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May 1, 2012

First Quilts on the First: Tanya of Squares and Triangles

May 1, 2012
Pin It Just checking in!  Hope everyone is doing well.  We are adjusting to our new family + 1.  Remember all those middle of the night feedings?  They zap all my energy to sew during my narrow naptime window during the day.  I took my machine in for a tune up and hope to get in a little "stress relief" sometime soon.  The good news is that I am getting to enjoy those first newborn smiles.  Little guy is 7 weeks now!

Please welcome Tanya as our guest for this month's First Quilts on the First. You've just got to stop over at Squares and Triangles... her quilt gallery features over 90 quilts she's made!  Talk about the perfect person to show us her progress over the years.  Let's learn more about her first....

  Hello! My name is Tanya and I am the quilter behind the blog Squares and Triangles. I am so excited to be here on Anne Marie's "First Quilt on the First" feature. My first quilt was made over 15 years ago, and we still use it today, mostly when my children are sick, or just need a quilt to make a quick fort. These are pictures from my neighbor's yard. I figured the nice background could only help the look of the quilt.
  My first quilt was made when I was 17 years old. It was the 1990's (you could probably tell by the fabric colors) and I was pretty much inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder and all pioneer women. I loved that they made such beautiful quilts when they seemed to have so little. So a friend of mine, her mom, and I went to some fabric store, somehow picked out fabric, and went to work cutting and sewing on the concrete floor of my basement. We worked on my friend's quilt first, so hers ended up having a ton of mismatched seams that we "fixed" by folding the fabric over itself and sewing it all together. Yes, we intentionally made puckers all over that quilt top. We were amazing. We must have learned how to fix the problem by the time we got to my quilt, though, because I don't see any puckering in the front. I don't know what seam allowance we used, but I have a feeling that if I picked the seams to take a look, it would probably be a 5/8 inch seam. Like I said, we were pretty much amazing. I don't even think we ironed it at all.  
  I grabbed an old sheet from my parent's linen closet, and we used that as the backing. We found the fluffiest polyester batting and went to work on a quilting frame, tying this quilt with a soft pink colored yarn. We had no idea how to finish the edge of the quilt, so we just folded the fabric in, and zigzag stitched the border. Beautiful? No. Effective? Yes. Would you like to see it?  
  Impressive, right? I wish I could say that my friend still has her quilt, but sadly, after it had been used and loved to the point of no return, her husband was able to convince her to let him throw it away. Somehow, mine is still all in one piece! And, it is still being used to keep my babies warm.  
  And, I also used it to keep the ceramic babies in my neighbor's yard warm, too. They just look so cold!  
  I know what you are thinking. After a first quilt of this quality, it would be really hard to outdo it. Well, I like to think that I have done the impossible and improved my quilting techniques. I have joined a modern quilt guild (SLMQG!) and have taken part in a variety of challenges, including the Kona Solid Challenge, and the Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge. Those were so much fun!      
I really enjoy finding new ways to use traditional blocks, like I was able to do with this friendship star quilt from fall of 2011.
I LOVE scrappy quilts as well. My most recent scrap quilts were made last fall. This is my Scrap Vomit quilt, tutorial found on Kati's Blog.
Another was heavily inspired by Rita's Scrappy Staircase Quilt, only I used a paper piecing method to make mine, using old Money Mailer advertisements:
I love quilting! I love coming up with different patterns and I love learning different quilting techniques. I have been actively quilting for only these past 4 years. My learning process has been slow (I was free-motion quilting on slippery polyester batting for two years before I discovered how lovely cotton batting is!!!), but I have loved every minute of it. Feel free to visit my blog, I have a quilt gallery, and you can see almost every quilt I have made since the very first. I am not at all embarrassed that it took me so long to get quilting. I have learned something from each and every quilt I made. This has been a fun journey, and it doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon. Thanks again, Anne Marie, for having me!
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  1. Yay, I'm so glad to hear that you are all settling in well, Anne Marie. Getting those nap times in with three is so precious! Sewing can wait. Sanity can't. :) Great post, Tanya! I love your sense of humour. My first quilt (also made around the same time frame) is equally amazing and still kicking around. :D

  2. I remember you and April making those quilts!

  3. Your first quilt is beautiful!!! And it sure serves the purpose - showing love and keeping warm!!!


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