Thursday, July 23, 2015

In the Beginning

This week at my Quilt Therapy meeting
the show and tell was all about 
"In the Beginning".
What was our first quilt and 
it's story.

I'm afraid I don't have my first quilt anymore.
It found it's way to quilt heaven a couple of years ago.

I called it Hit or Miss.
2" x 3" rectangles sewn together
and tied with yarn and a red sheet for the backing plus
double batting because quilts were suppose to be fluffy!

So for the meeting I brought my second quilt.
I was an expert by 1975,
or so I thought.
I had discovered applique.

33" x 48"
Hand Appliqued and Hand Quilted.

A pattern in this book was my inspiration.
It was a small gridded pattern that you 
needed to draw to the size you wanted.

Can you tell which fabrics are cottons
and which fabrics are polyesters?

Why, the polys are the ones as bright as the day
I stitched them.

This is a turkey if you are having trouble.
The cottons have faded, the solid polys are bright,
the DMC floss for the buttonhole stitching 
is still the same color and, if
I could show you a close up of my applique stitches,
you would see them as clear as day.
Mostly because the thread
 is the same original matching bright color...
polyester thread.

But that's all part of the learning curve especially,
when there were no classes,
 no internet,
no good instruction books,
 no quilt guilds,
no quilting buddies,
no quilt shops, 
just a black and white photo.
 a kangaroo

This alligator had some bleeding issues.
 I'm not sure if it was the fabric or the DMC floss.
I don't remember washing this quilt, so I'm
not sure if some color has just wicked out.

I did quilt the heck out of it.
My first hand quilting, 
a half inch grid in the background
 and a zigzag pattern in the border and sashing. 

The good news is that the quality of our cottons 
have improved over the past 40 years.
The grey goods are better
and the dyes are a lot more permanent.

This quilt has never been in direct sunlight, yet
here's what's happened over time.

I used the same fabric on both the front and
the back of this quilt.
Incredible, huh!
Look how the fading has even crept 
around into the edges of the backing.

I guess no matter when we're
 bitten by the quilting bug, our first
few quilts can tell quite a story.
It's just part of our history.

Until Next Time-


  1. Always amazing to see our first quilts and compare them to what we're currently making. I wonder how today's dyes will look after 30 or 40 years! What a fun little applique quilt. The fading just adds to the charm! We had the same issue with my first applique quilt that hung on a wall out of direct sunlight for many years. It was the greens that faded badly on that one.

  2. We all start somewhere. I too have a couple of quilts that have faded so much you can't even tell what the original color was supposed to be! Your turkey made me chuckle!

  3. I always loved snuggling up in your first quilt :) It still holds so many memories for us!

  4. There was a sheet involved in my first quilt too. I love your animals and am glad you kept the quilt. Great memories.

  5. Love it! I can't believe that you hand quilted this in that wee small grid on your second quilt!! WOW! No wonder you are an amazing quilter! Like a duck to water! Thanks for the history lesson!

  6. Such a cute quilt! I love that turkey!

  7. Great idea to look back at our first quilts. I may have to go do some digging in the linen closet.

  8. Your first quilt sounds almost exactly like mine--maybe they are together in quilt heaven--lol! I have a couple of 70's quilts that have faded for no reason at all--I'm pretty sure the fabrics were flat folds from Ben Franklin, so that may have something to do with it. All that hand quilting you did is amazing!!

  9. Shocking to see how much the quilt has faded even being kept out of direct sunlight! It's always a fascinating trip down memory lane to look at our very first quilts.:)

  10. Great story! I still have my first quilt, but I must admit that it is used for things that would make quilters cringe!

  11. A fabulous job on your first quilt! Love those critters and the quilting!

  12. Wonderful story and definitely a quilt to make you smile! We live and we learn but this is a treasure :)

  13. I laughed at the name of your first quilt lol. It looks so lovely and colourful. You're second quilt is fun too, I love the folk designs of the animals, and your hand quilting is impressive!! It's fascinating to see how the fabrics have faded. Though the colour the blue has faded to still looks really good and really suits it.

  14. So fun to see your early work Kyle! Things really have changed over the last 40 years, huh?
    My first was made of solid rainbow colors - a courthouse steps Log cabin variation. I tore the strips to make it faster. Hand quilted. And thrown in the garbage many years ago! LOL!

  15. Your hand quilting still looks lovely! I'd have never guessed kangaroo and alligator - lol. It's a wonderful, whimsical quilt - it makes me smile :0) Aren't you glad you don't have to sew with polyester anymore!

  16. "In the beginning" you were a terrific handquilter!! I can remember how limited fabric choices were when I started in 1982. And we were told a quilt must have a main fabric, accent fabric and the background / The Big Three! Look what we have now. Your critters are very cute and are timeless! My first quilt serves as an extra cover in our RV if the nights are cold while on the road. And yes, it does have some polyester along with cotton:-)

  17. Amazing to look back on our quilting journeys, isn't it?

  18. what a super fun tour of your early applique quilt. You were original from the start!!
    that fading is so interesting!