February 24, 2023

My First Quilt with...Me!

Today is the first in my new monthly interview series, My First Quilt! Today's isn't really an interview, though, since I'm the one sharing about my first quilt. Next month it'll be an interview, though, and I'm really looking forward to sharing the stories of how some of my quilty friends got started quilting 😊
My first quilt with Leanne Parsons | DevotedQuilter.com
Side note, I should update my picture one of these days!

I decided to make my first quilt as a wedding gift for my friends Michelle and Brian. At the time I had been cross stitching for a few years and quilting magazines started catching my interest whenever I stopped at a magazine rack to look at cross stitch ones. It's  true that one crafty interest can often be the gateway to another one!

The wedding was planned for September 1997, so my mom put a quilting magazine in my stocking for Christmas 1996. The magazine included a pattern by Judith Hughes Marte called Love & A Little Lunacy that Mom thought would be good for the wedding gift. Except when we looked more closely at the pattern, it was for a 25" mini quilt, which wasn't exactly what I had in mind.

Mom and I took the applique shapes from the pattern, added a few of our own, plus some hand embroidery, and came up with a personalized quilt that was almost double bed sized. Nothing like diving right in for your first quilt, right? 

Mom has a few pictures from the day I basted the quilt together, so I had her take pictures of the pictures to send to me. The applique shapes on this block are all the original shapes from the pattern. I fused them in place and then hand stitched the edges with a blanket stitch using black embroidery floss. Mom has always been crafty, so she taught me how to sew and do embroidery, and the fabrics for the appliques all came from her craft stash. I still love a good scrappy quilt!
My first quilt with...Leanne Parsons | DevotedQuilter.com
The Love Is... cartoon was a newspaper clipping Mom had collected as a teenager. She has a whole box of them, so we selected two for the quilt. Everything stitched in the cartoon in this picture is hand embroidery and the blue lines for their bodies were eventually quilted with black thread.

The applique shapes in this next block are some of the ones we added. The building blocks came from a colouring book, I think, but I can't remember where the teddy bear came from. In the center I embroidered Michelle's full name and birthdate, along with her birthplace. This was one corner block, with a block with Brian's info in the opposite corner, diagonally. The Love Is blocks were in the other two corners. The center block is embroidered with their wedding date and place. The appliques for that block are wedding bells and double hearts, but I don't remember where either of those came from.
My first quilt with...Leanne Parsons | DevotedQuilter.com
I worked on the blanket stitching and the embroidery while I was at university that semester, then sewed the top together at home after the semester ended. Here I am with the top, batting and backing ready to be thread basted. All the white lines in the red border and sashing are where the hand quilting would go.
My first quilt with...Leanne Parsons | DevotedQuilter.com
And here's me doing my first bit of hand quilting. I spent a large portion of that summer sitting under that hoop, quilting. We didn't have air conditioning, so I'm not sure how that didn't turn me off quilting entirely!
My first quilt with...Leanne Parsons | DevotedQuilter.com
The only pictures I have of the finished quilt are from the wedding, when I gave it to Michelle and Brian.
My first quilt with...Leanne Parsons | DevotedQuilter.com
What doesn't show in this picture is the incredible number of ripples in the back of the quilt and the very rough binding job. I remember we bought double fold bias tape for the binding and I wrapped it around the edge of the quilt and stitched both sides at the same time, except the stitching missed on the back many, many times. Not knowing what else to do, I just went over those areas a second or even third time. My binding skills have certainly improved since then!

I have no idea what I was saying here, but I recognize the look of of a quilter excited to share what she made 😊 Never mind the mistakes and that sketchy binding, I was so proud of that quilt and I still am! 
My first quilt with...Leanne Parsons | DevotedQuilter.com
I'm so glad I dove into making this huge quilt with so much hand stitching, even though I had no clue what I was doing. I certainly had no idea where it would lead, but it sparked a love for quilting that is still going strong after more than 25 years! 

I'll have another My First Quilt post on the last Friday of each month. I hope you'll enjoy reading the stories of those first quilts!


  1. Ha ha.... My first quilt was large too..... I thought I could just sit down and do free-motion quilting (no classes, no practice- just start and be amazing.) I certainly have a "My first quilt" story.

  2. I love that you dove right in and have some photos of the quilt making process. I'm thankful you quilt and we have met because of it! :)

  3. This is a wonderful story Leanne. So sweet. I hope they still have the quilt and I love where it took you after these many years.

  4. Absolutely in tears! Such a wonderful gift - and most of us can empathise. And to give away your first quilt - so generous. Can't wait to hear other stories, we all started somewhere. Thanks for the lovely memories.


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