My first (and last?) quilt is finished

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

I got through it in the end and finished my first ever quilt, but it wasn't without plenty of errors and snarling along the way.  I started this a couple of weeks back, then got to the point of spray basting it all together, but wasn't sure how to actually ‘quilt' it. I'd already made a bit of a problem for myself because I hadn't thought in advance about what size it was going to be, and you know how one problem often compounds to make a project a disaster?

Well, I think I avoided the disaster in the end and it came out pretty good, but I'm not sure I'm ready any time soon to be doing this again.  I've had two expecting ladies ask me for a baby quilt, and this will satisfy one of them, the other will be getting something a bit different.

I was stuck at the point of actually adding the quilting stitches so I signed up for Start Free Motion Quilting. It really was excellent, and over the course of the lessons I learned enough stitches and felt confident enough at the end, that with a bit of practice, I could at least make something I wouldn't be embarrassed about handing over.

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That didn't always go smoothly and sometimes I was concentrating so hard on what was happening under my needle that I didn't notice what was happening under my fabric and several times I quilted the quilt to itself and had to undo, luckily just at the edges.  Snarl.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

I found it really difficult to move the fabric around as I wanted it and get it all in the harp of the machine, even with this little quilt.  Taking the course and practicing the stitches on test pieces was easy, but trying to move around the whole quilt smoothly to make the swirls and stitches was much harder.  That are rather more jagged bits or abrupt stops than I would have liked.  It took me the whole day and my hands, arms and shoulders were very sore by the end.

Overall, my free-motion quilting was pretty poor, but then I forgave myself.  It is my first ever time, its not being entered into a quilting show.  The expectant mum will be far too concerned about the upcoming labour to worry about the state of my quilting stitches and the new baby will just like it because it's snuggly and pretty.  It gives me a feel-good feeling inside to make something for them both and I know it will be loved and appreciated.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

Once it was all quilted, I squared it up, but nothing had really changed, everything was still good, except it had shrunk up a bit, and was more puffy and quilty so had actually lost a few inches in measurement.  That's something I hadn't thought about, but it makes perfect sense.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

There was a small piece of bright pink in my stash that just about gave me enough for the binding.  My plan had been to completely machine sew it, stitching in the ditch from the front to just catch the back.  That always makes me a bit nervous.  I was about 3/4 of the way around stitching on the binding when I realised that owls were looking up at me – I was sewing the binding on the BACK of the quilt.  Snarl again. Too late now to take it off, so I sewed the whole lot onto the back of the quilt and then hand stitched the front down.

As much as I can't be bothered with hand sewing, I think it gave a nicer finish so it was worth it.  A quick press and the quilt was finished.  Thank goodness.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

So here it is – my first, and probably last, ever quilt.  Now it's done I love it and I'm proud of what I made.

I think it's going to make a lovely baby gift.  But I really feel sad about handing it over now.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt. A jelly roll baby quilt.Have you ever sewn something for someone else and then not wanted to give it away?

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Pam @Threading My Way

Ha, ha… I bet it’s not your last quilt, Deby. I waited over 12 months till I tackled my 2nd quilt and now I’ve made 5. FMQ is not easy to do and your experiences echo my own. I’ve only ever done FMQ on two doll quilts. You began with something that is hard and requires much practise. Your quilt looks FABULOUS!!! I wouldn’t want to give it away either.

gerri nathanson-cook
gerri nathanson-cook

You are so right Pam I made my first quilt about 40 years ago, it was going to be my last quilt too. I now have a quilting machine and table to help me overcome my arthritis and I’ve lost count of the quilts I’ve made. They are like potato chips can’t do just one. But at least they aren’t fattening. lol

Lee Brinkley
Lee Brinkley

Such a beautiful baby quilt!!! And you made it start to finish!!! Job well done my friend!!! Glad you tried it!

willknitforbeer

you know, it is quite pretty and no one would ever know you had a few “issue” with it.I guarantee if you give it away they will love it. good job.

