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My First Quilt – 1980

Just last week, I was invited to visit the New Mexico Quilter’s Association for their monthly meeting.  They were honoring past presidents and asked each of us to bring our President’s Quilt, our First Quilt, and our most recent quilt.  I got to thinking that, for all of us who quilt, that first quilt made such a difference in our lives, something we all share.  For, if there had never been a first, you and I would not belong to the sisterhood of quilt makers! Here’s my story!

My First Quilt - 1980

My First Quilt – 1980

Wow – 1980!  That’s 34 years ago!  It seems like yesterday.  My friends had talked me into taking a quilting class, saying I would love it.  They were right!!!  I immediately fell in love with this art form, even though, way back in the dark ages of quilting there were SO MANY RULES!  Rules like, “If is isn’t made by hand, then it really isn’t a quilt”.  Machine stitching of any sort was shunned.  I labored along with my hand needle, painstakingly stitching each block by hand.  Kay Pike was my first teacher, at a quilt shop called the Quilt Works, which is still in business today.

First Log Cabin

First Log Cabin

The shop provided kits for the class, so students didn’t have to purchase anything, not even the backing or batting.  Notice the humble fabrics of that day – small calico prints with muslin for the background.  I remember being befuddled by the Log Cabin block, wondering how I would be able to draft it into any size other than the 9″ blocks in our sampler quilts.

My First Applique - Tulip

My First Applique – Tulip

When it came to that first applique block, I was less than impressed by the technique, and determined to never ever do that again!  It went like this:

1.   We cut our templates out from thick plastic
2.   We stretched our fabric pieces over sandpaper and traced around the shape with a standard lead pencil
3.   We basted all the edges under
4.  We pinned the piece in place
5.   Finally, we got to stitch it down
6.  Then, we removed the bating stitches and we were done — with that piece only!

The curves weren’t very curvey and the points were anything but! I didn’t see much potential applique in my future.

Grandmother's Flower Garden

Grandmother’s Flower Garden

Then there was this block, Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  Let it suffice to know that I have NEVER made one of these again!

By 1984, I took another applique class where I learned the needle-turn technique, falling in love with this method!  For many years, I was known for my southwestern applique quilts.  I was hungry to learn more about my newest passion and took all the classes I could!  I dabbled, I learned, I loved!

A while back, my quilt collection was appraised for insurance values.  Imagine my surprise then the humble quilt above was valued at $1,500!  I querried the appraiser, only to be told that all first quilts are highly valued because they are irreplaceable.  In each of our lives, there can only be one first quilt.

Now, 34 years later, I remain just as passionate about quiltmaking, but my quilts are very different.  Below is my most recent quilt, finished with Kris Vierra in 2013.

Climate Change (c) 2013 by Gail Garber and Kris Vierra

Climate Change (c) 2013 by Gail Garber and Kris Vierra

I am sharing this story as part of the Quilting Daily Blog It to Win It Contest.

Blog It to Win It

 If I am fortunate enough to win, I’d select:

T1436 – Color Magnet

14QM11-EP8282 – Grouped – Digital Surface Design

T1987 – Fabric Surface Design

13QM28-EP7571 Grouped – Dynamic Fabric Art Portraits

13qm29 – EP7572 Grouped – Quilting Arts Workshop – Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork


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