Tuesday 31 May 2016

My First Quilt - A Sampler

Back to the Beginning

- Recently, I have been asked a few times about my start in quilt making. It made me realise that not many of my early (and less early) quilts have ever appeared here in my "Studio". So I am starting a new series today, "Back to the Beginning". -

I first started quilting in 1995, and my very first finished item was a Monkey Wrench block that I turned into a cushion. Unfortunately I cannot show it here since it was used into oblivion around the time I started this blog.

What I can show you is my very, very first quilt. Immediately after the cushion I progressed to making a sampler I called "First Star" since many blocks in it have a star like appearance (and some of the fabrics have star prints):

While making this quilt I was taught how to draft blocks, colour different options, choose fabrics, make templates, prepare fabric, hand piece and hand appliqué, accurate sashing (technique described here), as well as layering the quilt sandwich and tacking (thread basting), hand quilt, and attaching the binding.

I had never seen a rotary cutter or ruler when I first started, and being in The Netherlands at the time, all measurements were metric...

There are six different blocks (24 x 24 cm):

Gardener's Choice, a Dresden block with different points

Log Cabin block

Don Quichote block

Starburst block

Tulip Garden block coloured to be more star-like than originally meant

Finnigan's Wake block

All blocks were hand sewn, the sashings were attached by machine. The (continuous) binding was also attached by machine, and hand stitched to the back.
The whole quilt has been quilted by hand. I'm not sure if I could even quilt so finely these days!

quilting on the Log Cabin block and sashing/border

quilting on the Don Quichote block and sashing
To finish it off, a label and a sleeve were added. Making this small quilt set me up for a quilt-filled future, all the basics covered!

By now, the quilt is more than 20 years old, and some fabrics have slightly faded. In most of the places I lived I have had it hanging somewhere (though never in the sun), and still today it has a place on the wall.
Over the years I have been tempted by several of the blocks and made plans to make a whole quilt of one block or another, but in reality it has never happened. Maybe one day...

I better get sewing, of course!


Linking up with Throwback Thursday at A Quarter Inch from the Edge


  1. Those lovely blocks are not for the faint of heart, which makes it all the more amazing that this was your first quilt Sandra! When I think how you did this without a rotary cutter and with templates and hand piecing, I'm just in awe! Then the hand quilting you did is so perfect too... LOL. Yup, Amazing! I'd say you were born to quilt. :)

  2. Can't believe this is your first quilt! The blocks are all so complicated and not something you see often. I especially love your take on the Dresden plate.

  3. Isn't it fun to look back on our early work and see how far we've come? Your first quilt is impressive indeed. Fine workmanship! Thanks for linking up with Throwback Thursday @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge!


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