My First Quilt
by Marsha Bradford
I have been quilting for many years and still my best memories come from my very first quilt. A Sun Bonnet Sue pattern was an ambitious choice for a beginner, but ignorance is bliss. I dove into the project with a limited budget, so I was fortunate to get by with remnants for the blocks.
I embellished each little hat - ribbons and buttons for the girls and decorative stitches for the boys. I was reacquainting myself with my sewing machine and brushing up on my design skills I learned in college.
I didn’t worry about how long it took until I realized Christmas was only a few months away. I decided to finish this quilt and gift it to my mother. She always had a fondness for dolls. I knew she would love it.
I finished all the blocks, then used neutral fabric for the sashing. The rest of the quilt top came together quickly. Sandwiching a large quilt proved challenging. I originally pin basted it, but the quilt wiggled under my nervous fingers, so I took out the pins and basted it with needle and thread.
I was overwhelmed with choices for quilting designs. Given my time constraints, budget, and inexperience, I chose to keep it simple and use what I had on hand. I used a tulip stencil to mark a flower where the sashings met and cardboard from a Kleenex box to create a wavy line. I outlined each Sue and Sam with stitches and finished with two days to spare before Christmas Eve.
I confirmed the old adage that it is more fun to give than to receive, especially when that gift is a handmade quilt crafted with love, care, and ample help from my new-found friend Jack the seam ripper.
My mom unwrapped the box and caught her breath as she looked at her present. “You didn’t!”
With a chuckle, I replied, “Yes, I did!”
She adored it. In fact, I had to convince her to use it because she treasured it so much that she wanted to keep it safe. My mom has since passed away and the quilt returned home to me. When I hold it, I recall warm, loving memories.
Making a quilt is more than sewing, it is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and care we have for our friends and family. I am honored to carry on this tradition.