25 years ago this fall I took my very first quilting class. I had moved to a brand new town and barely knew a soul. I was homesick and missing my old job. On a whim I decided to sign up for an adult education class at the local high school hoping that maybe I'd make a friend or two. Who knew that I'd walk away changed so very much? Eventually I made friends beyond my expectations and I gained an obsession that has never, ever waned.
So let's celebrate by looking back. Over the next few months I'll treat you to some of my early creations. Lucky you! Here's proof that both the fabric industry & I have come a very long way!
I ended up taking two sessions of the quilting class. We learned only hand sewing techniques which was fine by me because back in those days I was literally afraid of my sewing machine. In the first class we made 3 simple little projects. Here are the two that still survive today. I cannot find the little 9-patch red & white table topper.
I still use that Christmas wreath every year. It was the very first thing I ever quilted. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you'll see how large my quilting stitches are. I agonized over that piece, and shed a little blood, too! Next to the wreath is a pillow which was the result of learning how to piece patches together. That pillow has gotten a fair bit of use over the years although lately it's been put away in a closet.
That first class ended just before Christmas and so my mother took me to a quilt shop and offered to buy me some fabric for Christmas. I picked out six fabrics that would go into my first full-sized quilt--a sampler big enough to cover a twin mattress. So, any of you out there old enough to remember the 80s? Country blue anyone? Blue & pink calico? It was all the rage back then.
Here's what I ended up with. I warned you.
And here are some close-ups. More really big stitches. But I love this quilt. It's very warm and cozy because I used flannel for the backing. Pretty stupid considering how hard that made it to hand quilt, but the end result was worth it. And I learned a full range of techniques: applique, piecing, curved piecing, quilting designs, and full size construction.