Throwback Thursday and Craft The Letter

Letter AGood Morning, Quilters!

Have you heard of the social media trends, #crafttheletter or #throwbackthursday #TBT?

Today, we’re doing both…AND talking about quilts–

Today is brought to you by the Letter ‘A’

The first letter of the alphabet and my first quilt.  (Be kind…it takes a bit of courage to show one’s first quilt.)

There are a lot of lessons tied up in this first quilt.

Old Quilt


It all started in 1991, when I was expecting twins and was put on bed rest.  On the way home from the doctor’s appointment I picked up the book, Quilts! Quilts! Quilts! by McClun and Nownes and a little fabric.

I added fabric that I had in my home dec stash and started quilting…


Don’t use home dec fabrics in quilts–They have a coating to keep them clean that makes them very difficult to stitch.

Don’t use the least expensive and plainest white muslin you can for the backing–thinking it doesn’t show anyway.

Consider spending more than 20 minutes basting a quilt (especially if it’s going to be hand quilted.)

Don’t begin hand quilting in the corner.

Don’t try to hand quilt through dense and coated home dec fabrics.

Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish on anything that will take more than 200 hours to make!


Don’t worry about all the mistakes above.  There’s nothing better to curl up with than a well-loved, quilt with a pilled back and frayed edges!


What was your first quilt?

Why did YOU start quilting?

Do you have a picture of your first quilt?

We’d love to hear!


PS…Yesterday, we had an official practice of The Webinar:   Meander No More: Learn to Free Motion Quilt With Confidence …and I’m really excited!  There are more than 150 photos and 150 yards of information…I think YOU are going to LOVE it!  Don’t wait to sign up…Even if you can’t attend the class, the link will be sent to you within a week along with all the supplemental information.  (Sorry, no DVDs available of this presentation.)

PPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!


44 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday and Craft The Letter

  1. Lori, I trusted your encouragement (AND money back guarantee!) and signed up for the Webinar. Now I’m just having a lot of trouble knowing I have to wait that long!

  2. 1976..Bicentennial and I wanted a R/W/B quilt. MIL visiting from Missouri got me started with a dresden plate cereal box templates and an old sheet for background..and I had discovered my passion the past almost 40 yr.

  3. My first quilt was made when I was 17 and I had NO idea how to make a one: yours is a work of art in comparison. All I knew about quilt making was paper piecing. I cut out hundreds of squares out of the local newspaper , none of which were accurate, and tacked scraps from mine and my mum’s scrapbags. These included cotton, polyester and, can you believe it, broderie anglais! Sewing it together was a nightmare needless to say and I never did quilt it. I don’t have a photo of it though, thank goodness! I didn’t touch patchwork for twenty years, when I finally learnt to do it properly and to quilt;

  4. Thank you for your confessional and tips on first quilts. There is usually a huge learning curve on first time endeavors! My first quilt was started in 1982. I knew something about quilting and had collected a little information, but that was pre-cutting boards and rotatary cutters. I garment sewed a lot and so I just cut all my log cabin pieces with 5/8 seams. Well, that did not last long and after one block I went back and cut them all down to proper size. It took me a couple of years but it was hand quilted and I did have babies, like you. But I did enter it in the county fair and took first place! That cemented my quilting passions, for sure! It’s still very serviceable albeit a little more faded (the cotton prints in those days were not very colorfast). It was a good first quilt.

    • I don’t remember much about my first quilt…but I keep trying to visually move the scissors in the opening photo to see the beautiful design and see how it flows so I can attempt to recreate it! And thanks for the reminder that for all of us quilting is in itself a work in progress. Each attempt is a brand new start on an adventure in art.

  5. My first quilt was a black and white sampler quilt. I took a class because I had been in a car accident ending in back surgery and needed a new “hobby” to keep my mind off my pain. That was 1979 and I haven’t stopped quilting yet- it’s turned into a way of life-lol.

  6. It’s a very soft and pretty looking quilt Lori! And how on the world did you layer and baste it while on bed rest? LOL, that must have taken some doing. Thanks for sharing; now I don’t feel so silly for using suede drapery fabric for my first quilt – a One Block Wonder.

