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My First Quilt

by Lynn Wiltzius
(Chehalis, WA USA)

I learned to quilt from my mother and grandmother.

When we lived in MD and I was still in High School. My mother met with a quilt group every week. They quilted much like they did in the 1800’s.

When we would go pick my mother up, I would look over all the quilts and patterns they had out. I fell in love with the Double Wedding Ring designs.

I then asked my mother to make me a Double Wedding Ring quilt. I had told myself I was not interested in quilting; because that’s mothers interest not mine.

After waiting for her to start it, not knowing she didn’t really want to make it - she asked me, “Why don’t you make it yourself?” At first I thought, “Sure, I can do this.” Not realizing the Double Wedding Ring was not a “starter” quilt.

After graduation, we moved to WA State.

When my mother checked out the shops in WA, I usually went along. We started looking at colors for the DWR quilt, and decided on blue, because that was one of my favorite colors. We then started purchasing the blues that would go in the quilt. When all the blues where found, mom and I sat down to work on the preparation of the quilt.

We used cardboard as patterns, and hand marked the fabrics to cut. I would then cut each piece out, grouping them and basting the groups together. I worked on each arc till I had 4 arcs and then sewed them (all by hand) onto the blue background fabric. As time went on, so did the quilt.

I worked on it in WA and then
later in OK where I moved to.

While in OK, I married my next door neighbor. He talked me into finishing the quilt. He would watch me piece by hand. When I looked “bored” he would remind me of the DWR quilt that needed to be finished.

I would then pull out the box of pieces and start working on my project. We moved back to WA. I kept the box handy and worked on the pieces every chance I got. He even made me a quilt frame to finish the quilt. I finished quilting it in 1984.

I would quilt on the quilt frame every chance I could get. That quilt frame was so big; it barely fit in the living room of our apartment. We had to move it to get what we wanted. I used a rose pattern in the center of the quilt, which is my favorite flower.

I read a lot of magazines back then. I wanted to show my first quilt off. I had loved every step of the process. I contacted the magazines around 1992, and was asked to send 3 of my quilts in to them. I mailed the quilts to FL where photos were taken and within a year, the DWR quilt was featured in at least 2 magazines. QUILT and QUILT WORLD featured the quilt in their magazines. The other two quilts where in a couple of their issues as well.

Today, the DWR quilt is wearing out, is carefully folded, and put away for special occasions. My husband still loves that quilt. I still hand piece and hand quilt. I’m thankful to my mother and grandmother for the gift of quilting.

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