The way I started quilting is probably not how most quilters got their start. My mom had a sewing machine, but she did not use it very often. My grandmother on the other hand, sewed all the time! She made me outfits, and made my dolls matching outfits. She taught me how to sew a few dresses for my dolls, but I never really fell in love with sewing. I found out later in high school, that my mom used to love sewing. She even made her own wedding dress (WHAT?!), but she said she didn’t have the patience anymore for it.
Growing up I kept busy, and did dance, choir, musicals, girl scouts, and some other things. When I was a senior in high school my girl scout troop learned how to quilt pillows. Nothing special, but it was really fun. I felt very accomplished after making a tiny pillow made for a doll. But, I didn’t have time to continue any of it with the 20 hours a week that I was dancing, or being in musicals. However, when I was 19, both my knees dislocated a few weeks apart. I had to stop dancing, and would soon have two surgeries to reattach ligaments. What was I going to do with all the extra time on my hands, that dose not involve a lot of movement?
Finally quilt!! I contacted my girl scout leader, and borrowed some quilting supplies from her. I found old T-shirts, jeans, and sheets and started cutting them up. I set up the family sewing machine, and just started trying things. I decided since I didn’t know what type of quilt I was doing I would cut everything into 3 inch squares. I then sewed those together. Some things not to do:
-sew two patches together, then add a 3rd like you’re going to make a square…. the fourth isn’t going to fit nicely in.
-put a silky fabric next to jeans, and not use pins. Anyone who has ever sewn probably can imagine the gross diagonal line that ended from that.
-think you can do things without pins, since it’s your first quilt! You will move patches around without meaning to.
-decide an iron is a waste of time. Ironing after each patch, while super tiring, is needed.
-iron on the wrong setting for the fabric you are using. Cotton and denim require a much higher temperature than silk. If you are reading this, you might be laughing at all my stupid mistakes…. but remember I was 19 and had not worked with fabric much before.
Some things I did right during the first quilt:
-I cut mostly straight 3” squares!
-made a twin size quilt while on crutches in just a year (and had two surgeries and did a year of college from on line classes).
-learn how to adjust the tension on my machine
After about a year, I ended up with a patchwork top quilt that would fit a twin bed. After I finished the top quilt, I realized I didn’t have time before I moved out (to a new semester of college) to quilt it. So, I just put some fabric together, sandwiched, and sewed along the outside.
Once this first quilt was done, I was stitched in! I don’t know if that is a saying, but I’m going to start using it. I brought my sewing machine with me to my new dorm, started using actual quilting patterns, and the rest was history!