First Time Quilter

Now that all of my Christmas gifts have been given, I can show you what I spent the last few months working on.

First up, the three quilts I made, using the Easy, Striped Baby Quilt Pattern found on page 64 of Katherine Bell's Quilting For Peace.

My first attempt, for Nino Bobo, this guy's son. I tried to freehand quilt it, and as a result, the bobbin tension on my trusty Singer got all out-of-whack. While I was putting this quilt together, my thoughts alternated between visions of myself as a city-wide quilting all star and the sharp impulse to jettison the whole project and stuff the half-made quilt in a dumpster. I persevered, and baby Bobo loves it, despite the wonky stitching and my misguided decision to attach red binding using white thread.

This quilt, for my 6-year old niece, came out much better. The secret to my success was due, in large part, to the gently-used Janome 3022 sewing machine that I bought when I picked up the Singer from the repair shop. The machine sewed like a dream. I was much less anxious, ad I think the quilt came out looking pretty good. I'm still too scared to try to freehand quilt again, so I used embroidery thread to hand-tie the layers of quilting together. Oh, most of the fabrics are from Fabric Worm. Lots from Heather Ross' Fairytale line -- I decided this would be a "story quilt" for Maclin, who loves princesses and horses.

Now I was unstoppable -- and it took just a few hours to whip up this nautical-themed quilt for my mama, who lives on the Gulf Coast. Her house is on a bayou just a mile or so from Mobile Bay, and she loves crisp colors. The reverse is ticking, which matches her living room chairs. While I was sewing it, I envisioned her using her quilt as a throw, while she reads or watches TV.

I'm happy to say that although I'm a first time quilter, I'm not a last time quilter! My next goal is to take Katherine Bell's premise to heart and make some quilts for others who are truly in need.

Quick advice for other quilting novices:

1. Wash and iron all your fabric before you begin cutting.

2. Keep the iron handy, and be sure to iron all those seams.

3. Ticking makes an almost fool-proof backing, since it's easy to keep it lined up with the other layers.

4. If you're not confident about your freehand technique, don't.

5. A crib-size quilt make a perfect throw.


kristin said...

these are all great tips andria! i'm about to launch into sewing machine lessons and i'll be sure to keep these in mind. i look forward to seeing more of your quilts...these turned out great!

Andria Lisle said...

thanks, K -- let me know if you need any help as you start. I have been a lazy sewing machine sewer with a lot of bad habits... quilting helped me get back on track!