Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This Quilt is where it all started

We all need to make at least one quilt, to consider ourselves a quilter. Well for me this was that quilt! Not bad for a first quilt.

This quilt was quite an ambitious project for a first quilt. It looks great (well at least I think so)in this picture, but I am going to share some of the mistakes (or as I now call them design choices) I had to make in completing this project along with the story behind the beginning of my quilting journey.

First of all understand that when I made this quilt all I knew about quilting was you were supposed to sew squares together, layer it then top stitch the layers. Even though I had been sewing for years prior to discovering quilting I did not know much about this process or how much was really involved. After all how hard could it be to sew a few simple squares together after making clothing or Halloween costumes. Which before quilting that was what I worked on along with a few craft projects now and then.

Inspiration from television

My interest in quilting started after stumbling onto a cable channel where I saw a show on making quilts. Most of you should know the show I am taking about and the genius behind it. The show I am referring to is Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson. Alex has also written many books, and now has her own website "The Quilt Show" with Ricky Tims (he has his own site too which you can check out here). These sites are both worth looking at. (Alex and Ricky I hope you enjoy the free advertising. {{smile}} and maybe someday you can do the same for me! Wouldn't that be great to get some endorsement from them on Quilting Weekly. Ahh to dream is wonderful.

I think the episode I was watching was on crazy quilting. With crazy quilting you don't even need a pattern, all you need is scraps of fabric. Well as a sewer I had scraps of fabric and this did not look hard at all. So I sat down and looked through my scraps and tried it out. (Much to my disappointment, I did not like the results) It was too random and scrappy for my taste. I don't even think I got past the first square before I decided I needed more structure. But where to begin? After all all, the books I had at that time were on garment sewing, nothing for quilt inspiration there. So off I went to the fabric store. {{grinn}} Even then the fabric store was like a candy store to me.

What I found at the fabric store

I soon discovered a new section in the store, one dedicated to quilters! What an exciting discovery it was. Now I had been in this store for years, but never noticed all the books, tools, and gadgets that were just for quilters. Needless to say, I started looking at the books for my instructions, and inspirations. Well as you can imagine I lost hours in that store. (Good thing my husband doesn't keep close track of my where abouts during the day). He would have never understood how I could loose hours looking at all the books, and quilting toys. I soon realized I needed to start at the beginning. I needed a book that could take me all the way from fabric squares to bindings.

This book is still a book I use today. It is one that I recommend any new quilter purchase. This book is the how to of how to books. It covers everything from tools to fabric, to bindings. There are sections from beginner to advanced techniques, from hand quilting to machine quilting. I like to call this the "A to Z" quilting book. It is "The Complete Guide to Quilting" by Better Homes and Gardens. It comes in a paperback and a hard cover version. If you can afford the hard cover it will be well worth the extra dollars. The hard cover version has nice spiral binding, so the pages lay flat.

After purchasing this book, and reading the first section I soon realized that I needed a few basic tools as well. Rotary cutters rulers and a mat would make cutting my squares much easier. (here is an article on these tools if you are not familiar with them) After purchasing my book and my tools I was drawn to the fabrics. {{grinn}} yes the wonderful fabrics...................

The next part of this story will take you though the fabric selections and cutting of the squares. So come back again if you want to hear the rest of the story.

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