In honor of National Quilting Day, I have decided to write about my first quilt. I have never posted it online…simply because it was made waaaay before there was online. I started it summer 1973 – I know because I remember working on it during the down time at my summer job at Jones Beach. I had found a Sunbonnet Sue quilt in our basement and used it to make a pattern. I must have purchased the background fabric, but all of the hats and dresses were from scraps that we had. To this day I can tell you what the fabric for each doll (for some reason I think of them as dolls) had originally been used for…there are lots of skirts, dresses, robes and curtains in there…even a stuffed animal!
I appliqued each doll with embroidery thread in blanket stitch. Now that I look back at it, I think that I did a pretty good job on that part.
The doll fabrics have faded a lot and I found it interesting how some fabrics faded more than others. You can see the original fabric color when you lift up the little hand. For example, in the late 60s I made a stuffed dog out of this hounds-tooth fabric, which was originally black and white. No more!
In contrast, this brown print was from a skirt that my mom had before I was born and that fabric has barely faded.
The sashing and backing still have their color, probably because they are cotton/poly. I worked on this off and on through college and the top was probably pieced in grad school. Looking at the back, my pattern matching is not perfect, but not too shabby either!
Next up was hand quilting. These were the days when machine quilting was either unheard of, or frowned upon. This probably has fluffy poly batting inside, making it hard to hand quilt. How did I learn to hand quilt? Who knows! Without the internet or youtube, I probably just went for it. I did not know any other quilters, so there was no one to teach me, but also no one to tell me that I was wrong. I just quilted in and out of the dresses, hats and shoes, but not in the sashing which I probably should have done.
The entire quilt was finished and bound by the early 80s. Bias binding – I am impressed with myself! It was on the guest bed in each of our homes, and those rooms have each been very sunny, hence the fading.
It has been fun going back and thinking about this quilt. It has also made me think about all of the other quilts that I have made and the skills that I have developed and the friends that I have made along the way. It has been a wonderful journey…and it is still going on as I learn with each new project.
How about you? What is the story of your first quilt?