12 March, 2009

It's A Wonder...

... that I ever stuck with quilting when I look back at early patterns and the lack of instructions! I ran across this one, circa 1986, when I was searching for something else a few weeks ago. I remember mail-ordering this pattern back when my stash consisted of what I could fit inside a shoe box! (No kidding.)

..."use extra pattern to make cardboard templates"... "sew together and lay out in a pleasing arrangement" ... "add borders, mitering corners"...

This is a DOLL QUILT pattern, and certainly not written for a beginning quilter, not a word about grain line or how to miter a border. Quilting4U had a post on her blog last week featuring a similar pattern from the same era which caused me to reexamine this one. My very first quilt class (1983) was from simple xeroxed pages and a thin magazine publication. I had an excellent teacher back then who coached us through the pitfalls of cardboard templates and grain lines, thank goodness! I was then fearless (or foolish) enough to start adding more patterns, such as these, to my files. Despite all of that, a quilter was born! We've come a long way since then. Let's hear it for all the teachers, from those early days, who persevered to cultivate another generation of quilt makers despite the lack of books, patterns and tools that existed as recently as twenty-five years ago.

In response: Research has provided that the Olfa rotary cutter was introduced in 1979, we certainly didn't use these in that first class of mine in 1983, in fact I don't remember purchasing one until a few years later.
Life is Good!

21 comments:

Connie W said...

Just wondering, were there rotary cutters yet in 1983 or did they come later? I started quilting in 1999 so I was lucky to have them when I began. I probably would not be quilting if it required making cardboard templates.

Quilt Hollow said...

Ah yes, I remember cutting up cereal boxes for templates, straight of grain, scissors and everything I did was by hand. I may have been first in line for the rotary cutter...aka pizza cutter back then. I can still remember the first time I saw the use of GLUE for applique! OMG....that really through me as there were so many "rules" not to be broken back then. Indeed, quilting has come a long way baby...and for the good!!

Salem Stitcher said...

I began quilting in 1991 and my first class was taught by a woman who did everything by hand. She did teach us about rotary cutters, thank goodness. She also taught us how to draft our own patterns. As a former engineering draftswoman, that was the initial hook for me. Caught me like a fish.

Domestic Designer said...

When my grandmother taught me she didn't even use templates. She just cut and some how it worked. I don't know how but it did. Have a great day!

Libby said...

We have come a long way *s*

Quiltdivajulie said...

I made my first couple of quilts (more like quilt tops turned into fat polyfilled tied comforters) using cardboard templates... I treasure the vintage grandmothers' quilts that I have!!

The Calico Cat said...

We have come a long way - even thought my start happened at the turn of this century... I was foolish enough to have bias edges in one of my first projects. It's a good thing that I did not know that I needed to fear them.

Quilting4U said...

Hey, it really does make you think and appreciate how far you have come, doesn't it? Amazing we got this far considering how we started, But we have and how much fun each time we learn something new along the way! Thanks for sharing!

Carrie P. said...

I start to start a log cabin quilt on my own in 1978 from a magazine article. After cutting a few pieces with scissors I said no more. I gave the stuff to my grandma because she was a quilter and she turned around and gave it back to me finished. I really treasure that quilt. And I am glad the rotary cutter was invented. It made all the difference to me.

limpingalong said...

Back in the 60's I made my first quilt -- I put corduroy on one side and a bright juvenile print on the other -- stuffed it with puffy batting and hand quilted it in a feather pattern (when I didn't even know what a feather pattern was -- don't know where I got it!) It was pretty when finished and seemed to be well received but I've always wondered how it held up to washing. Oh, my, I've learned so much since then! Thank good for my BF who was patient with me as I learned how to "really" quilt.

*karendianne. said...

Respect to good mentors, good teachers and the willing student. It Takes Heart to keep the Art with Love, *karendianne.

YankeeQuilter said...

My first quilt was made of cardboard templates, cut with a scissors, and marked with a number 2 pencil! We've come a long way.....

Jeanne said...

Fun to look back and then appreciate what we have today. Sometimes, I think we have too much to choose from today. :)

Barb said...

Oh my, a whole bunch of us must have been in the same class! Bless *my* sweet friend from the church that hosted a weekly quilting class back in the 1980s. We made a sampler quilt...she took all of us to the fabric store, guided are thinking about color combos, and back to her house to begin! I learned a great deal from her, but now chatting with her weekly at church about *our* continued quilting, she also admits to how far quilting has progressed. Loved reading this blog entry, it gave me good thoughts and much gratitude for the improved patterns and tools!

Vicki said...

Yes, my first quilt was constructed much like yours. I had no idea about grain back then. I thought I had to follow all the hand made rules to be a "real" quilter. I have learned so much since then. We have so many great tools, patterns, designers and friends these days, don't we?!

Cheryl said...

That pattern reminds me of my very first quilt class, that I ended up not finishing. Boy we have come a long way!

meggie said...

Oh the rotary cutter is such a blessing! Luckily they were about when I began quilting, or I may never have persevered!!

Shasta said...

Yep, my first quilt was a storm at sea, using cardboard templates. I had a rotary cutter, but I didn't know how to use it.

I think I have gotten spoiled by all the explicit directions - how to cut, how to press, etc. in some of the patterns. Then when I go to an older pattern, or want to try out my own design, it is a huge learning curve to think for myself!

Nan said...

Ah, what I call the "dark ages" of quilting! I still have a couple of my old patterns, too. It's a wonder to me that I stayed with it. Today is soooooo much better, isn't it? I am very grateful to my rotary cutter and rulers, and I give thanks for them every day!

paula, the quilter said...

And don't forget the all encompassing "quilt as desired". *smile* It's good that we all persevered.

mamaspark said...

Now you could sell it as vintage!!