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Dec 3, 2011

First Quilts on the First: Leila of Sewn

Dec 3, 2011
Pin It Welcome to the last 2011 edition of First Quilts on the First!  I hope you have been enjoying this guest blogger series at the beginning of each month.  Seeing as 2011 is coming to a close, soon I will be opening up the guest spots for 2012.

Want to show your First?
Have you grown immensely since starting your first quilt?  Have a great story behind it?  We'd love to see it! Remember, those that participate in this series are entered into a drawing at the end of the year to win a lovely quilty prize!  The 2011 drawing winner and the call for 2012 Firsts will be announced around mid-month.

This month we are featuring Leila of Sewn by Leila.  She has an absolutely charming story to share with you, starting her first quilt as just a 10 year old girl.  Go ahead.... read on.  She writes so eloquently...

The Little House on the Prairie books inspired me to make my first quilt when I was 10 years old.  I liked Laura's adventures, but most of all I loved reading about how people lived in the past.   In On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura writes about working on a quilt:

Mary was still sewing nine-patch blocks.  Now Laura started a bear's-track quilt.  It was harder than a nine-patch, because there were bias seams, very hard to make smooth.  Every seam must be exactly right before Ma would let her make another, and often Laura worked several days on one short seam.  (Chapter 36)

I had romantic notions about stitching away in front of the fire like Laura and Mary and decided to start my quilt making journey with the simpler 9-patch.  My mom let me pick through her sewing scraps and away I went.  I had very particular ideas about how the blocks should be stitched.  I had read something about stitches having to be small and even and unfortunately, my 10 year old mind translated "small even stitches" into "small stitches and seam allowances."  Needless to say, some of the seams are now fraying apart.   And having my own mom critique my work was far less enjoyable than Ma checking Laura's stitches.  Go figure.

I lost steam when it came time to bind my 9-patch block - would it never end?!?  My stitches show this lack of focus - I remember my mom trying to correct my blind hem stitch at this point and I got really angry as I insisted that I was doing it right.  I can see her doing the same deep-breath-decide-not-to-argue-the-point-shrug-and-walk-away thing that I do when my 11 year old insists that she knows better than I.  Oh, how it all comes back around to haunt you...

I finally finished the nine patch quilt, played with it for awhile and then put it away in my box of special things.  It now hangs on the wall of my sewing room.  I started my next quilt 15 years later when a friend talked me into going to a block of the month club at a local quilt store.   There isn't room to talk about it in this post, but if you want to know more about my other First Quilt I am writing about it today on my blog, Sewn by Leila.

I am still making quilts and trying new things.  My most recent quilt finish was a baby quilt for my new niece Jane.  It is a simple tumbler block with a flange binding - I added a flange to the edge of the quilt before I sewed on the binding.  I really like the look.  I also just made my first paper pieced blocks this November as part of the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.  I love them and am so proud of my circle of geese block!  Yea!

Here's to the first quilts that have started our quilting journeys!  Thanks AnneMarie for spotlighting my first quilt! Pin It


  1. aww, that's so cute, getting inspired by the book. And totally something I would do. Love that little 9 patch, it's too sweet. And glad you got back into it, your tumbler is gorgeous!

  2. I've said it before, but I'll reiterate that I love these posts, AnneMarie. It's fun to hear each person's story and get to know them a bit better. Leila, I love it that those books inspired you at the age of ten! Awesome!

  3. I loved knowing that was inspired by Laura ingells I also was charmed with all the stories of her childhood and the simple miracles of life. Here where I live in Brazil, there is this culture of the quilt, only now beginning to emerge, it amazes me! Thank you for your beautiful story quilts Leila, you are always great.

  4. Glad you featured Leila. Biased though I may be, I think she is doing a really great job with her Skill Sampler series. If I was American I'd probably say something like 'Leila rocks ' but I'm not and that doesn't really sound right so instead I will say Leila is rather nice ;-)

  5. What a lovely story. I'm off to find my first patchwork - lots of pink hexagons- though it never was completed. It has Laura Ashley hexes in the middle spelling out my initials- not sure what to make it into now though.


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