Memory Lane

Christmas time does this to me, does it do it to you?  Memories come flooding in.

I took my first quilting class in 1980, in 1985 I made my first ‘new quilt made to look olde’, and it is this quilt ‘Hattie’s Baskets’.  I named it for a friend of my moms.

I’ve never looked back on this journey of ‘making new quilts to look olde’.

I loved the antique quilts I would see at quilt shows, loved the quirks in them, and loved the fabrics.  Some things don’t change. I wanted to make my quilts to feel like that. I still love small size quilts, traditional patterns and vintage look to fabrics.  Perhaps I should add, certain colors appeal to me more than others, and every quilt I make does have a spot that it would look good in our home.  Made for me, and shared with you.

Hattie's Baskets, 1985, 24x24

Hattie’s Baskets, 1985, 24×24

Now remember, this is ‘back in the day’, I made templates, cut out the pieces including seam allowance, arranged all four blocks to look scrappy and olde, I even turned a couple of pieces over and used the back side up.  This was arranged on a card table in the living room (no design wall yet, no dedicated sewing room either).  I hand pieced this quilt top, eye-balled a stitching line, it is hand quilted with black HQ thread (again eyeballed the lines), and I even added the binding by hand, then sewing it down.  Notice how wide the binding is?   🙂

We gain skills with practice.

HQ on 6inch block, black HQ thread

HQ on 6inch block, black HQ thread

I wanted to make one quilt entirely by hand, check.  Quilts come in all sizes.

I added my signature to the back with a small running stitch, careful not to go through the batting into the front.

signed this quilt by stitching my name and date

signed this quilt by stitching my name and date

Please note, I documented that it took from April to December in 1985 to complete this small quilt of 24″ x 24″.  I only stitched information to the back of a quilt once.

The dark red print, the black inner framing border and binding and the backing are all from early Jinny Beyer fabric lines. The other pieces are from my beginning ‘fabric collection’.

I prefer to sign my quilts on the back with a Pigma Pen these days: name, year, city, state, no stories.

I enjoyed the quiltmaking process then, still do when I have time.

Thought you may be amused at a little Jo history.


Memory Lane — 14 Comments

  1. I love your fabric and your little quilts. I am a collector of both and have been a member of a JLW club for several years. I wish I could buy patterns from earlier years. Thank you so much for sharing this quilt and the story as to how it all began for you. You are an amazing quilt designer and fabric designer. I admire you. I am a friend of Amy Brandt Rochelle who has amazing skills herself. Merry Christmas to you and Russ.

  2. Jo, I am hoping to put that on my list and use some of my really old fabric I was saving for a larger quilt. I have a number of “early quilts” that I signed with a pigma pen and the ink is fading! I signed on muslin and stitched to the back of the quilt. Maybe this can be addressed after the first of the year.

  3. I was quite pleased to see that someone else did what I do all the time. I love the old repro fabrics and the Civil War era quilts. I hand piece and hand quilt little ones all the time which means I have to convert the patterns back to making templates etc. I love all your fabric ranges, just perfect for what I do. Thanks so much for sharing I loooove that little quilt.

  4. That was a beautiful story Jo. So many quilters don’t keep their ‘first’ quilt. I still have mine – 1,000 pyramids, machine pieced but hand quilted. I love it as much now as I did in 1999 when I first made it. In it I used some of my dress materials from my teenage years…lol..lots of memories there.

  5. Thanks for sharing, Jo. I love your comment about having a place in your home for every quilt. I do love looking at the bright fabrics in the quilt shops. However, with only so much quilting time, if it can’t hang in my home, then I don’t make it. I save the bright colors for when I make gifts for my quilting friends who love them.

  6. All I can say is that you have a pretty good “eyeball”. Those lines of quilting look straight on perfect to me and the stitches are so small. Enjoyed hearing about your first quilt adventure.

    Merry Christmas,

    • Well back in the day (1985, actually I began quilting in 1980), we didn’t have all the tools available to us today.
      It was my hobby, not a race, and learning to eyeball has served me well over the years in many ways. We are so fortunate to have beautiful quilt shops these days.

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