A Place for Breathing On
And when we dream, we breathe and we feel young.
Then we feel like anything is possible.
Who doesn’t want that?
When I first started making quilts I chose to make quilts for all my favorite people (but then I already mentioned that here.) First, I needed to practice! UHG!
I was just learning about what to do and how to do it. Sure, I knew how to follow a pattern. I had made clothing, after all. I could make curtains without a pattern. TRULY!
One of the first things I did was buy quilting magazines. I bought them by the dozens. Then I went to the book store and looked for anything that looked like it was simple enough for a beginner. (back when there were book stores to go to.) I have quite a collection and I still love them.
I’m not one that ever really cared for classes. The only classes I’ve ever cared for were piano lessons and the high school choir. No, I didn’t fail or drop out of school. Just didn’t care for the other classes. I passed with decent grades and was working at a decent job before I graduated. (Same place I met my husband!)
So, obviously, I didn’t do quilting classes and I knew nothing about guilds.
Books, magazines and the internet were my thing. (To be honest, they’re still my go to) They were my ticket to learning quilting. That ticket allowed me to keep up with all the other items of our life. Such as our electrical contracting business, my parents needs, our teens, home remodel, etc.
I learned about rulers and mats, how to cut to get the right size pieces. I learned about sewing a 1/4″ seam (not 5/8″… that took a bit of adjusting). I already knew the importance of accurate seams. Making clothing has to be just right to get a right fit.
Then, I happened to see a quilt pattern online that was called Madison. Our daughters best friend had a little one named Madison. So I thought to myself, “Self, this quilt and this little girl are perfect for each other.”
That first quilt was flannel. I had no idea how crazy it could be to work with flannel. Boy, was I dumb! I had to cut fabric sooooo much to get the right size pieces. Soooo many wrong sizes! I had to go buy more fabric. And then, I realized I didn’t have enough for a binding. I bought a premade binding. I think it turned out pretty good!
Then there was the quilting. I had a Bernina 770 QE (I think that’s what it was) and it had a stitch regulator. I was sure I had it made! This was going to be so easy!
I. was. wrong.
I couldn’t get that thing to work for the life of me.
That’s sooooo funny now that I look back!
You remember about the breathing part? I wasn’t doing much of that right about then. I was frustrated!
Was I ever going to get it right?
It was back to the books! I was determined to learn free-motion quilting. And I was going to learn it right NOW!
When I’m determined – I’m very determined.
I studied many…many different methods of domestic machine quilting. I watched many…many…may different videos. And I practiced…practiced…practiced. Remember, I said I knew I wouldn’t be much of a hand quilter. This was my path and it looked bright to me!
Finally, I drew out what I wanted on the darling quilt. I had some balloons and flowers (I don’t remember it all, but this was a little girls quilt, so it had to be girly)
I remembered what I had read about stabilizing a quilt and off I went.
I didn’t really believe, at first, that I could actually fit a quilt into the throat space of this machine. I started in the middle and stitched in the ditch down the length of the quilt and out to the outside. Then I turned the quilt and did the same out toward the other outside.
I drew right on the quilt top with my purple fabric marker and started stitching.
I struggled with stitches too large and I struggled with stitches too small.
I wish I had a video of my stitching back then. That would be a hilarious show right now. But, instead, you get to use your imagination.
I was very friendly with my seam ripper. But then I had to learn how to start back up after taking stitches out.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Nothing should be that difficult.
And I still had to bury thread ends – ARGH!
Suddenly, it hit me! This wasn’t much different that playing the piano. I could the piano. I had been playing for years.
Soon I found a rhythm with the machine and my breathing. The stitches were by no means perfect and I was okay with that. I had a beat and I could dance.
I was so proud of that first quilt. I was so proud to give it away and the smile that comes from the giving.
Quilt for my mother in law
Take a look at our Build A Quilt page.
My next project was much more forgiving, although it wasn’t easy. The photo above was my first pineapple block. The centers are embroidered flowers made on my Babylock Embroidery machine (I don’t remember the model off the top). It was another challenging quilt and another well worth the effort.
I’m thankful I had the start I did. I didn’t search out a lot of tips and tricks in the beginning. Likely just as well to learn from all the mistakes that come with doing it the hard way.
How about you? How did your first quilt go? Did you have to start with the most difficult quilt pattern you could find? Or the most difficult fabric?
Please don’t forget to share!
Nearly all my quilts have a story in them. I plan to share as many as I remember with you. The ups the downs the…”whoops! What was I thinking”…moments. As I move along I hope to inspire and encourage your journey in quilts.
I love to hear stories.
Please send me your stories about your quilts or whatever your making. Where the idea started and how it moved from there. And if you want me to, I’ll show them off for you.
Most of all, let’s have fun!
Oh, and one more thing, if your into reading after other quilter’s out there and their adventures? Check out the 100 Top Quilting Blogs on Feedspot.
Quilts ‘N’ Things Addict
I admit it…I’m a quilting addict. But, if you’re here then it’s likely you are too! That also means we’re fabric addicts, and quilty tool addicts…this list goes on.
Please join me for the fun!
Stay Up on Things
Here are some of my favorite blogs…