My First Ever *Proper* Quilt

My first ever quilt was made for my son in 2009, using hand-dyed ‘Dabu’ fabrics. The pattern called “Twilight” from a BHG compilation of quilt patterns, alternated the friendship star with background `night’ blocks. It is hand quilted!

I discovered today that I have not ever shared properly the first proper quilt I have made, using the three layers of top, batting and backing. A couple of pics have been shared here and there, but this quilt deserves its very own blogpost! So it is only proper that I should amend this.

The pattern called ‘Twilight’ is by Leslie Beck at Fiber Mosaic and features in BHG’s Quilt Lovers’ Favorites Vol 4. The checkered border was added by me to increase the size.

In 2008, I re-discovered quilting when visting the US – at Barnes and Noble. I bought two books,  one of which was a Better Homes and Gardens compilation of Quilt Lovers’ Favorites. This quilt ‘Twilight’ was featured there. I chose this pattern because it was in  my son’s favourite colour, blue, and indigo prints were easily available in my city. These are mainly muslins and cambrics, a couple of handwoven fabrics. All are hand-block or mud resist-dye printed, by a method called Dabu printing.

These fabrics are all manually printed by local printers, using natural indigo by a mud-resist dyeing method called ‘Dabu printing’.

I knew nothing about chain piecing or strip-piecing and had no idea whatsoever about short cut methods for piecing.  Nine pieces to each block was a huge number for me and it took me almost two months to piece this. The blocks finished at 4.5″ and there were 124 of them to make! The checkered border was added to add width and length to the top for my six -foot plus tall son! The squares in the border are 1.5″ finished. The quilt top finishes at 67″ x 95″, if I remember correctly!

Do you know I have a tutorial for making a perfect  basic four-patch square quilt block, similar to those used here? I wish I had known this earlier!

This is the quilt top, finally ready to be quilted.

I had no idea about batting either. The polyfibre batting used here is almost an inch thick. I knew nothing about hand quilting either. What I read and saw on the net was that the stitches were supposed to be 10 to an inch! Each stitch involved, therefore, pushing the needle down three layers, and pulling the entire thread down to the other side. Then the reverse, each time adjusting the shifting, slippery layers to ensure the stitch was just 1/10″ and in place! So it took me four months to hand quilt it. I quilted different sashiko patterns on all the blue squares, except the outermost 2 rows.

The red and blue fabrics added some colour to the proceedings.

A few pictures showing details…incidentally, the pictures of the completed quilt were taken exactly 7 years ago, to the date!

Detail from Tushar's Quilt
The centre of the quilt thread-basted and being quilted.
This was tough quilting!

A couple of pics of the completed quilt!

The Twinkling Stars…
All quilted and ready to travel to America!

Okay, just one more picture!

Isn’t it pretty?

I love this quilt as does my son! What do you think of my first quilt? What was your first quilt like?


Of Roses and Octagons

I am sharing today a small quilt made by me almost 3 years ago! I had no idea then what a wealth of information was available on the net, so much of this was trial and error.

It is just about 15″ across. The roses are two pieces of muslin left over from another project which is, sadly, still a UFO ( unfinished object for the uninitiated!). The pink was fabric from an old salwar which was no longer wearable. The white and green muslins came from my stash.
I remember a lot of Maths went into calculating the length of the strips at each stage and angles at the edges. And then to make accurate 67.5 degree angles on the strips using a small protractor was going to be even tougher! I was further handicapped by the fact that I had only so much of the centre focus fabric so could not play around with the size too much.
What I finally did was to make 8 strip sets, somewhat larger than needed. I cut the octagon on flannel from a newspaper template, then marked the ‘spokes’ on the flannel. Using that as a guide, I stitched on the strip sets directly on the flannel. Wasn’t easy to ensure accurate points! But I am quite happy with the result 🙂

Once the strips were all in place, I did the hand quilting. I had had the foresight to add a layer of poly fibre under the flower panel, so I could get a trapunto look to the roses.

I had great fun quilting this – I particularly love the trellis on the white strip! By the time I reached the outermost strip, I was so exhausted that I decorated only one of the corners!

But the quilt looked unfinished, so I thought I would add the prairie points which I had seen in a quilting book! But how on earth was I going to bind it?!? And then there was the back to be taken care of too, as I did not care much for the white flannel. I solved the problem by inserting the prairie points between the quilted front and backing fabric and attaching two separate bindings – one for the front and other for the back.
All that was left now was to add a few flowers and leaves to give a three dimensional effect to the little quilt. I used a double layer of the fabric to secure the petal and leaf edges. Surprisingly, these have withstood several washings!
The quilt is much faded today, but much loved still…