quilting, mosaicing, painting, and other adventures in making

The Story of My first Quilt Top


I never finished my first quilt top into a quilt. I started it years ago. It was a crazy quilt, hand pieced on 12 1/2″ foundation squares, and hand embroidered. The quilt was to be my “words to live by” inspiration. Many of the squares contained pithy phrases or words to remind me of how I wanted to live my life, and what was important for me to remember and keep foremost in my thoughts. Making it was a labor of love. It took about 6 years to complete.

I loved the portability of a hand project. I took my little hand sewing and embroidering kit with my squares everywhere I could. I used 3 repeating fabric prints in each square, for continuity. I winged it for the rest, using many scraps that came to me in various ways. When I got all 30 squares done, I put them together by machine – one next to another –  I didn’t use sashing  between. I wanted that crazy quilt look. It took some time to lay it out just the way I wanted it,  to work in the many colors and motifs. When I got those sewed together, I realized I needed another row – so I started in on more squares. I loved the process of working  by hand because, for me, hand sewing and embroidery are relaxing. But – I didn’t know how to proceed  to the next obvious step. How do you quilt something so full of hand embroidery? I didn’t even know how to make a quilt sandwich at that point, or put on binding, let alone quilt something like that. Finishing has been my weakness when it comes to quilting, and it still is. I slapped on a bias binding by machine, not knowing what I was doing, and displayed the quilt top in several art shows, where it was well received.

My first quilt was a funky, vibrant, and fun work of art. I probably should have donated it to a crafts museum or something.  Once I stopped displaying it, I was unsure of how to proceed with it, so I put it away, rolled up in a dark corner – for years.  I had tried it out on the bed, to see if I even wanted to proceed with the quilt idea, and it was so busy and bright – and my home so cluttered already with art and color – it wasn’t going to work. I felt sad every time I thought of it in the corner, and my disrespect for so many years of work. Then I got a special needs rescue cat. He’s a real sweetheart, but because he was feral for so long, he doesn’t know how to retract his claws fully, and he loves to scratch. I knew that my quilt would never see the bed again. But what to do? It was too big to display on a wall in my very small and crowded apartment.

Namaste, OM, Salam, Flower Power, Be true to Self, etc_

I no longer have a picture on my computer of the full quilt – it was really something! If i upload it again, I will post a picture of the whole thing. This gives an idea of how it looked. You can click the pictures to enlarge for more detail.

I finally have a solution! I took apart the quilt, back to single squares again, and will reconfigure them to make smaller wall hangings; some singles, some put together into larger hangings. I am in that process now. I’ll keep one for my sewing corner, for inspiration. Some will go to a few family members and friends. From there, I will decide what to do with the rest.

every atom is a door

Here is a photograph of one the squares. (that’s why it looks “squared!” ha ha). I will upload more pictures of some of the hangings when I’m finished.

Addendum: I’ve been looking on the Interweave Online Store  – here are a few of their products that stand out for me. The idea of drawing with thread appeals to the painter in me, as do hand dyeing and hand painting fabrics with inks, then embellishing with beads and thread work. This stuff excites me.   


6 thoughts on “The Story of My first Quilt Top

  1. Pingback: Learning How to Quilt: Announcing Our 'First Quilt' Winner! - Quilting Daily - Blogs - Quilting Daily

  2. It’s so beautiful! I love the colors and the quotes. It makes me want to start a new project right now!

  3. Thanks so much for your kind comment! i spent some time reading your blog and i love your blog name and your writing as well as your quilts.

  4. Love your bright happy quilt! Makes me want to try crazy quilting -something I’ve been thinking about for awhile! Thank you for your nice comments on my blog, too!

  5. I have never done any crazy quilting but this inspires me! What a lovely project and it hurts me to see that you are taking it apart. But it does deserve to be seen and loved, even if in small portions.

  6. hi Beestreebuzz – love your board name, as i am a gardener who loves bees. 🙂 thank you for your comment! yes, it kind of hurt me to take it apart too, but it’s better than having it rolled up in a corner for 5 years. That hurt worse. You remind me to try to find that picture on my old computer and post it! thanks – i hope you do some crazy quilting, you will love it. it’s easy to do on a foundation square because of the portability of working that way.

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