Friday, October 10, 2014

My first quilt - a guinea pig for my hand quilting. Part 1

My quilting hobby started when I quit my computer career over 20 years ago to become a mother.  In 1991, our young family moved into our first home.  Soon I decided to make a tablecloth for our bare dining table.  I had seen quilts on magazine covers and fell in love with them.  I thought a nine patch quilt table top would be perfect for me.  I started sewing nine patch blocks but they looked terrible.  My blocks turned out uneven; no two blocks were the same size.  Having no clue of how to fix them, I put those blocks in a closet where they languished.   Two years later, we welcomed another child to our home.  My life was quickly filled with babies diapers, mommy and me classes, PTA and Booster Club meetings and church callings.  Fifteen years later I found those blocks and decided to take a quilting class in an adult education program at a local high school.  With help from a great teacher, a square ruler and a rotary cutter, I trimmed them all to the same size.  I also made some more half triangle blocks to finish the quilt top.

I decided to try hand quilting.  I saw my friend's quilt that she hand quilted and I thought, 'oh, it's so easy, she uses running stitches.'  So I did the same.  After quilting almost half of the half triangle blocks, I showed it to my teacher and she almost passed out.  'No, no, no she said, 'that's not the way to hand quilt!'  So she showed me the correct way to hold the needle and how to move it up and down.  The stitches came out more even and looked better.  I finished the other half of triangle blocks.  When it's time to do the nine patch blocks, I would try all sort of motifs on them.  Because there were a lot of seams on the nine patch blocks, I had a hard time hand quilting through them.  I started to lose interest and became very impatient with them, so I decided to machine quilt instead.  In another words, I was trying to learn machine quilt at the same time.  But then I found myself starting and stopping the machine many times within one block so I changed to a different motif design.  By this time my poor first quilt had so many weird looking quilting motifs on it.  I told myself, 'it's ok, no one will see this quilt.'

Needless to say the quilting on this quilt was terrible.  But I love this quilt still and use it every time the weather turns cold.  It's a lap quilt and it's perfect for watching TV with.  As you can tell, I changed my mind about using it as a table cloth.  I didn't want anyone to spill any thing on my hand quilted first quilt.  Are you kidding?  I spent many, many months on this quilt, so I bought an inexpensive table cloth instead. 

That was my first experience with hand quilting.  Next post, I'll tell you about my other experience with hand quilting.

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