  7. My first quilt was a scrappy attic window from Georgia Bonesteel’s Lap Quilting book, done with cardboard templates and scissors. All those “Y” seams! But I had a dressmaking background so they didn’t scare me! I hand quilted it using the lap quilting technique better known as “quilt as you go” today. It took me so long to complete I forgot what loft batting (poly!) I was using and consequently used several! It was also an odd size, long and narrow because I just wanted to finish it!
    That was more than 30 years ago, last summer I remade the same quilt, twice the size, using updated techniques (rotary cutter and a long arm) it took way less time :). But the original quilt was the one my boys used the most when TV watching, it is well worn and loved. And all these years later scrappy quilts are still my favorites.

  8. My first quilt was one I made for my grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary in the middle 80s. We were posted to Germany at the time and I wanted to be part of the celebrations. I had no idea how to make a quilt and no one to ask. I made snowball blocks though at the time, I don’t think I knew that’s what they were called. On the center snowball block, I embroidered my Grandparents’ names. Then surrounding them were blocks with their children’s and their spouses names. Next came the grandchildren (and spouses) and great-grandchildren. Each generation’s snowballs had different color centers. I had no idea how to bind it, so I made a wide border with mitred corners that folded over to the back. Separating the snowball blocks were plain white squares that I hand quilted with simple flowers. The fabric was solid color broadcloth. The batting was one of those polyester bats that come in a bag. When grandma passed away in 2005, my mother mailed me the quilt. When I spoke with her on the phone after I received it, I mentioned that I was sad that they hadn’t used it because it looked almost new. My mother assured me that the quilt had indeed been used and had been on their bed for many years but had been carefully cared for. I didn’t make another quilt until all our children left home and I didn’t have anyone to sew for. I found that I missed sewing on a regular basis so I started making quilts.

  9. The year I started quilting was 1995. I was working in a variety store. One of my jobs was to straighten the fabric tables. I had seen both coworkers selecting fabrics to quilt, and I just didn’t get it until I fell in love with a piece with jewel tones. I had no idea that is what the colors were called, but a coworker told me. I chose other colors to match it and purchased way too much of every color. I still have a large box of those colors in spite of the fact I’ve made two whole cloth quilts and three pillowcases and two single sheets from the fabric.

    I made a log cabin quilt with the first fabric as the center, then surrounded by two shades of purples and a magenta on one side, and two shades of green and a turquoise on the other side. The center of the quilt had 20 log cabin blocks, then I surrounded it with gradually larger borders of turquoise, green, magenta and purple. I tied the log cabin center with turquoise crochet thread and quilted the borders with turquoise crochet thread in a braided pattern with what my coworker called galloping goose. They were large stitches (about 2.5 stitches per inch), so I wouldn’t take too long, or worry about living up to my grandma’s excellent 20 stitches per inch.

    I entered it in the fair as a tied quilt. I remember on the first day, walking into the fair building and searching among all the stacks of beautiful quilts, and the ones pinned to the wall and not seeing mine. I figured it must be in the very back because it was so crude and embarrassing. Finally I realized some were being displayed overhead, and looked up. I had won Sweepstakes!!! I was so astounded. Unbelievable. If I can find a picture and can figure how to put it on your Flickr site, I will.

    I learned that it doesn’t take 25 yards of fabric to make one quilt. I also learned later how to tie quilts with an “x” and travel between the sandwich so you don’t have to tie a knot and that lasts longer than the ties do. It is 20 years old now, and I suspect grandchildren have pulled a good deal of those ties out. It looks very road weary, but I still use it sometimes as a bedspread.

    I’ve been quilting ever since. My path has taken me to many quilting sites, and I’ve learned much from all the great quilters. I love the Internet. It’s so great and humbling to get to mingle with and learn from so many amazing people. I was an art major in college, and I’ve discovered that cloth is my medium. I prefer it over paints, glass, pottery, printmaking, and many other forms of art I’ve tried.

