Friday, April 26, 2013

How did I get myself into this?!

Lauren (my wonderful  17 yo daughter) asked me the other day what got me started quilting. I just started 4 months ago and to be honest, I'm not really sure how it happened. Maybe it was the Vera Bradley goodies she wanted for Christmas. I didn't know much about Vera Bradley, wasn't even so sure I liked it (ok, I didn't like it) and then I went into their store - wow! So. Much. Color. It was overwhelming and fun and I bought her stuff and me stuff and thought - ooh, I love pretty, quilted fabric! Now I keep my quilting accessories organized in a huge Vera Bradley tote bag and matching shower caddy.

At about the same time, I was piling all of my husband's Crown Royal bags (you know, those purple felt bags with the yellow logo from the whiskey bottles) and I was trying to figure out what the heck to do with all of them. He had several in all different sizes. We joked that I should make him a shirt. I'm not sure who suggested a quilt, but that's what I'm making. The pattern I had in mind and the one he chose could not be further apart. I was thinking a nice mix of squares. He picked a pattern with flying geese - lots and lots of triangles. Oh goodie!

I had a week off of work and no plans. I decided to make a practice quilt. I searched the web for instructions. I watched lots of videos  and quilting seemed easy (thank you Jenny Doan!) I bought cheap fabric at Joann's and I made a quilt with squares. Did I mention that I'd never really sewn before? (I'm pretty sure the horrible shirt I made in 7th grade HomeEc and a few "good enough" alterations don't count).

As simple as those squares were, that first quilt was not great! At all! I made a LOT of mistakes. In fact, I ended up appliqueing my initials and a butterfly over some corners that weren't at all willing to match up. I learned so much though and most importantly I had fun! And I wanted to do it again. So I ordered a pattern and a jelly roll (thank you Missouri Star Quilt Company!) and started making my second quilt. With stars. Lots. Of. Stars. (I was waaay to green to even know that's not a quilt for beginners or that Jenny just makes quilting "look" easy on her videos). And since I didn't have a 1/4" foot and hadn't learned any tricks on how to sew a straight seam and didn't know about a scant 1/4", most of my points did not match up. But I didn't care because I was learning and having fun and playing with pretty, pretty colors! (p.s. I haven't quilted that top yet, but someday I will! Probably when I'm ready to try free motion quilting.)

My husband looked at that top and worried for his precious purple bags. Too funny! Permission granted to make more practice quilts - hehe. I bought an adorable, fun charm pack and made a baby quilt that turned out pretty darn good if I do say so myself. And husband must have thought so too because he gave it to one of his employees for her baby shower. That quilt was made following the Disappearing 9 Patch video (thank you Jenny Doan!)

Then I went into a local quilt shop and asked the sweet lady for advice on how to quilt. She asked me what kind of quilting I wanted to do. Um... what?

I didn't know how to answer her so I petted some pretty fabric and high-tailed it out of there. More research on the internet. 'Cuz apparently that's how I'm going to figure all this out.

I thought I'd try English Paper Piecing and ordered the bulk pack from Paper Pieces - 3/4" hexagons, 1500 of the little suckers. Yup - I'm all in! I'm making a bed runner in a diamond pattern using batiks. Love it! Love batiks! Now I buy batik fat quarters everywhere I go. I was instantly addicted to batiks. How is everyone not just rolling around in batiks?!

I tried some applique - printed out a flower shape I found somewhere on the internet and made a giant coaster. It's cute but I didn't like the way my machine blanket stitching turned out. I'll have to try some different techniques. I've seen some REALLY cute applique patterns but so far have resisted. Lots of other types of quilting to try out.

I've made a table runner, round placemats, a giant hot pad, a normal sized coaster and have started two other quilts. One with hand appliqued circles (that might sit for a bit) and a Disappearing 4 Patch in beachy colors for my guest room bed. And I started the Crown Royal quilt. My mother just asked how many projects I have going. Oops, busted - too many!

I tried foundation paper piecing (did you see the kayaks in my blog header?!) That was a blast and I will surely do more!

Tomorrow I go pick up the new sewing machine I bought on a whim (thank you Mom for finding me a great deal! And thank you husband for pretending not to hear the price!) I'm so excited I can't stand it! This machine is sa-weeet! It does embroidery. And stippling! Huh?! Maybe I won't need to learn how to free motion quilt any time soon.

So now I'll be blogging the rest of my adventures so I can look back one day and laugh at all my crazy mistakes lessons as I figure out "what kind of quilting I want to do". I'm thinking the answer is "all kinds!" so it will be interesting to see where this goes.


  1. Welcome to quilting! May you make many quilts and many quilty friends ... and I am sure you will ... happy quilting ... :) Pat

  2. How exciting! I wish you a happy journey. I visited earlier and left a comment on your most recent post. Your blog title is very similar to one I visit occasionally and when I saw your lovely work, I just assumed you were her. When I scrolled through your archived posts to see what else you'd been up to in my absence, I realized you were not her, you were you! And a new quilter! Bravo! You certainly are off to a grand start. I look forward to returning periodically and seeing your accomplishments as you learn, grow, and discover. Welcome to The World Of Quilting! I love your header picture. I tried to find the pattern for the kayaks, but apparently it is no longer available. I paddle. Obviously you do, too?