First & Last Quilts…. kind of

Well, I have finally caved to peer pressure. MANY of you have been tormenting me for days…. you know exactly who you are… Camille and others…. about joining these festivities that Carrie and Camille started last week. What were you gals thinking of anyway? You all just needed something good to chuckle about didn't you? Slow summer :-)…?

I kept telling you that I had absolutely no idea where my first quilt was or exactly how to find it.  You didn't believe me. I know it sounded like an excuse. But it is all true. Really! 
I finally went through my quilt closets this morning and couldn't find any trace of it. I know I still have it somewhere, its just been a long time since I actually located it. 

On a side note, our local quilt shop did this kind of contest a couple of years ago, matching first quilts to designers. Nobody, and I mean nobody, attached mine to me!

The story of that quilt….
The first year that Eric and I were married, we moved away from the community that both of us had lived in for several years post college and so found ourselves in our first year of marriage with a lot of time on our hands. We spent most of it together, exploring our new town and enjoying being married. Sometime that first summer, I was walking through our local shopping mall [ you know the giant 80's indoor kind] when I felt like walking into the local quilt shop. Without really thinking about it, I bought a book, signed up for a drop-in class and started working on my first quilt. A Log cabin where I mixed homespun wovens with Debbie Mumm novelty fabrics in colors of forest green, barn red, tan, navy blue and whatever other color happened to exist in those novelty prints. Does that give you a good visual? 
But better yet, I am not sure what the store was doing to assist us, because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and just started sewing on strips to a small red center. I would cut them off as I went. The blocks kept getting bigger and I ASSUMED they would all be the same size when I finished. Well we all know what happens when you ASSUME! Needless to say, my finished blocks were anywhere from 8" to 11"! 
And then I proceeded to try to fit them together. Some needed to have random pieces added to them. Some of them got cut down. Some of them were made to fit… I am not sure exactly how!

Its really a wonder that I ever made another quilt again. I quilted it in the ditch myself and used a dark green flannel sheet as the backing… a new dark green flannel sheet. Would anyone like to guess what happened the first time my creation was washed?  Not only did the joining stitches of many of the ill-sized blocks come out, but the dark green bled through to the front in many places.  It was a beauty, needless to say and although I really don't have a picture of it to show you, I am confident that you have a mental picture and lets just hope that its better than the real thing!

So instead, you are going to have to settle for the 2nd quilt which is a much more simple pattern and color scheme. I guess I learned something on that first experience. I got addicted to these railfence patterns and made many as gifts and kept this one as "my favorite". Don't ask, I don't know! My family and close friends are blessed with some of those others.

I also found these 2 others that I had forgotten I had. Soon after teaching myself to quilt, I started making little wall hangings, etc. and selling them at local craft fairs… My business was called Figlets and YES, people did buy them. You have to remember this was the mid 90's and "country" was IN. Again these were apparently 2 of my favorites that I couldn't part with.

I was very proud of these stars. They were the first non square pieces that I had ever done and the fact that they even came close to matching & not losing their points was QUITE an accomplishment for me.


Now for the latest quilt that I have finished… It's a little embarrassing to admit but these days I have help on almost all of my quilts and can't take full credit for hardly any of them. So here is a thank you to all of my sewers, pattern testers, quilter and anyone else who helps these lovelies come to fruition. Thank you so much!

Having said that, I did this one, Madeline, for this last Market. And she is easily one of my all time favorites. When she returns from her Trunk Show schedule, she will hang in my studio. Can't wait.


And this little framed version too… made from Mill House Inn.


And a lot of this one…  French Kiss. Which is one of those super fun techniques that I just love to work with. Inspired by a vintage quilt that I saw a long time ago, this version is just so fun to make! No templates or specialty rulers or anything, just strip cutting and piecing. Love it!


And the Mill House Inn version, all pieced.


Sorry that I don't have actual styled pictures, just pattern covers today. I am working remotely on my laptop and these are the only images I have here.

Oh yeah, and if all else fails, Carrie suggested distraction techniques with cute kids…. so I thought I would try that…


Can't wait to see everyone else's quilts tomorrow at the parade of quilts.
Talk soon.

