Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

My First Quilt

Do you remember your first quilt? I certainly do!! It was 1985…the year that I became hooked on quilting!!!

For the last 8 years that I lived at home, I watched my Mom make quilts. She made them the old-fashioned way using hand piecing and quilting. AND, each quilt was full size and took a year to make. This was not appealing to me so I turned my creative talents to other forms of needlework, mostly needlepoint. After I left home and married, I found interest in Crewel Embroidery and Counted Cross-Stitch, however the love of quilts never left me.

When I was expecting my first child, there was a friend whose due date was only a couple of weeks ahead of mine and I decided that I wanted to make her something special….a quilt. Now at this point, I had not attended any formal quilt classes, but after all, I had watched my Mom do it and I KNEW what to do.

My first job was to decide on a pattern and I quickly found one that I had clipped from a magazine many years earlier. It was a duck wearing galoshes and holding an umbrella.

The second step was to make the applique pieces. I did this by drawing the pieces onto the fabrics and cutting them out, leaving a ½ inch allowance and then hand basting the folded edges to give the pieces a finished appearance.

I was now ready to attach the applique, but decided to do it by machine rather than by hand, so I pinned it onto the background fabric and layered the top and bottom with a thick polyester batting. I then set my machine on zig-zag and proceeded to sew happily around the applique pieces

Of course, the result on the back was disastrous as there were tucks, folds and lots of wrinkles. However, the front looked ok. I didn’t put any other quilting on the background fabric, but just left it loose……any judge would have had a heart attack.

I proudly gave the finished quilt to baby Sarah although I knew in my heart that my technique wasn’t so wonderful. However, the quality of my work was pushed to the back burner the night that I saw Sarah being brought into a friend’s home with my quilt wrapped around her to keep her warm. That simple sight brought my quilting experience into focus.

Well, 24 years have now passed and I am still quilting. Even as I win ribbons and hear people exclaim over the quality of my work, I am always drawn back to the picture in my mind of Sarah being kept warm by my very imperfect and un-professional quilt, and that is good enough for me.

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