Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Projects

Before July (2008), if you had told me I would be an enthusiastic quilter, I would have told you to check your medication. Cutting up perfectly fine fabric and reassembling it into big flat rectangles isn't logical. Go buy a blanket!

I had been an avid sewer for many years, but my kids are long, long past the age where Mom can sew their clothes and I was tired of sewing for myself. So I just haven't done any "real" sewing for a long time now. I was cured. Or sew I thought...

I started my new job in June, met my new colleague, Kristie, an avid quilter who persuaded me, against my better judgement, to attend a quilting "show and tell" at a local quilting store. It was fun, darn it! Sew - I had to get back to sewing! I justified it by telling myself that I would "use a few things up" that I still had - right.

There is a quilting store close to my home, which conveniently was having a fabric sale right about that time, so in the next week, I made a good start on my new "quilt fabric stash." It's like giving a reformed alcoholic one drink. ...

I didn't have all the tools yet - I am 1/4 Scottish and those genetics are extremely strong - I had to wait until they went on sale. So the first project was a pre-printed panel that I quilted with about a billion beads (no quilting tools required). Well, maybe not a full billion, but it seemed like it. It will be hung up in my new sewing room when that is completed.

Above: Pre-printed panel - beaded. I need to get a better pix.

I found some fabric that I liked with a playing card pattern - "Queen of Quilts." My Mom plays cards, so I bought some of it thinking I'd do something with it for her. In a later conversation, she mentioned (unprompted, I might add!) that she needed new covers for her bridge tables. OK - that would be a good thing to quilt. And maybe a couple of table runners to match. No pressure. It's got to be "fun." Not going to try for Christmas, but if it works out, great! I really didn't know how long it would take to do all the cutting and piecing and sewing. As it turned out, not long at all. I had them done long before Christmas, and I even stitched the binding by hand.

Above: table runners. Kristie had a pattern that I borrowed. Dad later sent this pix to show the table runners in action.

Above and below: bridge table covers - they are about 36 inches square (no pattern - no rules!).

Note that the large "light" areas are where the ladies can put their cards and be able to see them clearly - at least that's the theory. I haven't heard yet to know if it actually works. These gals are all getting into their 80s and vision isn't what it used to be at that age.

I picked up more fabric, obviously. Music notes and a music themed "light colour" because my Mom is a retired music teacher. And stars because I like the print.

New hobby, new books. I bought a basic "how to quilt book" and borrowed a stack of books from the library. I bought a couple of the library titles that show some pretty cool techniques that I wanted to try out.

You will see that I have a preference for the "non-traditional" - hence "no rules." I bought some very cool fabric in Seattle that I was itching to use in a project, but it had to be something non-traditional. I tried out a couple of the techniques from one of my new books - the "wonky" square and a wavy rectangle. The result is below.

As this is an original creation, I literally made it up as I went, I decided to name it: "Wonky Won." This "one" is for me. I'm rather partial to it so won't let it go easily.

Detail of wavy rectangles (and very cool fabric!).

Detail of wonky squares.

Next up: a project for Monique. I had purchased some yellow and blue star prints because I really like yellow and blue together. Monique is sort of "celestial" so I thought I'd do something with the stars for her. I found a block design on line and put it together. So this one is a bit more traditional. But having named one, I had to name this one, too! Monique's quilt is "Rising Star." I was thinking it would be a good name for the quilt and also a prediction of her future.

Her birthday is in January. No pressure. If it's done in time, great - if not, she'll have to get it later. It turns out this one went together pretty quickly too, and I was able to put it in with the Christmas gifts going out that way.

Detail of "Rising Star."

I've finished a quilt top for Craig, which is truly "no rules." It will be first up in one of my next posts. I'll also put up the name of the books I've found because I think they're really good. And I will confess to my "learnings." I've already learned a few "what not to do" things by doing these first few projects.

I've taken many classes on many topics in my life so not real keen on taking more at this stage. At the moment, my plan is to figure things out the hard way, by asking Kristie and Barb (another good friend and excellent quilter and who is laughing at me now because I told her years ago that I would never quilt!) a lot of questions, and just doing it. So this blog will chronicle all that. One of the first things I'll have to do is try for some better pictures!


  1. Welcome to the dark side Mary!! It is so good to have a friend with me :)

    Your first projects are beautiful, I look forward to seeing more "creative" designs.

  2. Mary,
    If you had told me a year ago, when we were working together, that I would be visiting a quilting blog I would have suggested that you take a few days off work and seek medical attention. And here I am, in Jan 2009, visiting a 'quilting blog'... and a very good one at that.
    I understand that you name your quilts. This approach, combined with the creative designs, suggests to me that these are more like works of art as opposed to quilts. Just add your signature to each original artwork and you will be set.
    Interesting work. Keep it up.