katiasafia
katiasafia

c’est vrai c’est un simple et mangifique travail

katiasafia
katiasafia

c ‘est très trèsjoli j’ai beaucoup aimer.Deby it’s beautiful quilt rigth that’s simply and amasing work

Maryall

It’s absolutely lovely, Deby, I don’t see why this should be your last one. I think it proves that, when we want something, we can do it.
And one thing I’m sorry I gave was a casserole carrier I had put a lot of work in, working with no pattern, just made-up measurements in my head. I don’t thing the lady that received it appreciated it as much as I’d wish. I still think about it, and one day I will make another, just to replace it 🙂

lizelaine

Your quilt is lovely. And you FINISHED, you inspire me. Mine missed the baby shower, missed the July 13 birth, just finished the top yesterday. I guess instead of a baby quilt, she will be a toddler. I admire you for sticking to it. Go Deby Go.

vegagladys09
vegagladys09

Debby, it’s beautiful! You did a very great job! The size and management under the machine is a problem for all. You should investigate the “Quilt As You Go” method. Gets the block and the quilting individually and then put all the blocks together to assemble the quilt. I’m participating in a project as well with the Mrs Leah Day of the Blog The Free Motion Quilting (http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com.ar/) called Building Blocks Quilt Along. It can that kind of blocks on my blog on this page: http://detodounpococonmismanos.blogspot.com.ar/p/building-blocks-quilt-along-leah-day.html. We have not yet joined them, complete some missing. I recommend you visit the blog of Ms. Day and view free tutorials Free Motion which she generously shares. Not desist! The patchwork is exciting! A big hug!

Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

Deby, your quilt looks great! I have sewn for over 40 years, and I’ve never made a quilt. I think maybe I’m saving quilting for retirement???

mary

Why in the world would you save this will be your last? You did a great job, and you’re happy with it, so why the last? Things will only improve. Great job!

Gayle
Gayle

It is a lovely quilt. I am a self-taught sewer/quilter. Most the stuff I make I feel just isn’t good and it is far from perfect, but when I show friends and family they say the item is lovely and so I give it to them. I know it will be loved and they like something made by me. When they say years later they still have the item, I feel so happy! I’m sure you will feel great four years from now when the quilt is being dragged around the house by a toddler and slept with every night.

mumsyblossom

Excellent first quilt. After a few washes any imperfections in the stitching just won’t be seen unless one looks really really hard – and no young mum has that kind of time or inclination!Thanks for sharing your journey – and the review of the craftsy class.

kitblue

If you have never seen Amish quilts, you should know that they only use solid colours, with lots of black. Their quilts are beautiful. The Amish believe that only God is perfect so they deliberately make a mistake to show that they are not in competition for the role (I doubt they express it that way!).
I have made several quilts to give away including one for a Panamanian student who billeted with me. I knew that Panama was a hot country and she might never need it but she has since told me that when she goes to Chiriqui (sp?), it gets cool enough for the quilt to be useful.
In the furthest reaches of my closet I have the only quilt that I ever attempted to hand quilt. It is still a UFO after more than 20 years! It is such an odd size (for reasons I’m not explaining) that it may never be finished. If anyone knows of a basketball player wanting a narrow quilt, please let me know (rolling my eyes in embarrassment).
Don’t give up on quilts entirely Deby; your first quilt is a work of art. Place mats, mug rugs, pot holders, table runners and wall hangings can fit easily in the harp area and are useful in their own way.

Emcee
Emcee

Baby quilts are the best to make – especially for beginners. I use baby quilts to practice my free motion on because babies and new moms never criticize the work. and, the first time they are washed – all the errors disappear! just like magic!

Good for you – finishing a work of art – because they are all works of art – and even tho you are giving it away – you have pictures of it – to put in a journal and keep forever. I never gave away my very first quit as it was 12 squares of practice free motion which I put together with sashing – it now resides on my couch in a place of honour.

I think you did a great job.

Doreen S
Doreen S

I think it is wonderful and I would want to keep it too! You should be very proud and anyone would be honored to receive it.