    I love your blog and have a long road of learning ahead of me with the fabulous things I’m learning here. Thanks for your generosity, Lori. This is one of my most favorite blogs.

  10. I just started quilting a year ago. I have sewed for over 45 years and tried hand quilting once, it wasn’t very pretty. I retired 2 years ago and decided to start machine quilting and my college suitemate taught me. My first project was a bed runner.

  11. My first quilt was actually made with waterbed sheets in 1980-81. We never did get the bed, just the sheets. So I took them apart, one a black print and one a cream print floral percale. I bought some batting and made it envelope style, then tied it. It was meant to be a beach blanket, which is exactly what we still use it for today. I can say, percale holds up really well!

  12. My first quilt was a sampler I started in a class. We made the blocks with cardboard templates. The first two classes I lugged my sewing machine to class. By the third class I pieced all the blocks with hand stitching. After several years of hand quilting I thought there was enough quilt stitches until I heard a lecture with Alex Anderson. I went home, pulled the quilt out and quilted some more. I finally finished my first quilt nine years after I started it 28 years ago. I still love quilting and the best friends I’ve gained through quilting.

  13. The summer of 1970 my grandmother finally said I had enough fabric saved from all my dressmaking efforts – dolls and people – to make a quilt, and she had a large bag of scraps to add too. It was all mixed fabric content. No pattern. Just pick up a piece and sew it to the next one. I finished each section at 18 inches square, then sewed the squares together. I kept asking about the patterns I had seen, grandma didn’t worry about those – she said I had lots of time to try those later, this one was about the process. She had grandpa help make a quilting frame that sat on a bed in an extra room at their house. A bed sheet was used for the backing. Batting back then was not polyester – cotton only was available – and it was delicate – you had to tease the layers apart that were folded together – and pat together any gouges you it. WE managed to get it layered and rolled up on the frame. And I tied it. Used “knit-cro-sheen” and it took a long time. I used it for 20 years as a bedspread. It went to college for my Junior – Senior years away from home. When anyone asked about the pattern, I said it was a utility quilt. It is well worn, and patched as some fibers could not stand up to the wear, Some of the ties would come untied, but I had left them long instead of cutting them short, retying was not an issue. I think it is in a trunk right now. I did move on to the quilts with an organized pattern, but I also sprinkle in a few utility quilts now and then. My quilting is sporadic, working a full time job does tend to limit the time available.

  14. I started quilting because I loved to sew and I wondered what all the fuss about quilting was. Well, I found out! I now have more quilting fabric than any other kind and I look through stacks of books at thrift stores searching for old & new quilt books. I’m only a beginner but I’m having lots of fun learning! Thanks for the tips you shared, they are so helpful!

  15. I started doing patchwork mid 2004. Five months later I began my first quilt, a half square triangle scrap quilt. Of course I didn’t have scrap at that stage so had to buy all my fabric but it was the beginning of my now very large stash.

  16. My first quilt was made as a project for a fabric design class I was taking in the late ’70’s. It was also for my screen printing class. I designed the screen printing to match the wallpaper in my bedroom and printed it on a white sheet. The screened fabric was soooooo stiff! With no instruction as to how to make a quilt, I blanket stitched the printed sheet, batting, and backing (sheet) together with embroidery thread with the edges pressed inside and embroidered the layers together (thinking crazy quilt). Even after many washings, which shredded the embroidery, the painted areas remained stiff. I did not take pictures of it. I learned that there are better ways to make inks for printing designs on fabric, embroidery thread is not perfect for quilting layers together, and quilts stay together better with binding! Also, it dawned on me to do some research before doing something I had never done before. Lol!

  17. I started quilting in 1988. I had gone to Amish country, Ohio with a friend and wanted a quilt but thought they were out of my budget( little did I know). When I got home I decided I’d make one! Well not knowing anything of quilting but remembering my Grandmother quilting and a book from the library that I’m sure had been there for many years I set out. I made cardboard templates and cut the fabric out with sissors. Long story short and many nightmares later I got my log cabin quilt done and even hand quilted it.
    If I had bought that quilt I wonder sometimes how my life would have gone. I’m sure I would have saved thousands of dollars but lost out on a world of enjoyment! There are no accidents so I’m sure I was destined to make quilts!! It’s my life and passion!!

