My First Quilt

My First Quilt

I've been making things with my hands since I was big enough to grab things. 

From the Friendship Bracelet Club I founded in 1st grade; to my first business-- a paper snowflake stand in my front yard; to my dream catcher stage in 6th grade (the evidence of this is still all over my parents home). 

I've always had an unquenchable urge to make things. 

In 8th grade, I decided I wanted to learn to sew. I loved pajama pants with crazy fabric and just learned that pajama pants are something you could actually make yourself pretty easily-- it was such a novel idea at the time, that I could actually make this thing instead of buy it. 

So I asked my grandmother if she would teach me to sew. She was raised in an age where almost all women learned to sew, and sewed all of my mother's dresses and Halloween costumes. But when "ready-made" clothes became cheaper than sewing your own, she retired her Singer to pants-hemming duty. 

She was, of course, delighted to teach her granddaughter what she knew, so she pulled out that old Singer and her tins of loose, mixed up needles and bobbin thread, and taught me about seam allowances, and how to not sew through my fingers. 

I made those pajama pants and wore them proudly on PJ Day at school. 

A whole world of possibilities had opened up before me. I could not only choose what I wanted to make, but I got to choose the exact fabric and color it was made out of! Why had no-one told me about this before!?

I did lots of sewing in middle school and high school, but it wasn't until college that I first started quilting. 

I was studying Elementary Education, and in my Children's Literature class, we were assigned to create a timeline of children's literature. For some reason that I still cannot remember, I decided I wanted to make a quilted timeline of children literature! 

So I pulled out my little Janome that my parents gave me the Christmas before, and the fabric bundle that was in my stocking. I made a simple patchwork background, and printed book covers on iron-on sheets then ironed them onto white fabric. I used a spool of ribbon I had to connect the book covers into a timeline. 

I was up until 2 AM the night before the project was due trying to finish it, and trying to figure out how the heck to do binding! My mother was so wonderful and even drove to my campus and stayed with me in my dorm to help me finish it. (Thanks again, mom!)

At 10 AM I showed up to class with a finished quilt and held it up proudly when it came my turn to present.

It was way above-and-beyond what I needed to do for the project (and I'm sure all the students who made their timelines out of poster board were super annoyed at me), but I got a 100(!), and this was the start of a journey that brought me to your screen today!

Tell me about your first quilt! Who did you make it for? What made you decide you wanted to make a quilt in the first place? 

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Hello! My first quilt was made for my daughter who just turned 17 a few days ago. I found out I was pregnant and decided that my new baby needed a 100% handmade nursery (quilt, sheets, bumper pads, diaper stacker, curtains, the whole nine yards). I went to my local library as the internet was still very new and we had limited access at home. I found a book and decided on a “Trip Around The World” pattern. This we pre-rotary cutter days so I cut each and every tiny square out by hand. Let’s just say it took me a REALLY long time. Of course I didn’t know that she would be early and I would be dealing with a tiny 4lb preemie or I would have planned it out better. The quilt wasn’t actually finished until she was about 2 or 3 months old. Preemie’s need to eat ALL the time so it took me a bit to settle into a routine. Long story short she finally got her 100% handmade nursery with all the accessories you could imagine. I was so proud of myself and hooked on quilting right away. I’ve been at it ever since (minus a break for a bit when my 2nd baby was born and needed brain surgery). I even wrote about the story on my mostly neglected blog. If anyone wants to check it out you can see it here:

Love your first quilt and the literary theme!!

Angela Coleman

My first quilt actually got me to go back to college and get my degree. I took a college art class at the Senior Center. Then decided, with help from my daughter, that I could go back to school. It took me 5 years for a 2 year degree because I could only take 1 class a semester. I did graduate with honors, 2 certificates and an associate’s in Early Childhood Education. I continued to work in this field for 12 more years. Still have my first quilt, and have made many more since then.


As a young bride with a limited budget and time on my hands as I didn’t work, when my mother-in-law offered me a partially completed set of embroidered animal quilt blocks, I was excited. I had been sewing since my early teens, but new nothing about quilting. Upon completion of the embroidery, I set about figuring out how to make a quilt with the blocks. I purchased a flat bed sheet thinking it would be enough fabric for both the top and back. I cut sashing strips and, not knowing any better, figured out how to make a four-way miter at each intersection. Boy, did I make a lot of extra work out of it! If I say so myself, it looked pretty good when I got done. I then proceeded to hand quilt it. It wasn’t until 12 years later that I had a baby and was able to finally use the quilt. When my son married and had his first child, I passed it on to my granddaughter. Fifty-five years later my first quilt still looks good and I’m still creating quilts!


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