Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My First Quilt…Rough Start



This picture is my first quilt, Rough Start. I cannot remember where I got the pattern, so I am sorry that credit can’t be given where it is due. I love the fabric colors (purple, green and yellow) in this queen size quilt. For a beginner this was a difficult pattern, as it was all cut on the bias. I had never used a rotary cutter, and I didn’t have a clue about how to carefully iron bias pieces to avoid stretching the fabric. Somehow I did get it pieced anyway, and then came the issue of quilting her. I quilted her with a walking foot (in the ditch, sorta) on my Featherweight. I did not enjoy the quilting process at all, it was boring and much harder than I ever imagined. I had been told to roll the quilt and found that like moving a log through the 4 1/2 inch harp space. It was difficult, to say the least. One valuable lesson that I learned was that the print backing was very forgiving of my mistakes. Just so happened that the print on the back is my favorite fabric in the whole quilt. I hand quilted a grid on the green border while sitting in the hospital with my father-in-law. When I finished her, I thought I would just have to be a hand quilter because I would not ever do the rolled quilt and walking foot process again. However, I was determined to quilt—a life long goal.

While I did not know how on earth I would get it quilted, my daughter picked out the fabric and found a pattern for “Lovely Lou.” By then I had spent many hours studying about cutting, ironing and piecing quilts. I had years of sewing experience and was always quite meticulous, but had not pieced quilts other than Rough Start. I spent hours with Lou piecing, ripping, piecing, ripping, piecing…until I was pleased with the result. I actually took her completely apart twice. Then the question of quilting this king bedspread size quilt arose…

At one point I thought I would have someone long arm “Lovely Lou”, but I did not feel right about that. It would not be my work. I had never heard of Free Motion Quilting until I came upon The Free Motion Quilting Project. What a relief! Then a friend told me that FMQ was just too hard. Well, then I had to learn; a challenge had been issued, though my friend did not realize what she had done. I spent hours and hours watching videos and reading every  word on Leah Day’s website. I was amazed at her generosity in sharing all the tutorials on her website. I ordered the tools that she recommends from her Day Style Designs Quilt Shop and was thrilled with the difference they made. I practiced and practiced before I started quilting “Lovely Lou.” I especially loved her tutorial about puddling the quilt around the machine. Lou has many ugly stitches, but my daughter is happy that her quilt is the one on which I am learning.

After a week of having fun in Rhode Island with my family and now chasing little Mia (my granddaughter), it has been a while since I have been able to touch my machine. Can you say “quilting withdrawals?” Leah has engrained the “quilting habit” in my brain. I will finish Lou as soon as Mia goes home and then move on to the next quilt which will be a gift for a wonderful friend. I  have not picked out the fabric nor a pattern yet, but that will come when my efforts on “Lovely Lou” are finished.



  1. What a great story! Yes you picked out a difficult size and design for a first quilt! I started with baby quilts. I also feel the same way about sending out a quilt to be quilted. I wanted the start to finish to be my creative process. I too, hesitated on this craft for years because I didn't know how to quilt. Hand quilting didn't interest me. I thought Id need one of those quilting hoops that take up the whole room, or a long arm I'd seen in magazines I knew I could never afford. Then I found Leah about a year ago. She has sent me full throttle into quilting! If only we had the internet about 20 years ago. I have been yearning to quilt since I was a young adult. But, Leah was just a young girl back then, haha! It's crazy...our stories are about the same! Now that you have found Leah, I bet quilting will become your favorite part of quilting;)

  2. I love your color choices and the pattern. I really like the scale of the pattern and the weaving effect. Lovely!

  3. What a great first quilt. The pattern reminds me a bit of twisted ribbon but used around blocks. Leah is the best, what a honey to share with us and get us quilting. One of my first quilts was a queen and I straight lined stitched it and what a bore, I spent more time rolling, unrolling then I did stitching. Can't wait to see the progress on Lou.

  4. Thank you, Danielle, Karen and B for you comments. I actually really love this quilt, but I didn't love the process. I really wondered if quilting was going to be as much fun as I wanted it to be for me. Yep, Leah Day's website, opened up a whole new world of fun for me and apparently many, many others!