My First Quilt

The challenge – to write about my first quilt, for a contest.  Start a blog and post the story of your first quilt.

Challenge Accepted!

I’ve thought about a quilt blog, seriously I have, several times!  But, I’ve been so busy quilting!

As I sit at my kitchen table, computer on top of cutting mat, rotary cutter pushed aside (closed, of course), I think of an entire downstairs room devoted to quilting, a batting roll next to the cedar chest stuffed full of old clothes for scrap quilts and quilting materials, boxes and bins of vintage material in the garage, and my Brother PQ1500 sewing machine set up on two card tables, I struggle to find concise wording to describe my first quilt.

Two years ago, I hadn’t even sewn one stitch of a quilt or pieced one quilt block. Now, I can barely go through one day without quilting, piecing, cutting, binding, looking through a quilt book or magazine, viewing quilt tops on Ebay, or watching a quilting tutorial on YouTube.

I think about how two years ago, my life was not like this. I didn’t have boxes and bins of material in my garage, even one rotary mat let alone plural, quilter’s curved safety pins, and all the other quilter’s accoutrements.

Now, I’m actually starting that blog I thought of doing a year and a half ago. What’s next? Opening my own quilt shop?!

This is my second attempt at writing “My First Quilt” blog post, and once again, I’m getting wordy (the first attempt was 1700 words and I wasn’t finished yet!). My first quilt story, truth be told, is so complex, it could be a short story, perhaps even a novella.

The story is not just about my first quilt, though. It’s really about how I became a quilter, like my Mom and Grandma before me, yet different, too. I never learned the ways of cotton material, quilting thread, thimbles, cutting and hand piecing from them. All the little tips and tricks they knew will not be passed on to me by them. There was a time when I regretted not showing more interest in their quilting endeavors and wished I had, of course, once they were gone. Still, I make my own way, thank goodness for the library, the internet, bloggers, and the helpful quilters at local quilt shops.

I started quilting to finish some of the projects Mom had started, but did not complete, before she passed in 2008. That was all – I was going to finish her projects and be done.

As of today, two years after this process started, I still haven’t finished all of her projects, and I’ve done many projects all my own. Now, I can’t see myself not being a quilter.

As if fulfilling a legacy, I want to pass on some of what I’ve learned.

Tip #1 – Don’t overthink it.

When it comes to quilting, one could spend hours at the design wall, walking the aisles of JoAnn’s searching for the “perfect” fabric choice, browsing quilt designs and patterns, but sooner or later, one must make a choice and go with it. It will be great!

So, not overthinking (taking my own advice) – here is my first quilt story.

My daughter brought me her high school choir and theater t-shirts about December 2004. It wasn’t the typical block and sash design. I couldn’t fit all the pieces she wanted into a full size quilt after measuring and figuring. It sat in bags in my laundry room for years. Then, she got a queen sized bed and figuring the layout was much easier. Sewing it together was a breeze, with the iron-on fabric stabilizer. Being my first quilt and a heavy t-shirt quilt, I had it quilted at my local quilt shop on a long arm instead of struggling with my first free motion project on my $99 Sears Kenmore with a 6” throat. Actual start to finish – about 7 years, but after final design to quilted and bound, about one month.

Since they say a picture is worth a thousand words (that you won’t have to read, btw), here is a picture.

Ashley's t-shirt quilt

Stay tuned for the full story – which may take more than one post!

Btw, should I win the contest, I would enjoy these items:

image image image image


I’ve used words in quilts, but would like to learn more, I’d like to know more on color, thread sketching looks very interesting, and a nifty, new project is always fun. The contest is sponsored by


6 thoughts on “My First Quilt”

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