Kelly Ann, who owns the LQS (local quilt shop) just posted the other day about her first quilt and asked about other people's first quilts. I made mine somewhere between 1980 and 1982...i thought i had made it earlier, but the book (about which more a little bit later) that i used has a 1980 copyright so it can't be!
I've been interested in quilts for a long time. I remember as an undergrad in college doodling quilt designs, even though i knew nothing about how to make a quilt, although i did know how to sew...took sewing in home ec in junior high school and loved it although i wasn't thrilled with the projects we did in that class. My sister had fun in home ec, too, so we managed to talk our parents into getting us a nice soft green Singer in a cabinet...we ponied up something like $15 towards the purchase price and it was my father the engineer who helped set up the machine and figure out how to use it.
When i was a first-year grad student, the mother of my then-boyfriend found a sewing machine for me for $20 from an antiques barn in Massachusetts. It was a 1927 Singer Model 66 in a cabinet that had been painted battleship grey with a little flower decoupaged onto the drawer. A full-size, solid metal, old Singer that only did straight stitch (it didn't even do back stitching) but what a lovely stitch it did.
I made a banner for my boyfriend's rock 'n' roll band (kinda like an art quilt with embellishment and everything but not quilted) and clothing...i really wanted to make a quilt but was daunted by how huge and expensive a project it seemed. You'd have to buy ALL this material and it would take SO LONG to complete it.
And then around 1980 i picked up a book on machine quilting by Robbie and Tony Fanning. And they had in there a quilt for a busy person to make...out of bed sheets! I combined and modified two of their project ideas (a duvet cover and the busy person's quilt) into a quilt whose front was one large piece of upholstery fabric and whose back was a blue sheet, purchased, i seem to recall, from the Bradlee's out on the highway. Anyone who's serious about quilting now-a-days realizes i committed two "sins"...upholstery fabric is very heavy and sheets are very tightly woven and hard to needle through. The third sin was that i used a fairly thick batting...didn't i want the quilt to be fluffy? Mostly following directions in the book, i wrapped the sheet around to the front, forming the binding (and actually forming a border, because the upholstery fabric was a little too narrow to top a double bed).
Then i basted the whole thing (i can't remember how i did it...maybe with safety pins? as soon became evident, i didn't baste it closely enough) and carefully rolled it, using my bicycle clips to hold the roll together...and set about machine quilting it. I got one vertical line done. That was o.k. although it felt like i'd been wrestling with an alligator. I started the next vertical line and the quilting bogged down completely...i was getting this huge bow wave of unsecured fabric and batting in front of the presser foot and ripples and puckers behind it! Aaarrgh! I ripped the stitches out, tried it again...broke the needle.
So i decided i'd better tie it instead! I used black acrylic yarn, and followed the print. I tied the ties really well. And voila, a quilt! (I put it on the bed tonight to take a picture and of course Fuzzy had to come in from the other room to try it out...i believe that's the paw wash of approval he's giving there.)
It is very heavy, and quite warm, and i used it continuously for two or three years until i made a down comforter from a kit, and after that, it moved to cover the guest bed.
Now, some 25 plus years later (?!?) it mostly resides in my linen closet, but has held up well to having been used, machine washed, etc. Here's a closeup of the quilt and the book that started it all.
And here's a little video that shows why it's a good idea to tie your ties really tight!