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  1. sherri | 12th Jul 09

    Thanks so much for sharing…it’s been fun to see all of these quilts from the 80’s and 90’s…lots of us started quilting in the Debbie Mumm era! Love the latest ones, of course! I recently made “Madeline” and it was so much fun/1 I need to think of someone I can give one to so I can make another!

  2. Julia | 12th Jul 09

    I’m new to your blog but am totally impressed with your work. I love the quilt with the dress on it and was completely distracted by your beautiful child!! (I have 10 children so I’m easily distracted!) I just finished the top of my very FIRST quilt (posted it on my blog to join the “Parade of Quilts)and am so excited. I didn’t have ANY help, so that makes me even happier! (you know, the “I can do it myself” syndrome.)
    Anyway, kudos to your second quilt! It’s beautiful, and I’m sure your first wasn’t THAT bad…

  3. Camille Roskelley | 13th Jul 09

    He he… love the visual of that first quilt. Sounds like a good one to me! Your second one turned out just fine, although it is strange to see anything from Joanna that isn’t fig tree cream and green. Doesn’t look very Joanna-y!

    You already know I love all of your new stuff. And believe it or not, I AM going to make one of your quilts this summer. Oh yeah, I was supposed to make Jelly Girl today. Darn it… totally spaced it… 😉

    One more thing- that is one darn cute little girl you got there. Nice work!

  4. Stephanie | 13th Jul 09

    Debbie Mumm and Thimbleberries were THE rage when I first started quilting. Oh your poor first quilt…love the Figlets. But oh your recent designs and fabrics are just gorgeous.

  5. Carol | 13th Jul 09

    OMG Joanna…that can’t possibly be that baby girl that was just born a market or two ago…LOL! She is just beautiful!

  6. jaybird | 13th Jul 09

    see it wasn’t that painful right? better than the visual than your first quilt.. i love that you do still have it.. somewhere… i probably would have thrown it out if it fell apart like that… and quilt #2… gotta love the rail fence… so simple but so pretty… my first quilt i ever designed on my own was a rail fence.. with a medallion center… and your new ones.. yeah we all know how i feel about them… i’m a fig addict. 🙂

  7. rachel | 13th Jul 09

    yayyy to peer pressure!!!
    we heart you…we really do!!!

    and i have to agree with camille…
    it’s SO weird to see a quilt of yours that isn’t figgy.

  8. dotti white | 13th Jul 09

    I probably would not have matched that quilt to you either even though it is very sweet! Your precious girl is absolutely adorable! Thanks for sharing your beautiful work!

  9. Joy James | 13th Jul 09

    The cute child trick worked. She is just sooo beautiful. I would never have put those quilts to you. Not at all your style now but I still love them.

  10. Mary on Lake Pulaski | 13th Jul 09

    Thanks for reliving that fun time in your life creating that first quilt! Your current work is just so amazing – I could look at it all day long.

  11. Carole Prévost-Meier | 14th Jul 09

    As I read numerous post on “fist quilts”, I don’t feel so out of place. As a matter of fact, until last year, I felt aweful about my first quilt, mainly due to seeing “first quilt entries” in the Vermont quilt show. I just couldn’t believe that people created masterpieces as a first quilt. How depressing it was to view such entries!

    It wasn’t until I went to the Ricky Tims super seminar and saw his first quilt in person that I knew I was normal, and all those first quilt people entry were cheating! lol As I continue to see other first quilts from my favourite designer, I’m a piece with my first quilt as disaster.

    My first experience was such a disaster that I wasn’t even going to quilt as a hobby. I’m glad I gave it one more try!

    Love your work! Can’t wait to get your new line in my shoppe! Cheers!

  12. vivi | 14th Jul 09

    wow! lovely works
    the one with the squares is pretty
    i love visiting your blog

  13. Lissa | 14th Jul 09

    You Rock!

  14. Carrie P. | 15th Jul 09

    So glad you decided to share your quilts. Such a difference is colors. Very “cute kid.”

  15. Magnolia Bay Quilts | 18th Jul 09

    Glad you caved. Figlets? How cute!

    I love your most recent quilts, and even though the description of the first quilt was enough to get the picture, I’m sure you were very proud of it when you made it.

    Your daughter is beautiful. What a sweet little face!

  16. Louise | 22nd Jul 09

    Your music is just what I like and I feel young, younger than my age 70+

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