Nostalgia Hits: How I got Started Quilting – Part 2 (of 3)

They say ignorance is bliss. In my case, I think it was the cheeky arrogance of youth that led to the next quilting episode in my life.

Now remember: at this point all I had ever really done was piece large blocks together for several friendship quilts, and made a couple of nine-patch quilts. Yet when a woman at my church commissioned me to make a DWR, I didn’t bat an eyelid. She thought a was a quilter and in my mind, so did I. Who was I to argue?

At that point, I didn’t even know there were books on quilting. Quite fortunately for me, she had already decided on the pattern she wanted and had purchased the fabrics. And she came armed with a photocopy with instructions on how to sew the DWR quilt. I have no idea where she had gotten them, but I took a look and said: “Sure, I can do this!” In my mind, I guess I figured: 1) I can read. 2) The instructions are clear… how hard can it be? 3) This sounds like fun!

I’m glad I hung on to that photocopy… I can look at it now and laugh at my naiveté.

I’m not quite sure how, but I somehow managed to piece the quilt. And actually did a decent job. The biggest snag: I had no idea of how to quilt it! The instructions never addressed this issue. So I opted for hand quilting it in-the-ditch and added double rings in the center of the blocks to hold the quilt together. And no, I had not idea of what a quilting hoop or frame was. It’s pretty much a miracle that it held together.

Call me a fool, but to this day this quilt holds a very dear spot in my heart!

As a result of this experience, I finally hit the local library in search of quilting books. I found one. There was no such thing as a photocopy machine at this library, so I copied the instructions for my next quilt in a notebook… which I also have kept.

And so began my next quilting project, started while still living in California in 1979, but put aside when I moved back to Ecuador at the end of that year. It wasn’t until 1984 that I finally pulled it out of storage and finished it, while housebound recovering from a surgery. Although not “perfect,” this remains one of my favorite quilts because of the little squares of fabric that remind me of that happy time in California.

So my initial quilting experience pretty much revolved around these very few quilts, within a period of only 2-3 years. After arriving in Ecuador at the end of 1979, work and family obligations seemed to leave little time for any extras, so I did very little quilting until taking it up again “seriously” in 1996.

(Will continue tomorrow! 🙂 )

This entry was posted in Sewing/Quilting, This and that. |Comments closed


  1. Posted January 18, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Preciosa entrada!!! Cuando leía sobre ese primer quilt me agarró una mezcla de ansiedad y emoción pensando “¿¡qué habrá hecho??!! Pero que bien resolviste el tema!
    Me quedo a esperar lo que cuentes mañana! Saludos!!

  2. Irene
    Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Ese DWR Quilt es admirable, precioso. Aprendí esa técnica este año, y para no extendernos mucho, mi maestra sugirió hacer una funda de cojín o una sobrefunda, a lo sumo un camino de mesa. Hice mi muestra, y aùn se encuentra sin terminar, en mi cajón de UFO´s…