April 28, 2023

My First Quilt with Michelle Cain

Today I'm excited to share another My First Quilt interview with you! It's so much fun reading about how our fellow quilters got started as quilters 😊
My First Quilt with Michelle Cain | DevotedQuilter.com
I don't remember when I first met Michelle Cain online, but I've been following her blog, From Bolt to Beauty, and following her on IG, for a long time. Michelle is a prolific quilter and quilt pattern designer. I love her Irish Twist and Set to Spin patterns!

You can connect with Michelle on her blog and on IG.

And now, here's Michelle's first quilt!
My First Quilt with Michelle Cain | DevotedQuilter.com

What year did you make your first quilt? What prompted you to make it?

The road to my first quilt was a long one. I grew up outside of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania -- known, in part, as a destination for quilters -- and my mom started quilting sometime after I graduated from high school and had moved out of the house. I had little interest in quilting, however -- probably because I had such a limited idea of what a quilt was "supposed" to look like.

That changed in 2002, when a chance encounter with Denyse Schmidt's What a Bunch of Squares note cards blew up my preconceived notions about quilting. I loved the graphic look of the stationery, which featured pictures of Denyse's original quilts, and quickly became fascinated with the designer and what she was doing in the quilting world. I bought her first book, "Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects," and purchased yardage of the original Flea Market Fancy collection. I even had a near run-in with Denyse herself at a Crate & Barrel. (I was gawking over a new line of quilts she had designed for the store. A sales associate approached me and said, "Oh, honey. You just missed her. She was here 15 minutes ago." My near brush with quilting greatness!)

Through all of this, however, I was not quilting. I was sewing, but those projects were limited to bags and pillows and curtains. Finally, in 2013, it was time to make the leap!

The part of the quilt-making process that prevented me from starting sooner was the quilting itself. I didn't know there was such a thing as a longarm. I thought I *had* to quilt my projects myself, and although I had multiple book resources and quilt blogs as references, getting a huge quilt sandwich through my tiny sewing machine seemed impossible.

So I started with a simply pieced throw quilt of 8-inch squares, just to dip my toe in the water and to see whether I could get it quilted. (By this point, I had been sewing regularly for over a decade, so assembling the top was easy.) And although guiding the quilt sandwich through my machine was awkward, I managed to quilt it with an allover crosshatch.

Who taught you to make the quilt?

Me! And the quilt blogs and books I had at my disposal. At this point in my sewing career, I especially liked Rachel Hauser's Stitched in Color blog, and the first quilting books in my library were Denyse's first book and "Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts" by Joelle Hoverson (the founder of Purl Soho). I still have both of those titles in my collection.

Are the colours you chose for your first quilt ones you would still choose today?

Yes! The quilt was made from one of Denyse's collections for chain stores. The only change I would recommend my past self would be to invest in quality fabric from a quilt shop.

Did you fall in love with quilting right away? Or was there a gap between making the first quilt and the next one?

Making this quilt quickly snowballed into a full-fledged quilting obsession. In my first year of quilting, I completed seven quilts, started to blog about quilting, and joined a guild!

Where is the quilt now?

I wasn't sure about giving away such a humble first quilt, but I did, and to the perfect recipient. A friend of mine wasn't expecting a birthday gift from me, and she was touched that I took the time to make her something. (I billed the quilt as one for her and her daughters to picnic on. She teared up, explaining that no one had ever made her anything before.) I saw her everywhere around town that first summer, quilt in tow—at the farmer's market, at the playground. She bragged about me and the quilt to just about everyone she encountered. 

Thanks for sharing your first quilt with us, Michelle! I love that your friend was so thrilled with her quilt and bragged about your work so much ❤ That's a friend who gets it!


  1. I loved getting to read more about Michelle's journey but wow, the gifting of the first quilt and the response to it really touched me!

  2. What a great looking first quilt! And a heartwarming story about the gift well received. xo

  3. What a fun story! I grew up in Reading, PA and loved quilts. My mother hated sewing so it took me moving to New England to begin making quilts.

  4. This is a sweet story of Michelle's Quilty beginnings. Love the story of gifting that first quilt too. Really heartwarming!

  5. What a lovely post to read - thank you for taking the time to source and post these interviews. I've been following Michele's blog for several years, it's good to know more about how she started out patchwork-quilting.

  6. Sweet story about Michelle and quilts! I love her blog and patterns!!!


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