4.3 Happy Quiltiversary!

February 11, 2010

No it’s not one year since I’ve started a blog and podcast, but it is one year since I’ve started quilting.  So it’s my first quiltversary. (better word?  anyone?)

I know I put (some of) my quilting journey in the Quilting Gallery post, but I failed to go into a blow-by-blow account of my quilting work.  Here’s my past year as a quilter.  (yes, another long picture post, but this one is more personal)

The actual “date” I became a quilter I don’t actually know. I received my sewing machine in the mail in late January of 2009 from “winning it for making a good suggestion” at work.  What better way to start sewing than to get a free machine?


I bought my first quilt book a year in advance, but I don’t count that time because I never sewed anything quilty in that year, let alone reading the book to find out about quilting. 

For a while I was afraid quilting was going to be a hobby that just went nowhere like a few other hobbies I’ve tried.  The sewing machine was the catalyst I needed to start the quilt reaction in me. (chemistry pun intended :))

As I’ve said multiple times before the quilting podcasts were the encouragement I needed to continue on in this hobby, and I suppose without them, the sewing machine would still stand unused.

One weekend in February (of 2009) I read the book through and picked a pattern I liked.  I started searching on google images for quilts and started really enjoying what I was seeing.

One early morning I headed to Walmart and found some fabrics and bought some cheap poly fill batting.  It was exciting to match the colors in the store when no one else was around to bug or distract me.  I even bought a red fabric that I thought would work well with the pattern even though it called for 2 blues. 

The next week I went to Michaels for a cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler.  I chose the smallest size and it still is the only ruler, mat, and rotary cutter that I use. I helped to minimize the costs with a gift card I received several months earlier.

The next weekend, I cut out two variations of the quilt block, one with the red and one with the darker blue. 


 I took pictures of the first two variations of my block to figure out if the red would actually work the way I thought it would.  The date on the block pictures is Feb 22nd. 

By March 4th I had the nine quilt blocks finished but not sewn together.  By March 8th I put the borders on.  First quilt top finished! 

Then I noticed my local small town had a quilt shop!  Yay!  I found some fabric for my 2nd quilt top.  I paired this gorgeous (if you could see the fabric better, you would agree) red fabric with some cheap walmart fabric.

I completed the piecing on the second top with a short amount of time.  In eight days I had it cut and sewed it all together. 

I started the second quilt top with all red and white nine patches and kept thinking “why do I see Purina Dog Chow everywhere?” 

I added some white, made some four patch blocks, moved everything around and around on the quilt without any aid of any design.  I also decided the color and style of the borders. 

I still think the borders need something on the outside, but I don’t know what. 

This is the quilt top that I want to do red and black japanese fans appliqued on the top, and after I complete that task I may have more insight on the borders here.

My third quilt never made it past the planning and practice piecing stages. 

It was a card trick and I had so much fun picking out the fabrics.  See all the tone-on-tones here too? 

I drew my design for a bright card trick, but the more I played with colors and fabrics, the more I went with the fall colors.  I didn’t expect to have a block with those colors, but they just worked. 

Right now that’s probably my ‘oldest UFO’ that I planned for and bought fabric for and haven’t done anything with after making the practice block. 

My fourth quilt is my black and white (and purple) modified log cabin quilt. 

This one took many forms while I was thinking about placement. 

I drew several pictures in a sketchbook, and I was going to place these pieces side-by-side until I placed all the completed blocks on my bed in a modified on point setting.

After deciding to go modified on point I had to measure and draw and calculate pieces I was going to do by drawing in my sketchbook.  Just putting the blocks together with the six on point set in blocks took a while.

I am very satisfied by the background color even though its more purple than I originally intended.  This is the “on point outside triangle quilt” that I talked about earlier. 

I would never have attemped this block had it not been for the Better Homes and Garden book showing me step by step how to do “Y-seams” (inset seams). 

Once I figured out how to do y-seams, knowing I had to use inset seams to join the four blocks together was less scary.   I did a lot of twisting on my quilt, which was not hard, just twisty.  


I completed the first block of this black and white log cabin in April of last year.  I still have to fix and sew on my borders.  This one I want to put in the local quilt show of 2011 so I want this quilt looking good. 

I am working on cleaning my living room floor to get the space to line up the borders on the “offset” on point trapezoids.   Or I need to borrow the tables in my quilt shop to finish. 

Furthering my quilting formal education, in April I took a machine quilting class, and then June I marked and basted my first quilt to the backing.

Forcing the quilt under the tiny machine was a little very challenging, but worth it.  This was quilted in the month of July a little bit at a time.

I almost forgotten about my back basting applique class I also took in July.  Probably because I didn’t like my points as much with needleturn as with freezer paper (which I learned later).  Can’t find my finished block today, but here is a work in progress picture.

Then you all heard about my first applique that I did in August, so no more details here.  I was glad that I was off work for one week during that time, which helped me find time to finish. 

I want to learn to hand quilt this top!

Since September I have been working very slowly on my ‘sunflower/daisy quilt.”  The original pattern had two flowers on it.  This is the original pattern.

I traced the pattern and scanned into my computer and resized some of them and drew them out on freezer paper.

I was inspired to make a flower pot for this pattern and so I drafted two flower pots.  I found some lined fabric that gave me like 5 different looks with different cuts on it.

In about 2 weeks I had all the freezer paper on the fabric and glued the edges down for each petal and leaf.  

And now I am spending several months sewing it down because I sew down only one petal a day at work.  I figure if I rush this then I need to go out and buy some other applique to do at work.  Here is progress early February. 

