Thursday, 8 October 2015

TBT - My first quilt

Back before I was a quilter, I caught the bug by making a single block for a friendship quilt. I thought this was a hobby I would enjoy, but, before I jumped in with both feet I wanted to figure out if I liked *all* the steps.  So far, all I had done was piece a block  What about assembling a top, and quilting it?  So I hunted online, looking for a pattern to make.  The goal was to make this entirely from my stash, since I had a lot of cotton from making clothes for my kids.  Then, if I liked it I could consider actually spending money on quilting supplies.

I think was the point where I bought my first ruler (6x24").  I already had a rotary cutter, as I'd been introduced to those joys by a friend much earlier, and used it almost exclusively for cutting the fabric for children's clothing.

I found a block pattern I liked, and designed the colour layout - because even then I really didn't like the look of scrappy quilts.  Back then, I did all my designing on paper, in hardcover notebooks.  So I grabbed some coloured pencils and went to work.  And wanting to make this somewhat useful but easy to put away, I decided to make a quillow.  For those not familiar with the term, a quillow is quilt that folds up and tucks into a pocket to make a pillow.

Then I checked out my fabric shelves.  All the cotton fabric was bright cheery children's novelty fabric.  Not a single blender or solid in the bunch.  That was not going to work.  What I did find was a really cute corduroy with bears playing baseball.  Really cute, and a lightweight corduroy, so I didn't think I'd have too much trouble manipulating it.  Digging around some more produced more corduroy, in complementary colours, even!  So I had a pattern, fabric, and a plan.

I merrily started cutting the fabric for the squares.  After a few cuts, I decided to assemble a couple of blocks to make sure it was going to work - and to confirm the colour placement.  After the first block was assembled I made a frightening discovery.  Corduroy is directional!  OK, you probably knew that already, and so did I.  But I hadn't considered what that actually meant for assembling a quilt top out of it.  Some will tell you I never do anything the easy way, and this quilt was no exception.

I lucked out, and my first block had all the lines going in the same direction.  I had fortuitously picked a quilt block which, when cut, provided sets of pieces that all paired up perfectly to account for directionality.  I did muck up a couple of the early blocks, and the nap runs the wrong way - the cords are correct, but upside down.  You can see this in the picture.  But I was happy enough to get it mostly straight, so I decided not to stress over that.   The quilt is backed and bound with the baseball bears fabric.

The quilt is 5x8 blocks - about 60x94".  On the back is the pillow pocket.  I created a large square for that, with a slightly different colour placement.  It took several attempts to figure out how to attach the pocket  and what size to make it so that the quilt would fold up neatly inside.  Binding/finishing the edges of the pocket was the biggest challenge, along with sizing (the green border was not in the original plan).

 One major discovery I made, is that corduroy is VERY heavy  This is the heaviest quilt I've ever seen.  Also, corduroy sticks to itself - so folding this quilt into its pocket is difficult.  Not impossible, but it takes some practice and perseverance.  But it is toasty warm for sitting under, and you can tuck your feet into the pocket to keep them warm and off the floor.

As my first completed quilt, this one is special to me.  I learned a lot making this - more about what not to do than anything else.  Rule #1 - don't quilt with corduroy :)

For all its challenges, this quilt simply reinforced the idea that I wanted to quilt.  And next time, I would do it with the right type of fabrics.

Please join me for Throwback Thursday today. The rules are simple (and flexible :) ). Write a post (or revive an old one) about an old quilt or project that you have - maybe something from your pre-blogging days, or just a project you love that you want to show off again. Please include a link back to this post in yours, and when you link up make sure you are linking to your specific blog post, not just your blog address. You want to make sure people can find your post if they drop by the linkup later.

Add your link, and check out some of the other links for some inspiration. See my sidebar for a TBT button you can add to your blog.


  1. This is a great story about the difference between sewing and quilting. Some things are good to know and others have to be relearned or unlearned. Congrats on a successful corduroy quillow and the fact that you kept on quilting!

  2. I'm sure this post wasn't supposed to make me laugh but it did. There's so many little things in the quilting world that can teach us valuable lessens. You learn a bunch right off the bat!

  3. Typical beginner - not wanting to spend money, not knowing what you can't do. Glad you stuck with it because you're a great designer today.
    PS: I can't do totally scrappy, either!