My First Quilt

I had a dear friend at church who kept insisting I was a quilter.

“No!” I would disagree, thinking quilters were old women who wore glasses and didn’t have a life outside of quilting. And I was busy, taking classes in teaching English as a Foreign Language, and who had the time?

She talked me into taking one class . . .an introduction to hand piecing and hand quilting, six lessons at the local quilt shop.

I was a goner.

I have always loved fabrics, and putting fabrics together. Now, when I teach and people say “but how do you choose your colors?” I tell them the same thing the teacher told me:

“find a piece of fabric – it can be anything, even upholstery fabric – that thrills your soul. Look for photos whose colors you love, look at ads. That which you are drawn to are the colors you will want to use, because you love those colors.”

And that is just what I do. From time to time I make a quilt for someone, and they tell me what I need to use, and I might hate the colors, but I consider it an opportunity to grow a little.

The fabric I loved became the main fabric. I have never again worked with turquoise, pink and yellow, I have never made another pastel quilt, but I still love this quilt, and treasure the hours I spent working – and re-working – the blocks, hand quilting, putting on the binding – which, because I didn’t know anything, is just the back brought forward and folded over the front.

I tried to put it together in Saudi Arabia and discovered that the blocks bled right into the posts and sashes, so I had to run out to find cotton fabric and then had to make a small amount of fabric go a long way, so made this garden path setting . . .somehow, to me, it all worked.

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I started this quilt in 1997. I didn’t finish it until 1999m but there were two moves involved, one to Saudi Arabia and another to Germany, and getting a house ready to rent out and getting a son settled in law school . . . The others came more quickly.

That friend who had told me I was meant to be a quilter was right. She gave me two quilting books, no longer published, which were in the boxes of quilting books that got lost somewhere between Doha and Kuwait. Thousands of dollars worth of books, irreplacable – and my quilt journal, with records of all my projects. Thus, this online record.

My second quilt was a graduation quilt for my son, and his school colors were garnet and gold. I don’t really love working with either red or yellow, but when I put them with another color I never in a milliion years thought I would ever use – black – WOW. The quilt totally worked. I ended up loving it.

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