.  I told her I was new to the country and new to quilting and wanted to sign up for a course to learn to quilt.  She told me that she'd done the same course, Introduction to Patchwork By Machine and that I'd learn so much and meet great people and she said that the instructor, Christine Janove, was amazing - by the time she'd finished I was feeling much more comfortable with the idea of learning this new skill, quilting, in what was then my strange new world, America.

At the end of the 6-week course,
I'm proudly holding up my sampler quilt for a CQ photo
By the 6 October (2011) I was eager for the class to start but who'd have thought that this day would completely change the course of my life?  The class was amazing, a great bunch of women eager to learn, to share our limited knowledge and to encourage each other.  The tutor, Christine is an absolute treasure - she knows so much and shares it all in her softly spoken, positive and encouraging way, I'm so lucky that she was my first quilting tutor.  And I did make some really good friends in this class, particularly W who's been incredibly supportive throughout this year.

I quickly learned more and more about quilting and realised that it's not an old-fashioned technique for grandmas, what's gone before is an incredible passed on tradition with so much skill and artistry and now there's a whole new wave of quilters coming through taking this skill forward, learning the 'rules', following and breaking them in modern, contemporary ways that are artsy and fun.  People love quilts, and now my family and I know why - they keep you warm when you're cold, they are cool when you're hot, they're lightweight and fold up smaller and neater than you'd ever imagine, they can be customised, personalised and make great gifts, you can sit on them, lie under them, cry into them, hide inside them and snuggle up with them, they hold memories of people and places that we love and have loved and they become so personal to you that you cherish them ... it's your quilt, it's part of you to be used, hugged and treasured and eventually handed on to the next generation - who'd have thought all that about a quilt!

And here is what I made, my very first ever quilt - it's a Sampler Quilt made for my daughter, F, and from the moment she reluctantly held it, she fell in love with it - and now, at those times when the quilt starts to crawl to the washing machine all on its own, it's reached those dizzy realms of "if you're washing it, it has to be dry in time for me to go to bed tonight?", and that's true love!

 




So that's it, I'm hooked - 9 months on and I'm using quilts, making quilts, blogging about quilts and building my life around quilts - what was that I said about quilting " it's for frumpy old women and who wants a boring old quilt anyway?" - well what did I know and WOW, wasn't I proved wrong!


Disclaimer: 
This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs and opinions are my own.


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33 comments:

  1. New York City - what an exciting and dynamic place to be when you first learn to quilt - and your quilt shows it! I enjoyed reading this story of how you first discovered quilting. Looks like you had a great teacher and fellow classmates.

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    1. I really did Cynthia, I was very lucky to find them and they've all become friends :)

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  2. What a wonderful first quilt! You're putting the rest of us to shame ;)

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    1. Thanks ever so much. I know it was my first quilt but I had been sewing for well over 40 years so I'm not sure I really count as a newbie! It's just another way of putting the fabric together but I so love it :)

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  3. Beautiful blocks and beautiful first quilt! Very well done! Your color choices are just perfect! Great job!!

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    1. Thanks Rosemary - the quilt colours caused a bit of a stir amongst the other ladies in the class when I was putting it together but if you saw the colours of my daughter's bedroom, you'd know it's perfect. :)

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  4. Your sampler really puts the idea of "frumpy old sampler quilts" to rest too--love the palette! And so glad you've joined the world of quilting!

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    1. That's so lovely of you, thank you. I find my choice of colours and fabric often cause a bit of a stir. Some people love my quilts, a lot of people don't think they'll work and are then surprised when they see the quilt finished and some just obviously don't like them. I guess that's just life though isn't it and it would be pretty boring if we all liked the same things but my quilts seem to invite opinion!

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  5. Your quilt is simply gorgeous! You did a fantastic job!

    Vicki @ Quilting Lodge

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    1. Thanks Vicki, that's great to hear :)

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  6. Gorgeous first quilt and love the fun colours! You did great for a first attempt, well done!

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  7. Your quilt looks fabulous!!! I can relate as I'm just making my first quilt now...

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    1. It hooks you in Pam, can't believe it's only your first quilt now, though :)

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  8. What a beautiful quilt and I'm glad you have found a new creative outlet! Have fun and thanks for sharing!
    Quilting at the River Linky Party Tuesday

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    1. Thanks Connie, I wish I'd learnt quilting years ago :)

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  9. Great colours. I am not surprised that your daughter loves it.

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    1. Thanks, it was a great intro for me to the possibilities of quilting :)

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  10. It's a gorgeous quilt and I am pretty sure I had the same thoughts about quilting before I got hooked ;-)

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    1. I'm so glad I gave it a chance and didn't let my preconceptions stop me :)

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  11. Thanks for sharing your story-It made me smile and I agree quilting is not old fashioned, it's so much more;) happy quilting!

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    1. Thanks, it's lovely when people understand something of what you're feeling :)

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  12. A really lovely quilt, thanks for sharing. I also like the quilt on your header too, the calm colours are such a contrast to the bright ones of your first quilt. I'm afraid this quilting lark is quite addictive.

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    1. Thanks Sue. I'll get around to posting more photos of the quilt in my header photo at some stage - that's my Juicebox Quilt with sashing based on the Cluck Cluck Sew quilt pattern and it lives on one of my living room sofas. It's quite different to the loud patterns and clashing colours that I'm more frequently drawn to!

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  13. Your first quilt looks lovely, Chrissie! I really love the black sashing it separates the blocks so well. And the backing is ahh, so gorgeous! I wasn't the one to teach you, but I'm really proud of you :))

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    1. Thanks Kati, I love that backing fabric, it's just perfect for F too :)

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  14. I've just come across this page on your blog, and wow, what a great story! It's amazing isn't it how quilting has suddenly become such an important part of our lives. I wouldn't be without it - or my quilt blogging friends! xxxx

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  15. Welcome to the quilting world. I find it a great creative outlet.
    Your first quilt is awesome.

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  16. I love to hear about how people come to quilting. The sampler quilt is a stunner and the colours really pop. My grandchildren are loving their quilts as they receive them as much as your daughter did. It is a wonderful hobby and I've made some great friends, both over here and in blogland.

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  17. Now you know how wonderful quilting can be! I loved reading your story.

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  18. Congratulations to the finish! I hope your quilt will bring you joy for many years to come.

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  19. What a good story! Having seen your work in person, I thought that you have been
    quilting for years & years & years.

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    1. Ha, thanks and "hi" Margaret. Yep I've been quilting only 4-1/2 years but sewing in all its other forms for 50 and I covered textile arts as part of my Art & Design degree so it wasn't a difficult transition. I find that I look at quilting from a slightly different viewpoint given my underlying knowledge of general sewing, upholstery and dressmaking and it's transferring that knowledge as tips for quilting that my students and readers love most :D - Chris

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Chris Dodsley