Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival

After browsing through many wonderful blogs featured on Amy's Creative Side, and reading truly amazing stories about quilts, I was inspired to share one of my own.

This is my very first machine-pieced, full-sized quilt, completed in 2006.


My then-boyfriend (now the one and only Mr Awesome ;o) had a big birthday coming up and I wanted to give him something really special. Like, really super special. (I was pretty sure he was the one.) I decided to make him a quilt.

The year before I'd made a doll quilt from a kit, plus I'd made two mini-quilts when I was about ten years old. All were pieced and quilted entirely by hand. I didn't even begin to guess how unprepared I was to tackled a full-sized quilt. Good thing my stitchin' mama was only a phone call away, of which I took copious advantage:

"Hi, honey, how's it going?"
"Mom. There's no time for small talk. I have a sewing problem."
"Oh okay. What is it?"
"How do I thread this stupid machine again?"


Ah, that machine. It was a Brother (more like a Bother), a very thoughtful gift from my mom, and a giant pain in my tush. Not that I didn't pull and tug the fabric every which way trying to get my poorly cut pieces to magically fit together (I didn't have a concept of 1/4" seams OR squaring up). Needless to say, our relationship had its share of communication problems. From which issued forth many rectangular blocks that were supposed to be, ahem, square (ideally). Ironically, the quilt itself was supposed to be rectangular, yet ended up more square-ish.

If only I had discovered the liberated piecing movement earlier!

Anyway, my woodsy sweetheart loves all things outdoor-ish, so I selected a pattern using Bear Paw blocks out of a traditional quilting book. I chose 4 different color combos to represent the different seasons.

Winter, when everything is cool and dark.

Spring, when the rain comes and everything blooms.

Summer, when the sun bakes everything to within an inch of its life.

Fall, when everything is really dead, dry, and brittle.

It's possible my Southwestern experience of seasons clashed slightly with Mr Awesome's New England notion of them. ;o)

This quilt took about 3 years. I hand-quilted it by stitching in the ditch, most of it without a hoop. There were big plans to do some embroidery in the black squares (a tree in the colors of each season) but I really wasn't up to the challenge, and honestly, I think it would have been a bit overdone.

I presented the finished quilt to my guy for his birthday in 2006. He immediately put it on his bed and we still sleep under it every night. It's gotten a bit faded, but what can you do? It's a family quilt that was made to be used.

This quilt taught me some important lessons:
1. Quilting has so. many. STEPS!
2. Which means you have to go slow and enjoy the process. And not expect to finish in a month.
3. And celebrate small victories. Like making HSTs. Or cutting off the corners of them!
4. Patience is a virtue (that I need to work on :o)
5. Pins are your friend.
6. Better to rip out a seam than deal with the same problem over and over again.
7. Better to just line it up right and sew it carefully than rush through and have to do every seam over.
8. Good tools make all the difference.
9. Quilting is best when you can share the process with like-minded folks.
10. Every bit of frustration is worth it when you cuddle into that pocket of softness and think, "I made this!"

Thanks, quilt. You may get an extra snuggle tonight!

Check out more stories at Amy's:

Amy'sCreativeSide

10 comments:

  1. I loved your story! So sweet! Your quilt is really beautiful:)

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  2. What a wonderful story! Your hard work truly paid off as the quilt is lovely... and I love that it is used and snuggled under!

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  3. what a nice quilt -- thanks for sharing it. I like that block design and your hard work totally paid off. =)

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  4. I love that you just set your mind to it, and finished this, even though you needed a reminder on how to thread your machine! Sounds like it has been a well-loved gift.

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  5. Yours is my favorite story thus far.

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  6. Grazie per la bella storia che accompagna questa trapunta.
    Ciao

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  7. What a great guy quilt. Rugged and cozy. The seasonal blocks are a cool idea.
    Come see my entries #29 miniature applique reproduction and #31 antique 1850 Bethlehem Star.

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  8. That is a fantastic story and I love how you did the colors for the seasons. Bear Paw blocks are one of my favs and I have YET to make one. :/ One of these days...Great job!

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  9. What a unique design. :) I love the colors.

    Mary
    http://www.quiltgenius.com

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