Anyway, I knew that this was my first hand quilted quilt, but I had no recollection of just when I made it (my quilt labeling has been sporadic at best), so today I got lost in a previous life, reading through those old diaries. It turns out that in the early 1980s, I was heavily into counted cross stitch, and although I was making baby quilts, there wasn't as much quilting going on as I thought. Maybe it was because I could pick up the little cross stitch projects and work on them here and there instead of hauling out my sewing stuff. But after diligent reading (and finding out that I sure vented a lot about lack of sleep) I found the start date for this quilt: November 6, 1981. I started the quilting on November 19 and ended on January 25, 1982, adding tabs for hanging on January 27. I do remember that I wanted to do a simple design so that I could really concentrate on practicing the quilting.
The quilt is about 30 inches square. I used stencils for the quilted feather circle, irises and cable in the inner border. I used either a chalk pencil or a white lead pencil to mark the quilt lines, and in some light they still show up on the rust colored fabric. According to my notes in my diary, I used a leather thimble. Haven't used one of those in years! The batting is polyester and the quilting thread is cotton, off-white in the muslin areas and rust colored on the green and rust fabrics. The binding is the backing turned over to the front. I did my first miters on this quilt, and I'm pretty proud of how they turned out. I must have been in a hurry when I made the hanging tabs because they are sewn with white thread.
This quilt was the perfect size and design to practice hand quilting. I used a 14 1/2 inch hoop that I still use today. The hardware on it has worn out but I hold it together with rubber bands. I've tried other hoops since then, but they don't have the wonderful patina that it has from years of holding it in my hands. I learned to hand quilt from a book called Fine Hand Quilting by Diana Leone. (I still have it.) At some point, I also took a one-day workshop with Pepper Cory where I learned to quilt with found objects for making designs, but I don't remember when that was.
I must have really caught the quilting bug that January long ago, because the day after I finished my first quilt, I started quilting a large double wedding ring top that a relative of my sister-in-law had made from a kit. Wow! Ignorance about what quilting the size of that project would be like was probably a good thing. That same week I started making a Block-of-the Month quilt project from a 1982 calendar. How to I know? My wonderful
And you know what else? I still have this quilt hanging in my upstairs hallway each fall. The green has faded a bit (but evenly) over time, but I still like it--if only as a reminder how long I have loved quilting.
I'm linking up with Jenn at A Quarter Inch from the Edge for Throwback Thursday. The button is to the right. I hope you're having fun going down Memory Lane with your quilting this week, too.