Karen
Karen

Your quilt is great. I have done 1 quilt did the quilting with my embroidery machine. I did FMQ a purse not as scary as a first project to do. I now have 2 more quilt top I want to give as Christmas gifts not sure yet how I want to do the quilting.

ROBIN, HUNTSVILLE TX
ROBIN, HUNTSVILLE TX

Deby, you did a beautiful job! I absolutely love it and I know it’s recipient will too. I think you did fine on the binding. I learned to put binding on “backwards” in my Charity Bee. We always do it that way and then machine stitch it down on the front so that the quilt will have no trouble being washed and treated roughly. And I do a lot of my quilts that way now too. Yes, the hand stitching to the back makes for a more professional job, but it won’t last like machine stitching. I used to try to machine stitch from the back, but it never looked good on the front. You did WAY better FMQ than I do now! Congratulations!

ROBIN, HUNTSVILLE TX
ROBIN, HUNTSVILLE TX

If it’s not too late, and IF you want to, you can always machine stitch it from the front even though you’ve already hand-stitched it. I’ve done that before too to ensure I caught it on the backside when putting the binding on in the usual manner (front to back).

Brenda
Brenda

It looks perfectly amazing to me! Especially to have done more than one free motion quilting stitches! Amazing! I made a small wall hanging which is almost the size of a baby quilt and yours looks a lot better than mine! Mine was a mystery stitch quilted piece that had embroidery designs on it so I didn’t want to distract from them and stitched in the ditch. I didn’t know it would weaken the seams. It won’t’ be washed as much as a baby quilt or bed quilt though.
You should really be proud of yourself! But I would find it hard to give that beautiful quilt away as well. I love all the fabrics you chose and how you used them! I think after some time you will be itching to try it again. I am. Try some pieced and quilted Mug Mats. They are good practice. I did one with a friendship braid down the side and it was a new challenge for me. My piecing is still not as perfect as I would like with tiny pieces.
I have not tried free motion quilting on a real project yet. I am still a little nervous about it.
So great job for jumping in and doing it!

Dorothy
Dorothy

That quilt is great, so pretty. You should be proud of it. I truly believe you will make some more quilts in your life. Take a break, go back to sewing and try quilting again later. I started sewing at age 8 and continue to make clothing until about 40. Now I am into quilting a lot. I am not that great especially living in an area in California where the artists are amazing. I am back into sewing clothing again but will never give up quilting. Hang in there and try again. For your first quilt it is beautiful.

nita

I am a quilter who is venturing into the genre of garment sewing. I’ve said the same thing about my beginner attempts at simple shift dresses and elastic waisted shorts. I pull my hair out, and then the next thing you know I’m starting another project. And now Im psyching myself up to try something with sleeves. So pat yourself on the back because your quilt is lovely and the new mommy will love it. As soon as you see that sweet little baby wrapped in your quilt you won’t miss giving it away any more. 🙂

Ana Sullivan
Ana Sullivan

I have been sewing for many years and still have not attempted a “real” quilt. You are quite ambitious in teaching yourself all that you do. I have taught several children to sew and I am always amazed at their generosity. We have had charity days making dresses for Little Dresses for Africa. When a girl can give away the first dress she has ever made, that is pretty amazing. So I guess it depends where your quilt is going and imagining them enjoying it that makes the giving easier.

gerri nathanson-cook
gerri nathanson-cook

just don’t forget a perfect quilt is considered bad luck at least by the large Amish community here in Indiana.

gerri nathanson-cook
gerri nathanson-cook

Don’t worry about the mistakes. I live in Indiana and we have a large Amish community, the Amish believe that no one is perfect and a perfect quilt is bad luck. They actually make a ” humility square” or one that is a mistake so their quilt isn’t perfect.

Margie Brecik
Margie Brecik

I have heard that said befor ” this is my first and last ” quilt. Then you said probably. Lol. I think there will be more. How can you not quilt ? You did a great job and the fact you don’t want to give it away,,, you are hooked and there will be more. Don’t let where you live stop you. You can always donate them. Beautiful job!

