My First Quilt…and a WINNER!

I always have a hard time giving a simple answer to the question, “when did you start quilting?”  Because, it was somewhat of a gradual process.  I learned to sew garments as a little girl, and I learned to hand quilt as a pre-teen, quilting part of a hideous cheater cloth quilt (never finished it, and I’m sure it’s in a landfill somewhere) and then, an antique bedspread that my Grandma had given me; then I STARTED piecing and quilting, as a hobby and an obsession, about eight years ago.

The bedspread Grandma gave me was a typical white, woven bedspread from the early 20th Century.  It was well used and well worn.  I guess this is what I would have to call my first quilt.  A whole-cloth quilt of sorts, quilted by hand, with a large oval hoop, by a total beginner…a teenage Doris.

Here it is spread out on a Queen size bed.  The angled corners are where there used to be notches for a four-poster bed, which were tattered and worn, so I cut them at angles.  It fits a Twin size bed perfectly now.

I quilted the details, fleur de lis, a Mariner’s Compass medallion….


Scrollwork, lattice grid borders….

I even got crazy wild and did the binding along the zig zag edge…(I suspect my Mom did most, if not all of the binding for me)!

It’s plain bleached muslin on the back:

Not too bad, stitch-wise, for a teenager, huh?!

This lived on my bed for many years, moving with me from apartment to apartment through my single girl years.  I guess now it’s a treasured heirloom. 

Thanks to all of you who visited from Amy’s blog and left comments on my posts.  The winner of the giveaway is Pokey, of pokeydotquilting. Pokey will receive a Moda Charm Pack of her choice in a zipper tool bag along with a few surprises.  So Pokey, take your pick of Giddy by Sandy Gervais, Fresh Flowers by Deb Strain, or Dilly Dally by Me & My Sister! 

Have A GREAT Tuesday, and come back tomorrow!

A Fair to Remember

I promised to post some of the cultural goodies from the Iowa State Fair, so here goes. The Cultural Building is not air-conditioned, which was fine this year because of our mild weather this week, but I am determined if I ever win the lottery, to build a big cultural building at the fair that will be climate controlled and have the space to display the quilts in full. One day…

Anyway, the artist and former museum curator in me cringes to see the lovely works of art in a humid building with the windows open, but what can you do? No lottery monies yet…

I watched this fabulous potter for a long time. She visited with folks the entire time she was throwing, often maintaining eye contact during her conversations while continuing to throw without looking at her wheel. Amazing.

And if you read Part 1 of my fair post the other day, you saw the “Butter Cow” artist at work:

Near her, on display, was the gingerbread Terrace Hill (our beautiful Governor’s Mansion). The detail and scale on this thing was surprisingly accurate and exquisite:

I wish I had gotten a better photo, but I was snapping quickly in between people passing in front of me…

The wood creations in the Fine Arts display were astounding this year. I’m glad I didn’t have to be the one to judge this!

I love the junior art exhibit, featuring all of the school aged artists, from preschool through Grade 12. There’s always some serious talent in there, and always several pieces that just make me smile. My favorite was this little guy, a ceramic gnome titled “Unperfect Murphy”:

I really wanted to take him home. After all, aren’t we all “unperfect Murphy’s”? There were a few quilts in the Fine Arts exhibit, including this one:

It is titled “In Flanders Fields”. I love poppies and I love green, so this immediately drew me in. It has beaded embellishments and is just gorgeous.

Most of the quilts are housed in the Varied Industries Building, which is air-conditioned, but not nearly large enough to display the quilts they way they should be:

Most of them are folded and hung so you can only see a 18-24″ slice of them. Taunting for a quilt lover… Here is one of the Blue Ribbon quilts, which are hung in a separate room and displayed in full. This is hand appliqued and hand quilted:

A blue ribbon table runner:

I forgot to photograph the Best In Show, but you can see it here, and buy a raffle ticket to win it. The machine quilting is by Dawn Cavanaugh and is AMAZING.

What have we here? Could it be? It is! A nearly insane quilt! With a second place ribbon on it:

It’s made of civil war reproduction fabric, not my personal taste, but a very impressive quilt! I would have loved to have seen it spread out!

This was a cool small quilt, made with batiks and very striking:

Some more beauties:

And the biggest one, I think it measured 110″ x 110″ and included old postcard photos of old Iowa train depots, with a railroad border complete with Iowa livestock along the rails. The center had train memorabilia printed on cloth such as tickets, train schedules, signs, etc. This was a tribute to the artist’s grandfather who was a railroad man. It didn’t win any ribbons, but it should have! What a labor of love:

This concludes our cultural tour of the fair…there was so much more I couldn’t include here. There is some seriously indisputable talent here in Iowa…

I made it through the first round!

My contest quilt is finally complete, I submitted it via FedEx at 6:20 p.m. on the day od the deadline, and found out less than I week later that I made it through the first round of judging! This is for the Benartex Piece, Love and Quilts contest, and it is made out of the blue colorway of Kitty Yoshida’s “City Girl” fabric line.

Naturally, I had a little help making the quilt. This is my “quilt warmer,” Maggy, taking care of things while I took a short break from hand quilting…

A detail of one of the flowers on the left side of the quilt…

Some of the bias hand applique…

The mitered borders, and hand applique…

My “flowers” at the top of the quilt…

More hexagons and flowers…

And last but not least….my quilt label on the back, complete with my new cool stamp from the Etsy shop, “Sweet Papery”…

My first batiks…

These three quilts hang above my desk at work. I made them from this book by Kumiko Sudo about ten years ago. They are the first thing I ever made with batiks, and I’ve been hooked ever since!
The first block is a morning glory, the center one is a purple coneflower. Each one has a different hand quilted background design done in DMC floss, and some embroidery. This was my first real attempt at embroidery stitches and applique.
This is the clematis block, and below is a detail of the hand quilting in this block.
And a detail of the coneflower:
I’ve done many quilt and applique projects since this one, but I’ll always be proud of this “first attempt”.