Hey Everyone, welcome back to Story Time Monday. Wow, the week sure went fast and I didn’t sew the Tutor Tuesday quilt together but good news is it is still on my design wall. Today I figured I would go back to the beginning and talk about my first quilt.
A New Shop in Town
We were living in Yellowknife and every time I passed by this little strip mall on my way to or from work it was just a strip mall then one day there was a new sign for a quilt shop. The shop was called Quilters Getaway and is still in Yellowknife with different owners – friends of mine own it now. I thought to myself I have always wanted to learn how to quilt and so I stopped to check it out. There were all kinds of classes to sign up for and so I signed up to make a tree skirt for the Christmas tree. I bought my fabric, my rulers, a self-healing cutting mat and a rotary cutter plus a few other odds and ends that a beginning quilter needs.
Cutting the Fabric
A couple of days before class I pulled out the instructions to see what pre-class work there was to be done. The recommendation was to have all pieces cut prior to coming to class. Now I had never used these tools before so was just kind of winging it and I don’t think I squared up one end of the fabric before I started quilting – but that didn’t matter as my cutting wasn’t very square and I kept veering away from the ruler to the right. Michael finally got tired of me wasting fabric and he took over the cutting with engineering precision – being an engineer he just seemed to be a natural at this rotary cutting much to my disgust.
The evening class went well except for the fact that I didn’t have a quarter inch foot for my sewing machine but I managed and I don’t think my quarter inch seams were anywhere near a quarter inch. The next day I went to class and as I am busily sewing along my phone vibrates. I thought I am not on call why is my phone ringing – it was Michael calling to tell me that our dog’s tail was bleeding and that I needed to take her to the vet. I said to him I am in class why can’t you take her. And the answer was:
because I am going snowmobiling
I left class, went to the vet clinic with Soda and found out that she had a cyst on her tail that would need to be removed – scheduled the surgery, took Soda back home and returned to class. I am not sure how much I was able to complete that day but I know I had homework if I wanted to get it done for Christmas.
Soda ended up having her surgery and 3 more surgeries after the first one – to make a long story short the tail ended up being amputated, there were complications and she has now been without a tail for 10 + years and going strong.
Between all the vet appointments, hydrotherapy and work I needed to get this quilt finished. I was not happy with the sewing machine I had and convinced Michael that if I was going to quilt this quilt at all I had to get a new machine with all the proper attachments – still have that machine and it has sewn millions of stitches over the years.
I believe that I might have completed the star blocks in class but then I had to put the whole thing together with these diamond shapes and they had to mitred in to fit with the square blocks. First of all the cutting of these diamonds just had my head baffled and once again Michael had to cut my diamonds – they were at a certain degree using one of those diagonal lines on the ruler and so on – it was a good thing I lived with an engineer otherwise the pieces would still be sitting in a drawer.
The top is now completed, the backing and batting have been cut to size and the three layers are ready to be quilted.
A Great Idea – Maybe Not So Great
Being a complete neubie at this I thought oh I would like it to have a hand quilting look and my new machine had a stitch that accommodated this look. The only catch is I had to use invisible thread and back then it wasn’t what it is today. To complicate matters further I thought since this is a Christmas quilt and has nice sparkly gold in it I had best quilt it with a metallic thread.
In order to get the hand quilting look I had to put the metallic thread in the bobbin and the invisible on top and oh boy my machine didn’t like this at all – in hind sight it was probably me not doing something right, not setting the tension where it needed to be and not using the proper sewing machine needle for the metallic thread. It was a struggle but the quilt did get quilted but not in time for Christmas. I didn’t pick up either type of thread for many years.
I gave it away to my good friend Carla who didn’t have a tree skirt and who had helped me so much with Soda during the weeks of surgery, vet appointments and hydrotherapy – that was definitely a 2 person job.
Even though that quilt was a bit of a struggle to make and probably wasn’t really a beginner class I completed it and nothing has stopped me since I took that first class at pursuing my passion for quilting.
I’ve come along way since that class and still have a long way to go.