Tag Archives: beginnings

Flashback Friday: My First Quilt

My friend Jenn at A Quarter Inch from the Edge recently began a Throwback Thursday link-up where she encourages quilt-bloggers to share oldies but goodies–quilts from before their blogging days. Since I usually post my Color Inspiration posts on Thursdays, I have yet to participate. Plus, I think I only made two quilts, one wall hanging, and one table runner before beginning to blog, so you haven’t missed all that much! Since I’ve been sick (unfortunately Lyme tests came back positive, so I’m now on antibiotic treatment for that, hoping that my joint swelling and pain and extreme energy-level fluctuations will taper off and that we caught it early enough to avoid any long term Lyme crazies), I’ve been laying low without much sewing or inspiration to share. Since I missed Thursday anyway, I figure today is as good a day as any to dig through my photo archives for some pictures of the first quilt I ever made: my Rainy Days Picnic Quilt.

Rainy Days Picnic quilt first quilt

At the end of July, 2010, I purchased my first fabric bundle, Rainy Days and Mondays by Melimba and Beccabury for Riley Blake Designs, from FabricFly Shop on Etsy. With 15 fat quarters, and zero knowledge about quilting, I planned on making a quilt the only way I knew how: cut squares and sew them together. In my mind, this fabric was perfectly ironic for a picnic quilt: if there were rain and umbrellas all over our picnic quilt, then it would never rain on our picnics. Perfectly logical, right?

rainy days picnic quiltA picnic quilt was the perfect starting point, since it helped the stress level go WAY down. It was my first time ever making a quilt, but because it was slated to be a picnic quilt, with the knowledge that we would flop it down on the ground and spill food all over it, surely change diapers on it, drip lake water and watermelon juice all over it, smear avocado into it, and all of the other love-filled-things that happen on picnics, I was much less worried about imperfections. And boy, has it seen its share of babies and picnics!

Picnic quilt in use
Clockwise from top left: Picnic quilt in use at a playground, the beach, our front porch, and our back yard.
canoe island picnic
Lunch on an island in the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust. We had a family canoeing day trip here in 2014, and of course the picnic quilt came, too!

At around 60″x60″, I remember thinking how HUGE it would be–perfect for picnics! Now that I really quilt, and now that I see the quilt laid out and finished, I realize that a picnic quilt for a family of 5 really should be at least 84″x84″ or even larger. For now, it is wonderful.

I don’t remember exactly when I finished this quilt, but it was definitely well into 2011 or even 2012. I remember quilting it on our kitchen table while my husband took Maddie out for a daddy day. Boy, I thought it was huge!

Overlap binding: double fold bias tape novice methodThis quilt makes me laugh now because of how little quilting knowledge I had at the time. I actually bought double-fold bias tape, folded it over the edge and top-stitched it on. What method did I use to join the ends? Overlap and top stitch! I laugh because if I had even googled “how to bind a quilt” I could have learned how to actually bind a quilt. But honestly, I probably didn’t even know that the edging could be made with actual fabric and that it was called binding. Oh how far I’ve come in the past 3-4 years!

Despite all of these novice bits (or maybe because of them) it’s hands down our most used and loved quilt. (Although Maddie’s Rainbow Jellyroll quilt and my Doe Layers of Charm quilt are quickly becoming contenders with their permanent snuggle status on the couch).

picnic quilt
It should be noted that I broke many of my quilt photography rules in photographing this quilt today. But when I realized I didn’t have any photos that actually showed the entire quilt, I brought my little helpers outside to remedy that. Knowing the shortness of their arms and attention spans, I opted to use the most sturdy and level structure around: their new skyfort playground, in full sun. C’est la vie.

This Rainy Days Picnic quilt is special because it embodies my motto: just try it. I didn’t know how to quilt, so I did what I knew: I bought fabric, cut it into squares, moved it around until I thought it looked good, sewed it together, layered it with batting and backing, sewed straight lines corner to corner to hold the layers together (I used whatever thread was laying around and the same regular sewing machine foot I used to piece it), sewed a “binding” edge on and started using it. Everyone has to begin somewhere!

Do you remember the first quilt you ever made? I’d love to hear about it!

I’m linking up with Throwback Thursday with Jenn at A Quarter Inch from the Edge.