Monday, November 28, 2011

My First Quilt

Bonnie Hunter, over on Quiltville, had photos and the story of her first quilt, and is asking for us to post photos of our first quilt and its story too.  If you visit her here, you can see lots of first quilts.

It took a bit of digging in the blanket chest, but I finally found this beauty!  (If you double click the picture, it will biggify so you can really enjoy it!)

This is the first quilt I ever worked on.  This was back in 1969 or 1970, I believe.  My sister and I had a lot of scraps leftover from all the clothes we had sewn, and one summer we decided it was time to make a quilt from those scraps.  I really don't remember how we did it, but we must have used some kind of a template, because those squares are all the same size.  We put in everything we had.  A lot of cotton fabrics (including kettlecloth, anybody else remember that stuff?), corduroy, wool and even some velvet from a prom dress that my sister made.  Somewhere in the midst of the making of this quilt, I got married and left home, so my sister actually finished this quilt.  There's a couple of rows that are offset from the next one.  I think she decided that the quilt needed to be bigger and added those rows later.  There are ties on only two rows that don't go through to the back and that left side just kind of disappears at the edge.  The backing fabric is bright red (still!) and seems to be a decorator weight.  The quilt is funky, but fun! 

You know, I remember most of these fabrics, but many of them I can't remember what the original outfit was! 

Here's a closeup shot.  You can see wool, corduroy, kettlecloth and plain cotton fabrics.  Look at that chocolate brown with the turquoise flowers!  It looks just like the fabrics that are coming out now.  LOL  I remember my youngest commenting that those were cool fabrics, but then he was horrified to learn that we actually WORE them!  In PUBLIC!

So, fast forward about 10 years.  Here is the first quilt that I actually made.  This was made in 1981.  I decided that I was going to make a 9-patch pillow, like I had seen in some country magazine.  Well, when I got out my sewing scraps, there were so many that I wanted to use because of the memories associated with them, that the pillow grew into this quilt!  I had to go buy more fabric to have enough to finish the quilt to a good size.

I remember the kids helping me pick out which fabrics to include and my DH helping me to lay out the squares on the floor.  I backed it with plain white fabric (a sheet?) and I tied it with white acrylic yarn.  Then, Christmas Eve around midnight, my Mom helped me to put on the binding.  Oh that binding!  It is atrocious!  It was that packaged bias binding, in white, there is no batting in the binding, and my corners are all rounded.  The quilt was given to my youngest for a Christmas present that year, and this picture is from today.  It's held up pretty well!  It's faded, except for the poly-cotton squares, and thin in spots, but he still loves it.

Here's a closeup of some of the fabrics.  These are fabrics that I used for clothing, curtains, robes, a cowboy shirt that I slaved over for my DH and even a shower curtain that I made from a sheet.  And that bright red solid poly-cotton?  My oldest picked that out for me to make into pyjamas for him!  I still remember the lady at the store who was cutting the fabric commenting that the kid would never sleep in those because they were so bright they'd keep him awake.  hee hee!

After I made this quilt, I realized how much fun I had had making it, but knew that I didn't know enough to do a better job.  So, right after that Christmas, I took my first quilting class in Adult Education.  And I haven't stopped since then!  It's good to see how far I've come.

Your turn!  Let's see your first quilt!  I dare ya to show it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Corduroy & A Birthday

The Corduroy Quilt
approximately 53 inches by 70 inches

Welcome to a special edition of Indigo Threads!  Just in case you didn't know, today is a perfect date: 11-11-11.  A once in a lifetime event.  Those of you who are regular readers will know that I love these fun dates. 

Well, today is much more than "just" a perfect date.  It's also National Corduroy Appreciation Day.  LeeAnn over at Nifty Quilts invited anyone who wanted to to participate in a corduroy quilt-along.  So, if you've come here from Nifty Quilts, welcome!

Initially, I thought the Quilt Along sounded like fun, but I had no corduroy.  I'm not purchasing much fabric lately, as I already have a large stash.  But it didn't include corduroy.  So, I decided not to do the quilt-along. 

