Friday, February 2, 2018

TBT - Matt's Houses

Do you have quilts from your pre-blogging days that you would like to share with the world? My friend Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Lemon is hosting Throwback Thursday linky parties for these quilts on the first Thursday of each month.  This month's linky is today (yes it's Friday, but check out her blog for all the good reasons it got bumped to Friday).

For my first TBT post I chose the second quilt I ever made.  The colors in the picture are very poor.  The borders and cornerstones are actually green, and there are both red and orange houses.  The black houses are actually green.  All the fabrics are flannel.

Matt's House Quilt
Matt's House Quilt, 2 years in the making, finished Dec 2003

In order to finish my first quilt, I acquired the book "The Quilting Bible" by The Singer Sewing Reference Library (1997 edition).  It's still on my shelf, and I still think it's a great beginner/intermediate reference.  It contains some patterns to illustrate/practice the skills it discusses.  My son was two or three years old when I got this book and he pored over the pictures.  He decided the quilt "Houses" was fabulous, so that's the project I dove into when I finally finished that first quilt.

I learned a lot from this quilt.  The biggest lesson was about seam allowances.  It turned out my presser foot was not in fact a 1/4" foot.  Who knew?  Happily, I figured this out when I wisely made a test block and it turned out significantly smaller than it was supposed to be.  (The discarded block became a quilt for the much loved, originally named Brown Puppy stuffed toy.)

The related lesson was that allowing for an extra bit of fabric is not a bad idea.  I was on a very tight budget so calculated my fabric needs as closely as possible.  I did not have enough extra to cut extra pieces for an extra house block, and I wasn't familiar with the operation of a seam ripper yet.  Alright then.  How about an alternate block?

This was my very first attempt at drafting a block myself and offered a lovely opportunity to personalize the quilt.  I quilted my son's name in there as though that block was planned all along. Every other bed quilt I have made for my kids since then has their name quilted somewhere.  And this post reminds me that I need to figure out where to quilt my daughter's name on the current hand quilting project...

I also made my very first pieced quilt back.  After the ladies at the quilt shop talked me into a woodsy print flannel for the back, they discovered there wasn't enough on the bolt so they then talked me into adding the plaid flannel to the top.  I ended up adding some to the bottom as well so it didn't look quite so accidental.

I hand quilted this quilt in the ditch.  I know now that 1/4" away from the seams would have been easier.  Also, two layers of flannel makes it hard to make small stitches so I shouldn't have been so critical of my efforts!

I was very proud of my binding, but looking at it now it seems really wide. You can see I can fit a penny on the back of it! How wide did I cut this?

If you compare the first and second pictures in this post,you can see the colors have faded a lot, but it was a well-loved and used quilt and I'm OK with that.

I hope you will go link up a post about one of your pre-blogging quilts. It's fun to see how skills and tastes have changed, and wonderful to read the stories behind the quilts!

Linking up with
Throwback Thursday at mmm!quilts 


  1. Joanne this warms my heart! I love seeing your son with it, and hearing how the test block ended up another little quilt for Brown Puppy. -) I also love how you improvised when you didn't have enough fabric to remake the house block, which started you designing, as well as the tradition of quilting in the recipient's name (something I always do too). Thank you for promoting TBT and for linking this treasure up. Wow this is the month for posting about our firsts!

  2. WOW! That's a pretty difficult quilt for only your second. I have one that was early on in my quilt life that I think it was better I made it when I did as I probably wouldn't have done it later. Good job!

  3. The quilt is fantastic. I think too often we focus on the "rules" and forget to enjoy the process and how the quilt will be used. For a quilt that will be used and loved, i feel that perfection is not necessary! And you learned along the way, so it's an even bigger win. Maybe I need to go dig out some pre-blogging quilts...

  4. What a fun quilt! I bet it has been well loved! It's fun to go back and see how much you've learned since then.

  5. How fun to go back and visit an oldie, but goodie.I think I bound my first quilts with double fold bias tape!!

  6. Loved reading the story, the memories those first quilts hold. The 1/4 inch seam a lesson I learned in hurry too.

  7. Great 2nd quilt! And to think, you did it without the benefit of help from guild sisters. Amazing job!

  8. What a fun idea to look back at your first quilts made. I have some of mine hanging in my quilting room so it's fun to see them. Your house quilt in flannel, no doubt! was quite the venture for a second quilt! It looks wonderful and it's fun to know it has been well loved through the years. Hah! Now that I think of second quilt was made with flannel too. It went off to my nephew for a graduation gift.
    Thank you for your recent comment on my blog about Sabra. It came in no-reply form so I didn't respond by email. She is missed. My other critters are being quite a comfort thankfully.

  9. It looks very snuggly and warm! And it has had a very, very good life for a quilt: used often and loved well :)

  10. I love the bright colours in your house quilt. Pre-blogging days all my photos were taken with a disposable camera. Haven’t camera and tablet phones made that job easier.

  11. What a great quilt, glad you shared it! I love house quilts, all kinds. I also love how you put your son's name in the one block and it has become a tradition to have your kids names somewhere in the quilting on their quilts. That is so special!

  12. I love these older quilt stories! So very sweet that he wanted a house quilt, and the name block is PERFECT - good thing you didn't have fabric for that house block. :) You know, I like wider bindings on flannel and minkee quilts - they go better.

  13. What a great, snuggly and well loved second's so great that it's standing strong after all these years. Interesting isn't it to look back and see how far we've come!


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