Flashing Back to My Very First Quilt

I was catching up on my Bloglovin feed and stumbled ion this post over at Don’t Call Me Betsy. She’s had a wonderful idea, to share our older, even pre-blog quilts. And since I started way back in 1998 (or maybe even 1997), I have a LOT of pre-blog quilts. So I thought I’d jump right in!

And what better place to jump right in than my first quilt, ever?


I was a senior in college, and an Art History/History double major. I became intellectually interested in quilting after learning about its importance in women’s and African American history (and later about its role in American Indian cultures as well.) So I found a class at a local community art center, and dove in.

With no machine. That’s right, I didn’t even own one, and the entire class was done by hand. In retrospect, I think our teacher was a little bit scared of machines. I didn’t know any other way, so piecing every stitch by hand made sense to me… And there was no rotary cutting- I didn’t learn about that until later. There was template plastic and sharpies and fancy fabric scissors.

It was a class sampler style, from a book who’s title I have since forgotten. Some of the blocks have names I still remember- Ohio Star, Churn Dsh, Dresden Plate. We learned appliqué and circles and more. It was a very thorough introduction.

IMG_1191 IMG_1190 IMG_1192

After we assembled the top, again 100% by hand, we learned how to baste and hand quilt. I still have my original hand quilting hoop! But I don’t think I’ve used it since the turn of the century…

Laugh away at this next revelation: I was SO sad when I first saw batting. I thought my quilt was going to be poofy like a comforter, not basically flat. Sigh. I sucked up my disappointment when the people in the shop (somewhere in Cambridge, MA next door to a Pepperidge Farm Outlet store, and yes that was EVIL) convinced me that trying to hand quilt the puffier polyester batting would be a nightmare. Bless them.

I think I even still have some leftover bits of these fabrics stored away. Of course, since we learned how to do everything the RIGHT way, they were all pre-washed and ironed- which I rarely bother with any more.

What’s impressive, if you know me at all, is how very very ME these colors are. In fact, it still sits folded on a chair in our bedroom, because it still works in our bedroom. (Yes, you can see the fold lines in these photos, which means I should move it more!)

I still have trouble believing that my first project was a success. Trust me, there were several in line after this one that totally were not. And I promise to share at least some of those as well. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to seeing what YOU all are going to share!




Filed under Quilts, Quilty Flashback Friday

25 responses to “Flashing Back to My Very First Quilt

  1. I see your purple love goes way back 😉

  2. By hand? That’s a lot of work!

  3. Your post brought back a lot of memories. I too started out all hand piecing and quilting; And without rotary cutter. Don’t have the first quilts and don’t think I have photos any more. The color was fading so bad on many old photos that I trashed them.

    • I don’t have a lot of photos of all the early projects, myself- or if I do, they’re terrible. Since my first quilt is still mine, I was able to take new photos…

      If you do turn up any old photos, I’d love to see them!


  4. Holy wow, you hand pieced all of that?!?! I’m so impressed – hand piecing and I are so totally not friends! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up at Quilty Flashback Friday, it’s so fun to see how far we’ve all come!

    • Thanks for starting such a fun link up! It’s been fun to see what others are sharing.

      I seriously doubt I could do a project like this all by hand ever again- my skills have atrophied over the years! I love my machine and my olfa!


  5. Ann

    Wow- what an impressive first project!

  6. Holy cow this is *so* impressive. I don’t think I would have started quilting if I had been thrown in with hand piecing. I remember crying when it became obvious I was going to have to hand stitch down the binding as the last step, and it must have taken me months to finally finish my first quilt. Goodness! This is amazing, and I am excited to see and share more of our quilting histories.

    • I truly had no idea there were other ways to do it- and since I didn’t own or have access to a machine back then, it was the only option I had, anyway! Life changed months later when I got my first sewing machine, a basic but serviceable Singer.

      But today? If I had to do a whole project by hand? I’d cry!


  7. Ditto… no way I would have every started quilting if I had to do it all by hand. (I don’t even hand stitch binding anymore!) You colors are very me too. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • The final hand binding is pretty much the ONLY thing I do by hand anymore- i find the ritual of finishing a quilt that way to be very satisfying. But everything else? Olfa and Viking all the way, lol…

      Thanks for coming by!


  8. I love this! It’s especially great that it’s all hand sewn. I’ve got my first completely hand assembled quilt in progress now – I don’t expect it to be finished any time soon – but it’s a great take along project and when I get to the row assembly and quilting it will be a cuddle by the TV project!

  9. What an impressive first quilt. Hand pieced. Hand quilted. Nice work there.

  10. I love the purple batiks. I was not too impressed with batiks when I first started quilting. Now I love them! 🙂 It’s amazing that it was all handpieced as well. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I can’t believe you handquilted ALL of this. I mean, I can, but seriously. That’s intense! And it does look very much like you! Yay for first quilts! 🙂

  12. Your 1st quilt is Beautiful

  13. Pingback: Scraptastic | Diary of a Madfabriholic

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