Then, unexpectedly, corduroy entered my life!  A lady at quilt guild was giving away a bunch of fabrics, and there were 2 2-yard pieces of corduroy!  Another lady noticed my interest in the corduroy and offered me her corduroy scraps too.  So, it seemed the Universe wanted me to play with corduroy!  Who am I to argue with the Universe??

I ended up with 2 yards of wide wale burgundy, two yards of wide wale tan, a pretty good-sized chunk of purple, some pieces of black, a small piece of yellow and a little larger piece of bright green. Amazingly, it worked together pretty well, except for this piece of bright grass green.  (you can't tell from this picture exactly what color it is/was)  First, I washed all the corduroy together.  The black cord scraps kind of dulled down the bright yellow and dulled the green some.  But not enough.  So, I hauled out the dye and had some fun!  I decided on the blue overdye that the arrow is pointing to.  It didn't really come out great, but it was much better.  Sadly, that was the only fabric dyeing I managed this summer. *sigh*  These colors are not easy to photograph and get true colors.  Some of the color differences you're seeing are just the nap going different directions.  

the challenge is fitting these all together!

I decided early on that I wanted to do something in the Gee's Bend style.  Those ladies made a lot of corduroy quilts, and I knew cord didn't lend itself to fussy. (just fuzzy!)  So, no rotary cutter or rulers, just me and my scissors.  I  tried to just work intuitively.  It was fun!  When I could, I ripped the big piece of cord.  What a mess that made!  I used a walking foot to sew this together, and used 1/2 inch seams.  I don't think this will come apart anytime soon!

I paid no attention to the nap of the corduroy, I just cut and sewed whatever fit together, and patched in other bits when something was a little short.  You know: "if it's too large, cut it off and if it's too small, add on to it"!  I used even the smallest pieces.  I completely used up the yellow and the blue-green.  I have only a small handful of scraps left of the black, the purple and the burgundy!  Oh, and I have the entire 2 yard piece of the tan left - maybe another corduroy quilt in the future??  And, my scissors are now incredibly dull!

In true Gee's Bend style, this top is kind of lumpy.  It will never lie flat!  And I'm OK with that.  It's heavy and cuddly and soft and will be warm! 

I had fun, and did this in pretty much record time, at least for me.  It's not tied or quilted yet, but the back is pieced and ready.  I'm using flannel on the back, for even more coziness.  I'm going to making a little test swatch to decide if I want to tie or machine quilt this.  I've had 2 people offer to help me tie it!

The other reason today is a special date?  It's my birthday today!  So, this quilt is my present to myself!  Yay!

I'm not planning anything special today, maybe just some more time in the Quilt Studio.  That sounds like fun to me!  And maybe we'll go out to dinner tonight.  I just have to decide if I want Mexican or Chinese.  Hmmmm . . . . They both sound good!

Thanks, LeeAnn, for the fun Corduroy Quilt-Along!  I got a yummy quilt out of it, and had so much fun making it.  I can't wait to go visit all the other Corduroy Enthusiasts to see their corduroy quilts!  Be sure to go visit Nifty Quilts for the Corduroy Quilt show!

Now, I think I have to take the sticky roller to the carpet in the Quilt Studio before I take the vacuum to it!  Yikes!  Fuzz Attack!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Playing With Blocks

Here is what was on my design wall on Monday.  I've started making some 16 Patches in plaids and black.  I started making these for a Demo I did at the Quilt Show on Quick & Easy 4-Patches.  After the show, I started sewing them together.  This is all that I had cut.  Now it's time to iron and cut some more before I can work on these more. 

However, these are down off the design wall now, to make room for the corduroy quilt I'm making for National Corduroy Appreciation Day.  That is November 11th.  Also know as 11-11-11, "The Date That Most Closely Resembles Corduroy".  LeeAnn over at Nifty Quilts is having a corduroy quilt-along.  There's still time to join up!  The big reveal will be on 11-11-11, so stay tuned.

Dunkel was being very coy with DH the other morning, peeking over the back of the couch while he basked in the morning sunlight.

I hope everyone is taking the opportunity to check out the wonderful quilts featured at the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy of Amy's Creative Side.  I don't know which I enjoy more, the quilts or the stories that accompany them.  If you haven't checked this out yet, don't be coy!  Click on the button for the BQF on my sidebar, and enjoy!