Patchwork Quilts Then and Now

I’m jumping on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon (#tbt) and posting this image of me with a patchwork quilt I made many years ago. It was the second quilt I’d ever made, a wedding gift for a friend, from pattern by Eleanor Burns.

Me with my second patchwork quilt, about 25 years ago.

It’s surprising, really, that it came out as well as it did, considering how little I knew about how to make a patchwork quilt. Nor did I have the tools and resources available today.

For example, not only did I make this quilt without a rotary cutter and ruler, I tore the fabric strips instead of cutting them. I just didn’t know any better.

My quilting left a lot to be desired, too. I used a combination of tie-quilt and stitch-in-the-ditch techniques; free-motion quilting wasn’t on my radar then, either.

Of course, I was just a beginner. And I’m still proud of that quilt. But if I’d had resources like the book Vintage Quilt Revival, I’m sure I would have learned patchwork techniques much faster. (Not to mention if I’d had pre-cut jelly rolls instead of my ripped fabric!)

Today, I’m inspired by the patchwork quilt patterns in magazines like Modern Patchwork. I love traditional blocks like log cabin and courthouse steps made contemporary with fabric choices, scale variations, and free-motion quilting.

modern patchwork quilt log cabin tara faughnan
The kind of patchwork quilt I’m drawn to today: Modern Log Cabin quilt by Tara Faughnan, featured in Modern Patchwork magazine, Spring 2014.

Plus, resources like these and many others offer tips on techniques like strip piecing and improvisational cutting.

So, while it’s fun to celebrate “Throwback Thursday,” it’s even more fun to look forward to new patchwork projects and my next handmade patchwork quilt design from all the resources in the Quilting Daily shop.

P.S. Tell me about your first (or second) quilt. How does it differ from quilts you make today?

Other topics you may enjoy:


How to Quilt, Patchwork Quilts, Quilting Daily Blog, Quilting for Beginners

5 thoughts on “Patchwork Quilts Then and Now

  1. Look how cute your hairdo is. Such a ‘with it’ style! So, why didn’t you give yourself a little slack when referring to the techniques you were using for that quilt? Nobody else was using rotary cutters. Free motion quilting wasn’t even considered quilting if you wanted to submit your work to a juried show. You didn’t mention that you used nothing but solids. Were they 100% cotton?

    We have all come a long way and you should be celebrating the basics you learned. I bet your friend is still using that quilt and loving every stitch you put into it.

  2. Vivika,

    Thanks for taking us all back to our beginnings. I’m glad you are still proud of that quilt. We all have to start somewhere and jump in with both feet. Starting any new skill is a risk, and you risked big time with a very significant occasion! It turned out well and most importantly, you continued to quilt, learn and evolve.

    Those traditional blocks like log cabin continue to attract us with the sense of order and symmetry. Stay inspired and keep going!

  3. What’s wrong with that quilt? Was it made with love and good intentions?

    Begin Soap Box Time – You don’t need rotary cutters, mats, rulers, and fancy sewing machines to build quilts. A lot of free motion quilting I’ve seen takes away from the piecing. You also don’t need 100% cotton from a quilt shop to make a quilt. Quilt making in this country was about making something warm and useful with what you had, once upon a time. – End Soap Box Time

    Okay, I’m going to go back to my quilt frame so I can get this quilt finished for my niece’s wedding that is made from blocks my mother made before she passed away, using all the techniques you are dismissing. Bet she will cherish it.

  4. My first quilt was also an Eleanor Burns pattern, a sampler with pioneer-themed blocks, and I used the old traditional calicos – omigosh! And I stitched in the ditch. And now I’m making scrappy quilts, hoping to use up some of the older fabrics in my stash so I can justify going out to buy the modern. I am also doing a lot more free-motion quilting – luv it.
    Thanks for making me stop to think about how far I’ve come.

  5. My first quilt was about 25 yrs ago too. I had a simple pattern out if a magazine. I knew nothing about quilting. I didn’t know that “stitch as desired” meant to quilt it. I thought the piecing part was quilting. It was a baby quilt for my new sister-in-law. Needless to say it fell apart in the wash.