Deb
Deb

I forgot to add – if you want a more flatter looking quilt, wash everything first, including your cotton batting. If, you want a more ‘antique’ look, wash your quilt afterwards and it will shrink up nicely. You will be washing the quilt irregardless, so you have to make your decision before cutting your fabric. Plus, rule of thumb-do not ever ‘stitch in the ditch’. It weakens the stitching terribly.

Deb
Deb

Deby, for your first quilt, it really is quite good! Don’t beat yourself up. Honestly, I’ve been sewing for 40 years and rarely do I do FMQ. CRAFTSY has a wonderful class on quilting using your walking machine foot. I suggest that you take this. You may never do a large quilt again due to the heat but many home goods are quilted and don’t forget wall hangings which is really my specialty. There’s no reason to do FMQ ever again! You picked the hardest thing to do

duchick
duchick

Deby, you done gooood! In my mind, quilting is meant to be perfect, only loved. Perfection is meant for the quilt shows and those that collect ribbons. I will bet you’ll be making another one soon. Yes, I’ve made things before that I hate to give up. I recently made a small pouch for a BFF out of her favorite color…blue. I’m not a blue person, but when it was finished, it was gorgeous! Plus, I embroidered her name on it, so it had to leave my hands. Now, go cross that baby off your bucket list!

yvonne
yvonne

Wow! Deby, what a beautiful piece of art. You did an outstanding job! Who would ever guess that there were any snags along the way. Awesome–you must do more!

Vivien Levermore
Vivien Levermore

It looks lovely, I can see why you hate to give it away. As another person commented, it takes hours of practice to FMQ, I found in the beginning I was so eager to see the finished result that I rushed it, the stitches snagged, curves became corners and stitched fabric to itself. But now find it very rewarding. I have pieced several tops this summer using my 1951 Singer Featherweight, on my boat. But I will wait to FMQ until I move back to my house in October and use my large Janome.

sewinbearLori Morton

Your First EVER quilt???? It is Gorgeous!!!! You did Awesome job!!!

Pam
Pam

Loving it!

'm(i)e'

well done ! Great job !

Gina
Gina

You did a fantastic job on your first quilt ever!!!! FMQ takes a lot of practice. You might try out some straight line quilting which looks great too. There will still be some issues of fitting a quilt through the harp space but it is much easier than the constant moving and shifting during FMQ. Like your other commenter i stitch the binding to the back of the quilt then machine stitch the binding to the front. The front looks perfect and the stitching lands below the binding on the back but the back is not often looked at. I prefer hand stitching binding but sometimes the time saving factor makes the machine binding win. That too takes a lot of practice to get it to look how you want. Having some smaller baby quilts for practice is the best way to learn. You should be very proud of the new skills you have gained!

Vicki

I am simply amazed that this is your first quilt! It looks fabulous and the quilting is great. Just think how great your 7th quilt will look. I have battled with not wanting to give a lot of my work away.

Diane Cullum
Diane Cullum

You’ve done a beautiful job! No one would ever know that it is your first quilt! The owls were looking up at you – that was funny! When I machine stitch a binding, I sew it to the back first, then wrap it around to the front where I do a nice straight stitch next to the edge (No need to worry about whether you are catching in the seam or trying to stay in the ditch).

rrjane011749
rrjane011749

It’s beautiful! Don’t stop now-your next one will be even better!

Elaine
Elaine

you can use your learning to quilt experience and quilt some hand bags and pot holders etc….

Sue Greaves
Sue Greaves

You did a great job on your first quilt. I’ve been a quilter for about 15 years and still quilt the quilt to itself sometimes. lol

Crickett
Crickett

Almost everything I make for other people! And this one in particular: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cricketthutchinson/955051491/in/set-72157601108362713 It started out as a 14″ square pattern, but I wasn’t satisfied with that size. So it grew…and grew.

LiLi

It’s so pretty.

Wendy Arndt
Wendy Arndt

It is absolutely stunning! I wouldn’t want to give it away either!