You all know that lately I’ve done binding on my first quilt, and how now I am working on my first machine quilting experiment.  I have made a few more blocks for that experiment, and gotten a few more prepped for sewing.

I also completed my embroidery quilt top wall hanging this fall while the daisy quilt was sitting in baggies.  I loved learning the different stitches and being creative with emboidery here.

Somewhere in this post I should mention a pincushion (that looks pretty but the fabric doesn’t like my pins all that well), a patchwork apron (that is mondo huge and has no color value contrast – I think that’s why I don’t like it), and name tag (which is buried in my purse somewhere). 

Other projects I worked on that are not mine specificially: the star quilt for the one woman in our guild (no one took pictures during that sewing day), the two blocks of the prom quilt made with the guild, and three blocks of the next opportunity quilt (below is a picture of two blocks I completed at home).

So was my quiltversary the year earlier when I bought the quilting book?  Was it when I received the sewing machine?  Was it the weekend I bought the fabric, or the day I bought the rotary cutter, or the day I sewed the first block together?  

That, my friends was my first quilting year.  My quilt production really went down when I started the blog and podcast. 

Maybe if I would give up the blog and microphone I would pick up the needle more often?  Some days I feel like this may be a good solution, but then my creative side would not come out to all of you, just my coworkers and family.

Other reasons excuses for not producing more stuff (quilts) this year: 

  1. This house is tiny and the sewing machine is loud in comparison to the other house noises. (working on the computer is the quietest activity I do now – don’t forget we’re vampires here)  
  2. The space heater is closer to the computer than the sewing machine and I hate being cold. 
  3. I ran out of Monk episodes to watch and sew with.  Bob and Tom is also a good sewing television show because it’s actually a radio program.  Need to build up more in the DVR.
  4. I listened to too many podcasts on my way to and from work, and grocery shopping, and washing dishes …
  5. Occasionally I need to actually wash dishes, shop for groceries and cook too.  I don’t have a fancy dishwasher (or any dishwasher) or food processor, so if I “actually cook” it’s a mess. 

Luckily I have another sewing day with other ladies set up soon.  As I have found endlessly throughout my life there is nothing like a deadline and getting out of the house to work on projects.

As much as I WANT to buy more projects and already have like 4-8 patterns ready to start and 3 more of my own designs, I also NEED to focus on doing what I am currently working on and getting things done. 

I haven’t bought new fabrics and have been stingy on taking classes and buying notions lately, not for any reason other than saving money & sanity, just working on projects already in place. 

There were at least 3 classes I wanted to sign up for that I have conveniently forgotten the dates of so I cannot feel guilty for not taking the classes. 

As soon as I pick up the class list again I will look at it with some regret.  I know I’m missing out but ignorance has always been my best defense against rampant shopping.  

However there is this one notion I need to special order because it is not carried in either quilt shops I have visited in the past two months.

Looking back through the pictures, I feel pleased to have done so much already, but I know there is so much more to do still.  I just hope that my 2nd year of quilting I actually make more stuff than the first one.  We’ll see in another year!

Happy Quiltversary everyone, whenever yours is.


  1. WOW, what a fabulous first year of quilting you have had. You should be very proud. You’ve accomplished so much. Congrats!

    • Thank you Michele, coming from you that means a lot. I think it helped to put it all down on one post to see what I’ve done. Oh and if I ever posted your name with two letter “L”s I apologize. I just noticed I think I spelled it wrong before.

  2. That is actually a really productive year! I haven’t done any this year.. but I did have a baby, so I guess I did “make” something! 😀

    Keep up the good work. I love the purple black white modified on point quilt. That is fabulous!

    • LabMom that is much more ‘producitve’ than I have been! 😉 I love that quilt more and more too. I have an idea for the quilting even though I don’t have the borders done yet. Thanks.

  3. Wow, you’ve done a lot in just one year! And I can’t believe you quilted them with that little machine. It’s hard enough with a regular size machine. It would be great to take for classes though – nice and light.
    Keep the podcasts and the blog posts coming. I really enjoy them.

    • Thanks Colleen. The only quilt I’ve done on the machine is about 40 inches square, and yes the middle was really challenging. The machine is really nice and light and I do not have a lot of trouble taking it places. I tend to apologize for it a lot because its so much lower quality than everyone elses. But the one lady said – we all had to start somewhere, and that made me feel less anxious about it. Thanks for the encouragement Colleen. It means a lot and actually one point this week I really needed that.

  4. Wow, Darla, you are a quiltin’ girl!! You just jumped in with both feet and look at your creative sketches. Again, wow! Your sense of color is really nice–that first red would have been too bold for me to try in my first several years of quilting, and it is beautiful with the other colors in that quilt. And as for your machine: it does the job, and that’s what it’s all about, period. Keep those blogs and podcasts coming–I really enjoy your perspective (you made me go looking for that magazine w/the DNA article, and I am glad I did–several really good articles & photos). jill from Big Tent 🙂

    • Jill good for you for getting that magazine. I went a little crazy with my description of my magazine search in the podcast, but it was a nice story. I am glad you got something out of it. My machine is good enough for me at this point, but doesn’t match the berninas and long arms that others have around me. Others say they started out small too. Thanks for continuing to comment and be a good blog & big tent friend!

  5. Darla,

    That was a wonderful post! I love how you’ve documented your first year. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. How wonderful to have won that sewing machine! You can pick whichever one of those days that you want to be your quiltversary. I started quilting to stop smoking so I count my last day of smoking as my quiltversary. Don’t you just love it though? I don’t know how I lived before I started quilting. It satisfies my soul…LOL!

  6. […] out my Quiltversary post, and my adding audio to podcast […]

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