  18. When my son left for college in 1986 he discovered that a friend in the dorm had a quilt with houses on it that his grandmother had made him and wanted to know if I would make one for him. My mother had made quilts with a cardboard square template so I made myself one and started cutting squares out of worn denim jeans. The chain fabric store that was in our town had a panel of red white and blue houses that I bought and cut into large squares and added the denim 4 patches around them, sandwiched the top, bagged batting, a back that I folded over to the top for binding and tied with red yarn. I was so proud of that quilt and my son loved it to shreds over time. A few years ago my daughter in law brought that quilt to me and wanted to know if I could possibly salvage some pieces to put into a quilt for each of their four children as a memento. Knowing your quilt was loved is a quilters dream! My skills have improved over time, I remember my mother being so excited when I first showed her a rotary cutter. I now have my own longarm, and piecing and quilting are my passion. I really enjoy your posts, thank you for sharing all that you do with us.

  19. I had been watching Simply Quilts with no intention of ever doing any quilting. I was never competent at sewing or using machinery in general. But I saw a pattern for an appliqué quilt of Southwestern motifs that I wanted to make for my husband. He had been doing hiking in the New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado area, and he liked the history and designs of the Native Americans. It wasn’t the first quilt I finished, but I did finish it, with some hand quilting and some machine quilting. The first one I finished was for my father’s 75th birthday. I made photo transfers of pictures of my dad, his 4 children and 4 grandchildren (at the time) at all about the same toddler age. I put them into a 9-patch arrangement for a wall quilt. It was a big hit. The one I started for my husband was probably too advanced for me, and a lot of the points of the triangles are cut off, but it is still something I’m proud of.

  20. My first quilt was a sampler quilt and it was totally hand sewn! ( even drafted our templates)! My friend Chris and I took a class from an Australian girl while we were living in the Philippines. It was four months of struggle and by the time I was done I was thinking I didn’t like quilting! Then Chris convinced me to try quilting using a sewing machine… I’m totally addicted now and look back on that first quilt with pride because I learned so much and I didn’t give up!

  21. My first quilt came with a doll pattern(1984). I loved the amish dolls with no faces, their cute little bonnets, and clothes, I made 2, a boy and girl,(36″ dolls) It had a 24 x 24 inch quilt with the pattern, it was all in jewel tones, and I had no idea what type of fabrics to use. The quilt was so pretty. When I finished, I sat them on an antique school desk in my living room, with an old school bell beside. I was hooked, I have made so many quilts since that time, from scissor cut blocks, to rotary cut ones. Love your firsty…soft and pretty.

  22. Wow, Lori — I made my first quilt from Quilts! Quilts! Quilts! as well! Yours looks lovely in the photos, although you’ve certainly come a long way since then!

  23. My first quilt was in 1982, when I was pregnant with my second baby. I made a gigantic log cabin quilt out of blue and green poly mixes. We used it on our bed for many years and then as a beach/picnic quilt. My second quilt was a baby quilt for that cute little baby. It was a split rail and she still has it. It is being used by her second baby, my granddaughter!
    I love your quilting inspiration! Thank you!

  24. I learned to sew in junior high. Bought my own sewing machine in ’73. Fell in love with the quilts my mother made in the late 70s and early 80s, hand sewn and quilted. Flash forward to 1994. I was deeply depressed and talking to my therapist about wanting to make a quilt like my mother had. With her encouragement, I trotted off to our local discount store and bought 2 shades on purple cotton/poly fabric, cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler. On New Years day 1995, I told my kids and husband to go away and don’t bother me. By the end of the day I had completed the top for a small lap quilt. A friend showed my how to sandwich, tie and bind this little baby. Did I mention that I had no pattern or directions? It was a simple checker board and hardly any of the seams matched.

