My first Quilt , or as I refer to it …I lost my sewjo.

Hey y’all ! How have you been since we last gathered on the porch, for a chat? Things have been a rush around here, not that I mind. This is your friend Jamie again, coming to you from my couch this week . I’ve spent the majority of my week camped there with the stomach flu. Hoping to isolate it at me. Because that’s how my brain works , one spot to sanitize , and no one can get near me. Anyone else do that ?

So this week , I thought I’d share with y’all my first quilt , and how I ended up there. As I mentioned before I grew up sleeping under old worn quilts. In the mountains, our granny’s and mamaw’s don’t waste nothing. Especially when I was growing up , as mine where children in the depression, and they both lived though the rationing of WWII. So if they had something, chances are they had it many years later as well. I can remember laying under those old quilts , sometimes so worn they had holes in ‘em and they just added extra weight to keep the cold out. I love those memories, and would give anything to sit at one of those ladies table right now and ask her questions.

Anyway about two years ago, after I’d been sewing non-stop since March of 2019. I hit a wall , I had absolutely no desire to sew anything. I’d call my sister, Samantha ( I don’t actually call her that, but for y’all I will), we would talk about what I was going to make , I’d watch YouTube channels devoted to sewing …annnnd nothing. I was just stumped on how to motivate myself. Now y’all remember me telling y’all about that Crazy Quilt my mamaw had ? Well that’s where it comes in, in this story at least . I was going through my photos one night around Halloween, and I found a picture of me as a child . I was laying in the bed sleeping at my Granny’s house, her dog Precious in the bed beside me , under an old wore quilt. Which made me start thinking about all those quilts I used to lay under.

This is me and precious , yes I cropped the bed head out. You’re welcome !
This is me , and my beloved Granny I speak about so much ! Look at all that quilted goodness around us !

Then I remembered that Crazy Quilt, I had loved so much from my Mamaw. And you have to understand, my Mamaw passed away when I was only 10. And now 35 years later , I still remember every detail about that long lost quilt. I remembered the velvets , and the golden embroidery thread , the emerald green , and the wine colored patches. I even talked to Mom about it , and my Aunt. Which gave me a new plan , I was gonna learn to quilt! A brilliant plan isn’t it ? I thought so, I also thought it was going to be a snap. So I immediately jumped on Amazon and ordered a stack of Art Gallery fat quarters ! And I was going to make my daughter a quilt for Christmas! Then I decided, I was going to make my son one as well ! I was a bit overly confident in myself there. I watched a couple of YouTube videos , mostly Melanie Ham. And without a thought or a concern I just bought all the fabric, and batting for these two quilts. Then I got stumped, because I had no idea where to start. I bought a pattern off Etsy. And when I was reading the directions I remember just being lost …HST’s, WOF , what did these things mean and how on earth did I accomplish that? Then how did I sew all those tiny pieces into a perfect 9 inch square?Y’all to say I was lost is an understatement. But then I had this amazing idea …I’ll make my own pattern. I’ll just make strips all the same length, and I’ll do them in 5 strip blocks ! Then I’ll do them in a row of three until I’ve used them all. Which guess what y’all …there’s a pattern for that I’m certain. But at that point , I thought it was mine. So I got to work , cutting and piecing these quilt tops ! And when I was finished, my daughters was fantastic! It matched well and had plenty of contrast and coordination. Thank you to that fat quarter bundle which is by Maureen Cracknell, Mystical Land . My sons looked like a hot mess , straight from the express itself ! This was like a week before Christmas also. So I knew I couldn’t start from scratch and get them done on time. So I packed them away for about a year , until again I lost my sewjo again.

Usually when I do that I work on my unfinished things , hoping for a spark. So when I went to my box …all that sat in there was those two quilts. One beautiful, and one horrible mess. So I decided to scrap my sons , and finish my daughters. So I did , I sat down and got to work. Now y’all remember how I said, I was a just go- for it sewist. While that usually works in garments, it doesn’t in quilts I found out. It’s still completely possible, just having some minor knowledge upfront is beneficial from an absolute beginner’s aspect. And here is what I learned from that very first quilt ! Firstly , I’m a firm believer you can make a beautiful quilt from scraps , from $2 clearance fabric , even old sheets. I will never believe you have to have the expensive fabrics while they are breathtaking! I think fiber content is more important! I bought some fabric for the backing that was supposed to be 100% cotton , but it stretched out so much and caused so many puckers in the back. I now believe it was poly cotton .Also it’s piled so bad against my daughters fleece blanket. So that lesson was a big one for me.

Look at that beautiful sharp corner and spaced stitches ! 🫣
Here is that puckering, and piles I was mentioning !

Next, don’t be afraid of making your own binding. On that first quilt, I used that prepackaged binding at the store ….y’all don’t. It’s not worth it. If ever there was a time to use that sound “Girl, don’t do it, it’s not worth it!” its definitely here. I was mad as an old wet hen , in less than five minutes. It’s stiff and uncomfortable to work with . It don’t wash up well or soften , and I could’ve bought a whole yard of Kona cotton for what I paid for the headache of using that stuff, cause I hate making bias tape. Well guess what … it doesn’t have to be on the bias !!! I should say in most cases, I’m sure in scalloped edged quilts it would be beneficial. Now let’s talk about thread , y’all this one threw me for a loop. You’ll be told to use Cotton , and you can . They suggest 40 or 50wt for quilting. But I’m going to tell you , it’s ok if you use polyester. We can talk about how they determine thread weight, if y’all want. It is a little interesting. But also an easy google away. And lastly can quilt a quilt on any sewing machine. I did this one on my Singer Heavy Duty , that I’ll link here . But I will say if you are buying a machine just for quilting , I suggest getting one with a larger throat. I love this one for garments though !!! And I have made a few quilts on it, but it does get a bit complicated to maneuver at times !

All that aside, y’all I love this quilt. And the sense of accomplishment I got from finishing it. The mistakes make it no less gorgeous, and cozy to snuggle up under. I guess the biggest lesson in quilting is this. Quilting can be complicated, and messy, you learn lessons by just doing. And if you want those perfect corners , and matching points . That will come with time. We don’t always have to be perfect. And when we’re sewing the same is true. Who cares if the lines get a bit catawampus ? The lesson you’ll learn from finishing the quilt will be well worth that internal drive for perfection. It’s exhausting, overwhelming, and impossible! Having high standards, isn’t the same as it being perfect. Just give yourself a chance to meet your high standards, don’t just focus on perfection. You’ll love those quilts and their quirks much more , than you would just focusing on the flaws. And y’all stick around …once I work up the courage, we’re going to make that Crazy Quilt I keep talking about !

My first , and finished quilt !

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