Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When Bonnie was talking about first quilts a while ago, this is the one I wanted to show but I couldn't find it at the time. We've always called it a Postage Stamp, even though the squares are 2" finished . It's the first quilt I made entirely by myself, without Keryn's help. I think there was a photo in a magazine somewhere, but it's lost in the mists of time. I can't remember when I started it, but most of the piecing was done after I'd had my second son Rob in 1984. Rather than go to bed for a few hours I used to stay up until his 2 o'clock feed and I spent the time building this top. I didn't know how best to construct it so I sewed groups of six or eight squares together, starting in one corner and just kept adding fabrics.
Every night I had to lay it out on the floor and decide the fabric for the next rows and then I'd spend some happy hours hand piecing them together. The boys were asleep in bed and the little woodstove we had made everything toasty and I kept a kettle simmering on it ready for cups of coffee. Sometimes I took a break and fell asleep on the floor in front of the fire, because it was tiring looking after two little boys, but I managed to get a lot done every night. Some of the fabrics in this are still favourites which I'd love to have back in my stash, and others were just whatever was available at the time.
There are two or three polyester fabrics I can see in this photo, and the small cream border was very thin and flimsy but I loved the print. What I wouldn't give for metres and metres of that blue border which had an almost chintzy feel to it, and came on a roll as dressmaking material.

It was one of the first times I'd bought fabric just for patchwork without even a pretence at making clothes first, and I felt quite daring cutting it up. Our Mum disapproved quite strongly of cutting up 'good' fabric for quilts, when we could make ourselves a nice skirt or a dress with it.
Keryn had left to go to agricultural college and so she wasn't around to help me baste it and I can remember putting this into my quilting frame when a friend came round for coffee. She held the clamps and did what I told her, but she thought I was absolutely demented and couldn't understand the idea of quilting at all

The backing was a brushed twill that I bought at Kmart for 50 cents a metre and I got three backing lengths in different colourways. I couldn't go past a bargain back then either! There are still scraps of this floating around in the stash somewhere.
It's done very simply, just 1/8" away from the seams and the borders haven't got any quilting at all, apart from along the seams. The border on the front was left extra wide, and then folded over to make a border on the back, caught down with not very neat stitches. I am quite surprised at how untidy some of the handsewing is, but it's held up well and I did improve over the years.

I gave it a good soak and wash when we discovered it at the bottom of a pile of quilts at the hall, and while I was at it I decided to wash my 4-4 Time that was featured in Australian Homespun last year. Pippi had been snoozing on it and it was a bit grubby, but washed up fine. I love the look of quilts on the clothesline, the natural light and the backdrop of trees make the colours stand out. I might dig out some other quilts I haven't shown and put them on the line too....


Leeanne January 25, 2012  

I really love your 4-4 Time quilt! please what Volume Homespun magazine was it?
Our quilts get mucky from our cats, they all love our raggy one the best.

Jan January 25, 2012  

Most of us would be quite pleased if our first quilts were so nice!

Karen January 26, 2012  

I enjoyed reading the story about your Postage Stamp quilt. You have come a long way in your quilting since that time.

Mariella January 31, 2012  

This quilt is a real stunner!! I love the humble 4 patch and the especially when then render the lovely diagonal design!

And your first quilt is very lovely as well! I wish my first quilt was in as good of shape as yours

Jenni January 31, 2012  

Your first quilt has held up well from the 80s; there wouldn't have been much quilting fabric available in Australia then.
Loving your Autumn ticker.

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