Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday Throwback: My First Quilt

First quilt, 1974
When my elder son was four months old, we moved to Grants Pass, Oregon. It was a rough go for us as my children's father went through 10 jobs in three years. My cousin suggested we move to Portland, where he could help Jim get a job. So we took our food stamps and meager goods and moved to Portland in 1974. Things were better in Portland.

A woman from our church gave me some cut pieces of fabric of three colors and suggested I make a quilt. The fabrics were red, black and blue. About that same time, we bought an old treadle machine at a flea market. It was about $25 and needed some work. 

I loved this machine. It was so much more fun than my wonderful Singer that I received as a high school graduation gift from my parents. Once it was working, I could sew while the boys slept. That's when I put together the blocks for the quilt top. I decided to give it to my mother for Christmas that year.

I had no idea what to put inside to make it warm, so I cut down an old holey blanket and made that the batting. And then I bought a piece of flannel--very inexpensive--and made that the backing. I used the leftover block fabric as the binding and tied it with red yarn.

When my parents arrived for Christmas, my elder son, four years old, was so excited about the quilt that he told my mom that we had a present for her but he couldn't tell her it was a blanket. Too cute :) I eventually forgot about the quilt.
"First quilt" in 2003

Fast forward to 2003. My aunt, who was a wonderful quilter, had died and the family put many of her quilts on display at her memorial service. I looked at these wonderful quilts and thought, "Hey, I can do that."  When I came home, I went to a neighborhood five and dime--they had fabric downstairs in the basement--and bought a pattern and some flannel to make a quilt.  In my mind, this was my first quilt!  I have since made hundreds of quilts.

Not many years ago, I was visiting my mom. I didn't like sleeping with the old bedspread she had on the guest bed. While looking through her closet for more pillows, I found the old quilt I had made her in 1974 on the old treadle machine. What fun! I used it instead. I realized she had never used it all these years. So I washed it and put it away in the cupboard when I was ready to leave, bringing it out again the next visit. When we cleaned out my mom's place after she moved into the nursing facility, I brought it home. It is well-loved as one of my favorite lap quilts.

I have always given my aunt credit for getting me started in quilting, but credit should go to the church woman who generously gave me some pieces of fabric with which to play.

Happy sewing~~~


BethE said...

How sweet! Thanks for sharing.

Lorna McMahon said...

What a fabulous story.... And two beautiful quilts! Thanks so much for sharing more about you and your two "first" quilts!