How should I begin? Maybe by confessing to my limited knowledge of sewing and using a sewing machine. Or by admitting that up until a few months ago, I had zero clue on how quilts were made, and zero curiosity to find out.
I’m happy to say that these are no longer the case--somewhat.
I was rocketed into the world of quilting overnight when I began my work at AGF earlier this year. My first day was a literary and visual potpourri of all things quilting and sewing. The first task was to go through a wall of magazines and books on the subjects. By the end of day one I was seeing a blur of blocks, and felt drunk with a new, seemingly overwhelming vocabulary of terms like batting, basting, piecing,--on and on and on. “What have I gotten myself into?”
Fast forward some six months into my new venture in this industry and I am sitting in on a meeting at Quilt Market--a quilting magazine editor and I are discussing whether one of our upcoming quilts should be made using on-point or horizontal blocks.
Crazy how that works. And even crazier, but totally expected and overdue: I am working on finishing my first quilt!
On a Pinterest hunt one day, I stumbled on a graphic design pattern that instantly caught my eye. I went back to it day after day and finally decided, “I’m going to have to make this into a quilt.” By this point I knew the basic foundations of quilt making, but that’s not to say I wasn’t completely lost and hadn’t a clue where to begin. Luckily for me, I work alongside a talented group of designers and seamstresses that were all too eager to come to my rescue. I got a crash course on quilt math, rotary cutting, and piecing.
Picking out my colors were fairly simple. I’m a modern girl with an instinctual appreciation for graphic arts. I knew the effect I wanted the colors to have on my quilt and I knew I wanted to use our amazing Pures.
(pe-438 coral reef, pe-415 parisian blue, pe-447 patina green, pe-425 mauvelous, pe-436 creme de la creme)
The design I chose was beginner friendly, as my blocks consist of basic strips 2” wide by 2-10” long. Cutting I found to be utterly unexciting and tedious at first and as a result there are areas on my quilt that fell short due to (among other reasons) my inaccuracy on the cutting mat. I’ll live and learn.
My first block was a total mess and I only realized that it was a total mess by the time I arrived at my 8th or so block and noticed I was squaring off less and saw a clear difference in the cleanliness and precision of my seams. It took me that long to finally get into an effective groove of feeding perfectly aligned pieces through the foot of my sewing machine with a consistent 1/4" allowance.
(i had quite a few misalignment issues and here is clear evidence of a do-over)
(I wasn't kidding when I said my sewing skills were limited. An all too scant allowance left this hole on the first block)
My verdict after finishing my first ever quilt top? Well, first—thank goodness for seam rippers, and second, I need to hurry up and finish this quilt so I can start my next. I’ve already got another design ready to go and nearly added the image here but decided to keep it under wraps for now ;). My favorite part of this experience so far? Watching my quilt grow from strips, to blocks, to quilt. It’s most rewarding. When I finished my first block I stopped to stare and marvel at it, feeling super smitten with myself. Least favorite part? I think that may be coming up.
There’s still loads I’ve got to learn about quilt making. My experience is pint-sized compared to most of the people I work with in my industry, but we’ve all started out just the same and mistakes are nothing more than parts of the process.
If you'd like to share any of your tips with me, or the origins of your first quilt, or reprimand me for such careless mistakes, I'd love to hear it all on the comments below!
I’ll be back soon with a finished quilt to show you. Promise.