    I’ve come a long way since then. Jettisoned the husband, launched the kids and still quilting. Seams match a little better. FMQ on my domestic machine and my HQ Avante. Still have issues with following directions. Tend to make things up as I go along. But that little purple baby is still here reminding me how far I’ve come. Always remember that anything is possible as long as no one says it’s impossible.

  25. In an early ’80’s quilting magazine, I saw a picture of a Lakota Sioux Indian quilt called “Flying Swallows.” I had to have it, but it wasn’t for sale. Around the same time, my husband was transferred to Saudi Arabia and, knowing that I would have a LOT of time on my hands, I bought fabric and carried that magazine and supplies with me across the ocean. I had to draft my own pattern and use cardboard templates to cut the pieces with scissors (rotary cutters were virtually unknown then), just as I had seen my husband’s grandmother do. My piecing was FAR from perfect but I somehow managed to quilt out the small mountain that arose in the middle. Despite its many flaws, I still love my first quilt. Here is a link to a picture if it:

  26. my first quilt was a new born blanket in 1995 and it was very difficult to hand quilting because the batting was too thick

  27. I began quilting in 1982 because I wished to make a crib quilt for my new niece. But of course I did not know where to begin, so I took a class. It was a sampler class and I learned a lot. I kept this one for myself, and it has been well loved.

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  29. I started bunch of quilts in the mid-nineties. One i finished (it is a small charm apple core) and the other….

    Well, it was improve pieced from my stash. Cottons and poly cottons, all pinks and blues, a holly hobbie panel in the middle.

    I decided to serge it together.

    Then I decided to hand quilt it.

    And use high loft poly batting.

    Needless to say, that is why it is still sitting at 75% done…

    Here’s a pic:

    I also did prairie points around three sides, not the top. Just to up the complexity factor.

  30. I started my first quilt in 2014 (started sewing in 2014), a Jenny Haskin’s. I bought my Elna 860 sewing machine because of my love of a particular quilt hanging on the wall of my sewing machine shop (needed embroidery unit). Since, then I’ve enrolled in another class for the Stitcher’s Garden quilt (to learn more techniques to use with my machine). Then I also started cutting a Storm at Sea quilt with a ASG guild member as a mentor. And then I started a block of the month with my Facebook treadle group using a Singer 15-90 Treadle. That makes 4 quilts since 2014. None of them finished. All completely different looking. Though I just completed 4 blocks last night. I would love to post a photo, but I’m at work, dreaming of finishing those quilts.

  31. 1996 I took my first quilt class. I subscribed to a magazine for two years prior. I was scared of all those matchy corners coming together. When I took the plunge I signed up for a 6 week class. First class she did an exercise with rotary cutters and I was hooked – no fidgeting all those corners together! My first quilt was a baby quilt with the Ohio star block. Fabrics were a fat quarter bundle of Easter fabrics. Quilting was straight line around and within the block design. I still have it and have pictures of it.
    Now I pick a pattern or color combo or fabric I love and just go for it. I have a few early quilt kits I am picking away with but even those I like to change up.
    Diane in Wyoming

  32. My first quilt was using double knit. I found I could not do a Lemoyne Star with double knit.I started quilting because I loved to sew and I wanted more of a creative challenge. I still have those double knit quilts because they last forever.

  33. My first quilt was a king size patriotic quilt I made for my brother, a truck driver. I saw a piece of material at the local fabric store and I new I had to do something for my brother but didn’t know what it would be. I talked to a friend and she showed me some quilting patterns. The one I chose had an Eagle in the center of it over navy blue surrounded by rectangle blocks. I loved the pattern and set out finding more patriotic material to make this project come to fruition. It took me well over 5 months to make and of course the winter months had already passed but I diligently put it together. Looking back now, I see all the mistakes I made but my brother uses it in his truck to this day during those cold winter months. I look at the picture of it now and again to see just how far I have come and the things I have learned since then. That was 4 years ago. I continue quilting today and love every minute of it. Not all quilts are that large either. By the way, I used a regular brother sewing machine with a 4″ throat to make that and still amazed I was able to pull it off. I bought a quilting/embroidery machine with an 11″ throat after that because I knew that was only the beginning of my quilting.

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