Look back to the beginning

I’m working on something that I think is going to be a lot of fun for everyone, so I’m going to hold back until it’s finished and not show pictures as it goes.  Something fun and fast and masculine.

Anyway, I thought this was a good time to look back at my beginning machine quilting, just to show how all this got started.

This is the first thing I ever quilted.  I’ve claimed other things were my first, but that’s because I made this before I even knew it was quilting.  A lady named Roleen brought one to the office, I guess to show hers off.  I can’t really remember.  This was probably 20 years ago.  Anyway, I loved it and she shared the pattern, which I drew on a piece of brown paper sack…and still have.


It was a quilt as you go.  I cut the muslin back in the diamond shape and layered on a piece of thick poly batting.  Next came the center diamond.  And, then I added the strips of very early 90’s holiday poly/cotton fabrics in log cabin style.  Today, I’d call it a disaster, but for it’s day, it was da’ bomb to me.  It’s about 4 feet across and it makes the perfect tree skirt.  If you look real close, you’ll see that when I ran out of seam binding, I went and bought more, but wasn’t smart enough to take the original piece and ended up with a maroon instead of a red.  Didn’t stop me.  I just kept going.  Anyway, it’s been under the tree every year since the year it was made.

The second thing I machine quilted was this little 9 patch. 


It was another quilt as you go.


Make the block, layer it with batting and backing and quilt it.  Then, use strips to join the blocks in a method that Leah Day has made popular again and I’m seeing mentioned more and more often.  Again, this would be a disaster today.  It is the only piece I machine quilted on my old Singer that I don’t have anymore.  I struggled to quilt this because I didn’t have a walking foot and the top fabric kept shifting.

My mentor asked me one day if I “lost control of the machine” and gradually, as I used it in a sitting, it just wouldn’t do what I wanted anymore.  She explained that’s because it was belt driven on the inside and that belt would get hot and stretch and the machine just couldn’t do what I wanted it to do until that belt cooled.  It was like she was there.  That exactly described my experience with that machine.  That and it rocked and swayed and was loud as a tornado, even though it wasn’t very old.    Course, I didn’t have the good sense to oil it or take it in once a year for a checkup or do the maintenance for myself.  In all the years I had it, I only had it serviced once.  Yikes!

Live and learn. 

Anyway, my mentor sold me her mother’s Bernina 930 and that’s what I do all my quilting on now.  I don’t piece on it because it’s all set to machine quilt.  It’s great to have that machine, just waiting for quilting, without having to adjust anything to do it.

When I got the Bernina, the first thing I quilted was this hot pad.


This was a leftover block from a maple leaf quilt I had pieced and was thinking of hand quilting.  Instead, I machine quilted it…

What a mess.  Gradually, I’m unquilting it and going to do it again because it’s a very cute quilt top.  But the quilting is truly disastrous. 

So, from tiny seeds are mighty oaks grown.

Okay, so that’s it for me today.  Just another Tuesday.  Work, eat, play, sleep, work, eat, play sleep…

“Every 15 minutes, it’s breakfast.”  Anybody remember who said that?

Be well and have a great Tuesday.  Lane


Auntie Em said...

Interesting trip down memory lane. We all had to start somewhere, right? You've come such a long way with your maching quilting. It's beautiful.

Andi's English Attic said...

Oh dear - your messes look like my best. :)

Kath said...

How very interesting to see your early projects. I'd love to know how you get started sewing.
I learned at school, but boys were not allowed to do the "girls" subjects, so he got started when he bought his first flat and borrowed my old hand cranked Singer, to make blinds.

Peter Lappin said...

Very inspiring, Lane. As someone who has never quilted anything, I can't even imagine making the Xmas tree skirt!

Maureen said...

When you pass 50, every 15 minutes it’s breakfast!

— Singer-actress Kitty Carlisle’s mother about the way time flies.

So there's the source, at least according to several internet sites. So, enjoy this "breakfast", especially if we are fated to repeat it indefinitely!

Rebecca Grace said...

Hmmm... I can see you were already experimenting with value placement by that 2nd piece, the 9-patch. And I love your Christmas tree skirt!