Thursday, July 29, 2010
An old favourite
This quilt is not technically my first - but one of the firsts.
I started quilting around about 1995, armed with some strip piecing technique books and a rotary cutter. I bought 'quiltish' looking fabrics (lots of black) at a local dress fabric store and quickly whipped up a mammoth 2.5m square quilt top. I tried to machine quilt it (with a thick polyester batting), abandoned that idea, and then tried to teach myself to hand quilt it (I actually unbasted the quilt and split the batting to make it thinner). That quilt is still basted in the top of the cupboard.
After that I made a cot quilt for a friend expecting her first baby (in 1996). That quilt was made with dressmaking scraps and was hand quilted without a hoop, using a thin polyester batting and buttonhole thread. I don't have a photo of that one.
A couple of years later (around 1999) I discovered quilting shops - not here in Italy, but on a trip home to Melbourne. I signed up for a hand quilting class and quickly stitched together a cushion cover with some Liberty fabrics and muslin. I drew up my own quilting pattern and traced it onto the muslin with pencil (by taping fabric and pattern onto a window).
I will never forget watching my teacher make those first quilting stitches in that muslin, and seeing those stitches make little ripples in the fabric. It was love at first sight. I learnt to stab stitch with a quilting hoop, and I loved stitching that pattern so much that I was sad to see it finished. I never finished the cushion cover but I had enough Liberty fabric left to make this little crib quilt. I bought more muslin and machine stitched this top together. The next year I went back to another quilting class and found the feather cable in a quilting book. I had to adapt the cable to make it fit into the border.
I only had just enough fabric left for the binding - that would have had to wait for yet another trip to Australia for a binding lesson. I might have to review my dates for when I finished this!
It is a really peaceful quilt. It usually hangs on the side of our cot, and I can see it from my computer desk. My second daughter doesn't love it so much, because of the birds. I loved watching my daughters sit in their cot, studying the quilt and noticing the patterns quilted into it. My elder daughter (9) still sleeps under this as an extra layer of warmth on cold nights. I have two quilts, in the quilting stage for her - she really needs something bigger!