A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the fact that I made my first 'quilt' at the age of 22 and that I had no idea what to do at all. It was, as far as I was concerned, a simple affair. You cut up the fabric, you sewed it back together and eventually (meaning never) you sewed a back on to it (sans batting). I literally did not know that there was supposed to be a quilt sandwich or that you then actually quilted it.
My lack of knowledge (and lack of talent!) aside, I really enjoyed the act of creating it and am relieved that I still have it, although up until a couple of days ago I don't think I'd had a proper look at it for at least 10 years.
But Paisley got me really thinking about it after she remarked that she'd like to see it. So I dug it out.
The first thing that hit me was just how big the thing is. I can't actually spread it out flat anywhere in my house!
Then there's the fact that there aren't even any actual blocks and that the pieces are all different sizes and shapes. It's all completely freeform. Which is kind of cool.
This is my favourite bit. Which I can now recognise are pseudo nine patches, but I obviously didn't know anything about that at the time.
It seems absolutely crazy to me now that I just cut all the pieces freehand and measured nothing. How did I get it all to fit? Of course the lack of seam allowance will have helped with that!
Can you see that? There is totally no allowance there at all. I can't imagine how I thought it would stay together.
I just find it so strange now looking back at this and realising that I knew nothing at all. Except that I loved the fabrics and wanted them to be pieced together. Which I guess is enough.
This is my favourite of the fabrics. I think it may be from Hong Kong.
And in complete and total contrast, here is my most recent quilt.
This couldn't be more different. It's all about precision cutting and exact seams. It's completely structured. It just pretends to be freeform with the random choices of fabrics.
When I think about how different these two quilts are I find it both a relief and a little sad. It's such a relief to me that I've actually learnt how to do something properly. Believe me I have a long history of flying by the seat of my pants (there are some pieces of furniture out there that I'd recommend not sitting on!) and I now take great pleasure in the fact that I have proven to myself that I have the patience to do it properly. Although as I write this I realise that there is still so much for me to learn and that I know very litte - but at least I'm actually trying to get it right.
But I'm also a little sad that I now know the rules and often adhere to them. If I tried to make a quilt top like the first one these days, I might manage to not measure any of the fabrics, but I would want to use my rotary cutter and ruler. I think I'd have a hard time just going at it with a pair of scissors and a smile! And that's kind of a shame. And I think that's why as a rule I shy away from learning too much of the 'science' behind quilting.
I'm still much more about liking the way something looks rather than photocopying fabrics to see if their values are right. And I try not to worry too much about focus fabrics etc. And of course this could mean that I'll never be a great quilter, but that's ok because as much as I know that my first 'quilt' is all wrong I still love it. And I remember how much fun I had making it.
(bugger, I forgot it was WIP Friday. Must remember it next week!)