Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Learning to Quilt

I love to create and construct my own quilt designs.  This takes time and does not always go smoothly. I have shown a few of my quilts and won some awards, but I am not prolific as my quilts are complex and take a lot of time to design and put together.

I started sewing when I was a very young child by doing embroidery and then branching out to making doll clothes.  I would sit on my bed for hours stitching together my own designs.  Some worked and others didn't.  What a great introduction to sewing!  Eventually, I made my own clothes and then those of my children.  By the time the empty nest was looming one of my daughters began to quilt and teach others to do the same in China.  Longing for something to sew, I followed her example with a small, simple, Dresden Plate quilt using the English Paper Piecing technique.  It was done all by hand while I watched my grandson at his swimming lessons.  That was a little more than 20 years ago.  Below are a couple of quilts I made as I progressed.  It is important to start with the basics before tackling the more advanced designs and techniques.

"Crossings" is a simple quilt, but I had fun arranging the shading and cutting up a border print.  It incorporates basic, square blocks, made from triangles and thus required manipulating bias.  There are borders to line up, some paper piecing in the sashing, and fussy cutting.  The idea of redesigning fabric by fussy cutting has always appealed to me.

This Christmasy quilt is called "Shining Stars" because it was made during the Christmas season and incorporates some brocade and shiny satin.  My daughter and I were holed up in a hotel room for 2 1/2 months while she was attended by Mayo doctors to repair a badly injured leg.  With one sewing machine we were each able to make a quilt.  It elicits wonderful memories of our special activities together during a hard time.  This was my first attempt at stars, but by then I was able to manage the sewing.  I had more trouble with machine quilting because I didn't know what I was doing, and my thread kept breaking.  I crocheted four little round designs to cover up places where I didn't like the way the seams looked.  Sometimes you just do what it takes to make it look good!

That is enough for today.  I will share some more of my quilts in the next post.

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