A Look Back: First Quilts

The coming new year usually inspires forward-thinking, as we envision all we’ll stitching in 2018. But it’s also a good time to look back and remember where we came from.

So I asked Moda designers and staffers to share their first quilts. Settle in for some great quilts and even better stories.

Kate Spain

I made my first quilt using my first fabric collection, Verna, back in 2009.

I had just begun to work with Moda and heard about these things called “Jelly Rolls”…and then actually received one in the mail from Moda. In trying to figure out what to make with it, I also learned about the Moda Bake Shop and found the pattern I ended up using called Sweet Menagerie by by Roslyn Mirrington. I still have the quilt and can see beyond all its imperfections to what it really was—the beginning of something wonderful.

Kathy Schmitz

My first quilt—I made this when I was 12 using leftover fabric from the dresses my mom had sewn for me and other scraps I gathered. I sewed quite a bit of it on my grandma’s old treadle sewing machine, which I still have.

Debbie Maddy

My first quilt was made in 1982 in a sampler class at the local quilt shop in Amarillo, Texas. It is a king-size sampler, all done by hand and never quilted. It is basted and ready to quilt!

Kathy Skomp (Moda Rep)

I made this for my husband, Mark (who is also a Moda rep) around 15 years ago.

I taught myself pinwheels and designed the quilt myself (which consisted of pinwheel blocks and squares.)  I did not have a clue how to do binding, so I just sewed on a homemade ruffle.

I knew how to make ruffles because I did those in some upholstery work I had done for years. But did not know how to make it go around the corners of my quilt and lay flat. I have made many other quilts for my husband since then but he still has this one on his chair in his office.

I fell in love with Quilting, opened a quilt shop, Lavender Lime in Chattanooga, TN and now design quilts exclusively with Moda fabrics for my company, Designs by Lavender Lime. We just released a new book, Grunge Love Simply Made and have a new one coming, Merry and Modern using Grunge, Grunge Dots, and the new Grunge Seeing Stars Metallic.

Robin Pickens

My first quilt was about 16 years ago. My mother was visiting California and since she is a quilter I thought it would be fun for us to take a class together. We took a class at The Quilter’s Studio on a quilt-as-you-go stripy quilt.

In preparing for the class I had solid fabrics and I wanted to mix in some simple patterns…and I didn’t have fabrics like what was in my mind. So I took some Sharpie pens and drew some motifs on my fabric!

I guess the desire to be a textile designer was already there! It was that weekend when I was looking at the beautiful fabrics in the shop that I wondered “who gets to design fabric and how can I do that?” and I started my research into textile design and surface design.

So my desire to design fabric has been tugging at me for awhile. The photos are of me, in my blonder days, with my quilt after finishing the class. This first quilt is still awaiting it’s binding though!

Sherri McConnell

Not such a great picture…circa early 1990’s…but my very first quilt! And as a bonus, my grandmother who taught me to quilt is in the photo as is my oldest son for whom the quilt was made! (Also, the Sunbonnet Sue wall hanging in the background was made by my Grandmother.  We always
teased her about her love of Sunbonnet Sue!

I had asked my grandmother to make my son a quilt for his bed, and she said, “No, but I will teach you how to quilt so you can make him one yourself.”  We used the Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day book for the Double Irish Chain, and the rest is history (although I made about a dozen quilts from this pattern in sizes from baby to twin before graduating to different designs)!

Jane Davidson (Quilt Jane) of Frany and Jane:

My friend Rosie and I enrolled in a quilt making class at our local quilt shop in Hurstville, NSW when were were 19. We had an American tutor who taught us how to make a quilt by hand. Rosie and I ended up making queen-sized, hand-cut, hand-pieced and hand-quilted bed covers in 80’s fabrics. Mine was a 13-template design based on a seashell that I used again in the Splendid Sampler™ quilt in 2016. In a moment of sheer madness, I pulled the quilt apart so I could re-sash and quilt again. To this day it still sits in a container waiting to be finished. Started in 1983, finished ????
Carrie Nelson
First quilt! It’s a not-exactly Amish Sun & Shadows made with all solids and quilted with red thread.

BUT…back in 2009, Camille—Thimbleblossoms—had this idea about sharing our first quilts. We invited others to join in—back in the pre-Instagram world when everybody was blogging—and we were surprised when over 100 quilters shared their first quilts.  

Just for fun, here are the links to those posts –
Camille – The Quilt Parade – http://camilleroskelley.typepad.com/simplify/2009/07/the-quilt-parade.html
Carrie’s post – I love a parade… – http://www.lavieenrosie.com/2009/07/i-love-a-parade.html

Pat Sloan

Pat was part of those first quilt blog posts. You can read about her first quilt here: http://blog.patsloan.com/pats-first-first-quilt

And that’s it.  Do you remember your first quilt?  Do you still have it?

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5 comments on “A Look Back: First Quilts

  1. So fun to go back and visit your posts, Camille and Carrie, and to re-visit the blogs to see first quilts and those from 2009. Thanks again.

  2. Barbara Esposito, The Quilted B says:

    Loved seeing these! My first quilt was for my mother in law 15+ years ago. It took me hours to pick out 8 fat quarters because they had to be “coordinating” and that meant to me that they all had to be she same color…Thanks for the fun trip down memory lane!

  3. Brenda King says:

    Dear Pat Sloan- I’ve admired your work for years! I’m so excited about getting to follow you better, and see all your fun creativity! Can’t wait to hear/see more! Thanks for accepting me! : ) Brenda King

  4. Debbie says:

    I absolutely enjoyed going back through the first online quilt link up. Some beautiful quilts. And the names….have become some of the greatest designers! Oh my gosh….enjoyed Pat’s post. I made my first quilt to go to college 1975. Made of 5 inch double knit squares. That quilt has worn like iron and yes I still have it. I love quilting and have many over the years. And this year my firstborn has decided she will quilt. Made her first in one day! Thank you for great inspiration and a very happy 2018. Cant wait to see whats coming

  5. Quilts are hard to choose sometimes.

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