Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Patch quilts

Innercity pattern taken from Quilter's Newsletter magazine 1985.  Fabric was purchased from a dime store for $1.29 per yard.  The muslin cost $0.79 per yard.   Wow, how times have changed! 
Almost 28 years ago, I made this 3 color wall size quilt called "Innercity".   It was 9 years later when I finally completed it. I cut templates out of gridded plastic and marked hundreds of trapezoids with a pencil and used a 1/4 inch seamer tool.  Then, I sewed each trapezoid by hand with "y" seams, joining 6 together to make one weird shaped block.  It was not an easy quilt to attempt for a beginner quilter.  In the beginner class, we made a 4 block sampler wall quilt, which took me 2 years to complete.  By the time all the blocks were sewn into rows which grew to almost 40 inches, I was getting tired of looking at it.  I started to worry about what to do with the edges. 

The magazine said to finish the edge with binding, not adding a border.  Isn't it funny how some instructions (even in mags printed today) get you so far and then leave you hanging for how to finish the top off.  Being a newbie to quilting I only thought that the sides needed squaring up to have straight edges.  So, I whacked off all 4 edges and added a 4" muslin border.  In those days, it was common to use a lot of muslin in quilts.  Teachers like to use muslin so that the quilting can show and allow them to see how well us students are creating the quilting stitch. Muslin was and still is the cheapest fabric you can buy, so if you mess up in any way it won't be a great loss to toss it away.  We were also required to use polyester batting which was thick stuff.  It's only plus was that for a beginner that is learning the art of hand quilting, the needle goes in and out very smoothly.   But there are many downsides.  One specific downer is that my teacher had us using the smallest quilting needle known to man and you were expected to get at least 10 stitches on that needle before pulling the thread through.  It was near impossible as I recall.   If you didn't quilt a bazillion stitches though, the finished quilt was thick and pillowy.  I was taught to use a hoop, but I always found this akward, so I learned to quilt with and without a hoop. 
I am proud of this quilt, mistakes and all, every quilt I make takes a journey.   I rarely do as I'm told in the instructions however, I seem to work it through one step at a time adding things or deleting somethings in the end I can call my quilts my own and not just a reproduction of something I found in a magazine, in a book or online. 


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