Years ago a friend of Deb's tried to teach both of us to quilt. Actually, it went fine - and it was fun - but I never finished my project. I still have it tucked away thinking that I'll take it out one of these days and finish it. Deb did finish hers - and it's beautiful! We made table runners.
Flash forward to about two years ago. I was looking at a fabric store online and discovered a whole new world. I discovered that quilting fabrics sure have changed! The way the fabrics are blended together and packaged is just phenomenal. All of those rich, delicious, gorgeous colors - one is more beautiful than the next! I couldn't help myself and I bought a few sale items - charm packs and panels - thinking that I'd begin working on them as soon as I received them.
Yeah well ... not quite. However, over the summer I was inspired to begin one of those projects. It's small in scale - which is perfect for me since I'm really a novice quilter. A wannabe quilter I guess you could say =) Anyway, while working on this project, I made another discovery: I love it! Putting this project together has been a joy! I'm not finished yet, but I'm getting closer. I'm not in a hurry, I'm just working on it as I feel like it. And it's actually coming together! I'm hand piecing and working on it in the evenings. It's very easy to work on it while listening to the Dodger game, or while Kevin reads aloud to me (yes, we know it's not common ... but it's fun! Feel free to roll your eyes and groan ... that's what my boss did ;o) At any rate - I think I've found a new, very enjoyable hobby.
Knowing that I'm really a beginner and need lots of direction, I've been looking at instructional manuals and different patterns online. Mercy. One could spend a fortune! Sadly, I came to the conclusion that most of those things were out of my budget (there's that beer budget thing again), and passed on making a purchase. Yesterday, though, I decided that I'd stop at my favorite thrift store to see if they had any books on quilting. The often have craft books, but I'd never looked for anything on quilting before. Let me just say this: SCORE!! It's kind of a strange thing - every time I begin thinking about something and decide to go look at my thrift store, they have exactly what I need! It's really amazing. Yesterday was no exception. I found three great books on quilting - one is a book filled with 'best loved' patterns, one is a guidebook for quilters and one is a combination of the two. When I went up to pay for them, I mentioned to the clerk that they always have exactly what I need and yesterday, it was quilting books. She pointed out another quilting book that had been in a different section, and was an even more comprehensive guide than the first. COOL BEANS! I bought all four books, plus a great example of a quilted potholder (it's a craft project I'm going to suggest to our WOFA group), and a booklet on learning how to crochet - all for $16.00!! When I got home, I checked out the books; the comprehensive manual is a Better Homes and Gardens bookthat originally sold for $40.00 - I got it for $6.00. The other three books were a similar bargain - one sold originally for $39.99 and I paid $3.00 for it; the other two had each been $29.99 and I paid $3.00 each. I just love a bargain! I thumbed through each of the books last night and I think they will be a lifesaver for this novice quilter.
Anyway... on to the project. I bought a charm pack: and cut the 5" squares in half, and then in half again. I took each of the quarters and sewed them together - making sure the fabrics for each quarter were different. Then, I sewed the halves together doing the same thing. I ended up with 22 squares that looked like this: From there, I sewed each of the squares into a strip of 7 squares; now I'm in the process of sewing each of the three strips together. Here's where I'm at right now: As you can see, I've sewn one of the strips to the other, now I just need to sew the third strip to the other two. At that point, I'll be ready to make my 'quilt sandwich' and begin quilting the project (yes, you guessed it ... it's another table runner!). When that step is completed, I'll add my binding and the project will be finished (sounds easy, right? Huh - we'll see!)
If you've never quilted before, don't be intimidated. It's really not all that hard. You have to have some time, and lots of patience, but I really think the end results are worth it. Or, at least I think they will be ... when I'm finished! In fact, I've already got lots of other projects in mind ;o)