Pages

Friday, February 15, 2013

My First Quilt: Things I've Learned



I finally completed the Christmas quilt for my daughter - on Valentine's Day! Fabric choices are detailed in this post. Finished size is 36" by 44". With the exception of hand-finishing the binding and labels, it was all sewn on my Janome DC3050 using both cotton and polyester threads.

Quilt Front

As I pieced, sandwiched, ripped out, and quilted, I had a lot of time to think; I decided to list, in no particular order, a few things I learned in the making of this quilt.

I learned that not having a pattern is OK. I bought the Nature's Gift panel with no thought other than I loved it and wanted to use it to make a little Christmas quilt for my daughter. I used a combination of disappearing nine-patch and improvisational placement of fussy-cuts. I truly enjoyed designing as I went.


I learned not to be so hard on myself. This I learned this from other quilters, who are the kindest people in the world. They will compliment your strong points and call your mistakes "quirks".

I was obsessed with making my points perfect - always a nice goal, but I'm not entering my quilt in a contest. When I looked closely, I noticed that several of the quilts I admired on others' blogs were not perfect - imagine that! And my free motion quilting is obviously that of a beginner. This bothered me terribly at first, and I ripped out many swirls. I finally let it go, relaxed, and my quilting, although still not perfect, is improved.

I learned to "Let the quilt tell you"- this is something I kept reading and hearing about when deciding on a pattern for completing the quilt, and I hope to cultivate this habit for future quilts. This time around, my quilting was chosen for its ease of execution, although I did try to enhance the blocks.


I learned the value of choosing the appropriate thread for quilting. I thought just any old thread would do and chose an off-white color to quilt. I learned quickly that off-white was way too pronounced on the red of the sashing; something more subtle would have looked much better. (And disguised my beginner quilting.)


I learned to relax and enjoy the solitude of quilting. Almost meditative, each phase of quilting was enjoyable for me, especially when I had the window open next to my sewing machine and could appreciate birds chirping, distant traffic sounds, and halcyon days with white puffy clouds and blue skies. (The wine was helpful too!)


I learned that sewing knowledge does not a quilter make. I've sewn since I was in 7th grade, and I assumed that quilting would be a snap for me. It wasn't. There were parts of making a quilt that came easier for me because I sew, but quilting is a complex art that will take just as much time as I devoted to perfecting my sewing skills.
Quilt Back

I learned that even though I may not be a great at free motion quilting, I am good at piecing and binding. I love piecing; it gives me a chance to appreciate each block, cherish the fabric, and find joy in composition and symmetry.

Before I made and sewed the binding, I watched some tutorials on binding and finally followed Amanda Jean's clear and easy to follow instructions on crazy mom quilts. Once I started hand-stitching the binding on the back of the quilt, I fell into a rhythm and did my best work, using my skill at making the stitches invisible.


The gift box was purchased at Joann fabric store and is a perfect container for this Christmas quilt.





Choosing a name for the quilt was fun, and I finally decided on "Tweet Noel".



25 comments:

  1. I am SO (or should I say, "sew"?) impressed! This is just beautiful, and such a great learning experience for you. Seeing what you've done I think I'm more intimidated than ever.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pattie, you are so kind. Thank you for your encouragement.
    Yes you can use a pun. ;)
    I don't think you are intimidated by anything!

    ReplyDelete
  3. How blessed Jenni is to be the recipient of your first effort. It is gorgeous and something that she will treasure always.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your quilt is so beautiful and I think you did great on your quilting. I bet your daughter loved it and will treasure it forever.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cookin'mama - your words are SO sweet and kind, just like you are, always.

    Tricia, thank you for visiting, and thank you for the encouragement!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is amazing! Yay on your first quilt finish! I'm sure your daughter will treasure this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Audrey, she was very surprised and happy!

      Delete
  7. Congratulations on finishing your first quilt! You have learned so much along the way. I'm sure there will be many more to come. I love the idea of storing your Christmas quilt in a Christmas box. It will be like opening up a much loved present every year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. joanold, I really appreciate the encouragement. I purchased the box before I started the quilt, and maybe it inspired me a little bit. ;)

      Delete
  8. Your quilt is beautiful. Your daughter will treasure it I'm sure. Quilting is a neverending learning experience. So many new ideas all the time. Congrats on your first of many quilts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bstaley, thank you for your compliments and thank you for visiting!

      Delete
  9. Well done! I love your quilt, your fearlessness, and all the special little touches -- the box, the hand sewn binding, the embroidered label. Nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny, you make my head swell - "fealessness" makes me feel great! :) Thank you.

      Delete
  10. Your quilt turned out great!

    I only started quilting about 4 years ago and still consider myself a beginning quilter even though I've been sewing since I was about 9 or 10. My latest quilt has it's fair share of those "quirks" you mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. supermom, thank you so much! Your words mean a lot to me, and I'm glad to know about your quirks - that made me laugh. :)

      Delete
  11. I had to chuckle while reading this! I taught myself to quilt about 4-5 years ago and my first quilt sure did not look a beautiful as your first! Mine was and still is downright ugly! I like the quilts with the "quirks"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Jeni B! Thanks for sharing your experience with me - makes me feel good. :)

      Delete
  12. Absolutely great quilt! Amazing, that it is a FIRST!
    I also feel bad sometimes about small flaws during the quilt making. Sometimes I even put away projects because I get frustrated about something. But miraculously at the end, when things get finished I usually do not notice those annoying bits any more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. szkornelia, thank you for your words of encouragement. It is so helpful to me to read about experienced quilters and their challenges!

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. Trish, thank you! Love your pun. ;)

      Delete
  14. Lovely quilt and a beautiful story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, thank you for visiting and for the compliment. Good luck with your new blog!

      Delete
  15. How lovely! An amazing first! I'm sure your daughter was pleased as punch to receive her special gift from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Shauna! She seemed very pleased. :)

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
BLOG DESIGN BY: SHERBET BLOSSOM DESIGNS