Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Spools

Barbara is working on a spool quilt and it reminded me that I should post a picture of my spool quilt. This is the only large quilt I've finished. It took eleven years! I have another 'flimsy' queen-sized top and am working on three bed-size quilts at the moment, so it won't be lonely in the universe for long.

I started this quilt the summer I was 16. I was in the middle of nowhere in Kansas for the summer with a new driver's license and no job in sight. The local kids had the few jobs there were and my high school in Massachusetts got out about a month later than the local schools. Anyway, I drove my little brother back and forth to his swimming lessons. That didn't take much time. I had done a little sewing before high school - including a baby quilt when my brother arrived on the scene, some potholders, and even a dress! My mom had recently taken a quilting class - a new method for making Drunkard's Path (I have the blocks and the tool now, since I have a better finishing track record!) - and I must have gotten some sort of Little House on the Prairie image in my head. Somehow I convinced my parents to let me drive to all the quilt shops in the teeny-tiny no-stoplight towns around us. I wonder how many of those shops are still around. Anyway, I bought a few blue and green prints - just in 1/4 yard pieces - at each shop.

My mom must have taken two classes, because there was a copy of Quilts, Quilts, Quilts (the first edition) hanging around. I was dead set on the blue and red spool quilt pattern, even though my mom said there was something called Y-seams involved - she hadn't done them either. So, I made a queen-sized top using cardboard templates and inset seams for my first real quilt! Not sure what I was thinking. I machine pieced it on my mom's Husqvarna - mostly while watching Jay Leno on tv, as I recall. It was a small house, so I couldn't have the stuff out all day - for some reason we needed to eat on the table.

So, it went in a box. It moved to Maine. It got wrinkled and lonely. In December 2002, a friend was getting married. She knits gorgeous afghans for her friends as wedding gifts. I decided that I wasn't so attached to the spools anymore and I knew that she would appreciate such a gift! I found a long-armer in upstate NY through an American friend in Romania and had it finished in time for their first anniversary. It's living happily ever after with two baby quilts (here and here) in suburban Washington, DC.

23 comments:

Fiona said...

I think I might be getting a thing about blue quilts - this is lovely. But set-in seams, for your first bed-sized quilt, what were you thinking? (I think you must be very talented 'cos I wouldn't attempt them at all).

kirsty said...

Cor, brave start to your quilting career! Loved reading the story of how it came to be.

Anonymous said...

Great story on a lovely quilt!

Libby said...

Oh that's a great story. I particulary love the part about the Y-seam. It can't be hard if no one tells you it's hard. My first quilt project was curved pieces -- the teacher tried and tried to talk me out of it, but I NEEDED a tree skirt. I try to remember to be fearless when approaching all my projects now.

Ama said...

That is a great quuilt! I must admit I have been avoiding Y seams but your success has shamed me into trying... someday.

debraspincic said...

What a great story and as first quilts go, this is outstanding!

dot said...

Done is done. No time limit on finishing. It is a lovely quilt as are the baby quilts. Many times when we first start out we choose the hardest pattern, I don't know why.

YankeeQuilter said...

Great story. It is funny to see what folks pick out as their first pattern...we don't know enough to be intimiated. I did a king size drundkard's path!

Siobhan

Ruth said...

Great story about your first quilt. My first quilt was also a blue one - queen-sized, but I didn't attempt y-seams. Come to think of it I still haven't attempted y-seams!

Cynthia said...

very nice quilt. I like the story that goes with the quilt.

By the way, i like the border you have added to your medallion quilt. Can't wait to see the next round.

Anonymous said...

Nice quilt! I am so loving monochromatic quilts...

My hubby is so funny, "Her name doesn't sound Finnish." Should be there Monday...

Katie said...

I'm making a sampler quilt and decide each day what block to make. Your blue quilt inspired me and then I saw the orangie baby quilt and want that block. Thanks. :) What is it called?

Samantha said...

It's so easy to plunge into a complicated, template-y, y-seam quilt when you don't know what it entails! I think nay of our first quilts are like that- more ambitious than we could have ever relized at the time. Your spool quilt is gorgeous, and quite an accomplishment!

Anonymous said...

Love the stories behind the quilts!

Tazzie said...

It's just beautiful, and how lovely that you were able to give it away. I'm sure it's really treasured.
*hugs*
Tazzie
:-)

Sandra said...

I love this quilt and I'm sure your friend does too.

diva of quilts said...

What a lovely quilt and story too!
I also picked out all the tricky patterns at first, Double Wedding Ring or something. I don't even think I finished a complete block and know I never came even close to cutting all the piece out (by scissor and cereal box template!)

Now I can tell by looking, and more importantly, know whether or not a pattern I design is technically impossible or not.

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

Yes, if we don't know it is hard, it isn't hard. Good of you to give it away

Su Bee said...

Great giggle - imagining a 16 yr old driving to all these little quilt stores! Good habits are born early - LOL! I agree with everyone, it is way easier to do those hard ones before you know they're hard. My first quilt was 60 degree diamonds, who knew?

Anonymous said...

This quilt is so nice...your 1st it???? Nice Job...AT 16? Toni

carolyn said...

all three quilts are quite lovely! :)

Shelina said...

What a sweet story about your first quilt! It is amazing how brave we are when we start because we don't know what we are getting ourselves into. My first quilt was a storm at sea - all those triangles with templates were interesting! Have you made y seam quilts since then?

Kay said...

I love the story of you out in Kansas, making a quilt to pass the time. Somehow it creates an image of a happier time--no computers or all the other modern distractions. Not as old-fashioned as Little House, but still old-fashioned in comparison. And it's a pretty quilt, as are the two newer ones.