The Story behind my First Quilt...

This week I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my quilting journey and I thought it would be appropriate to share my thoughts with you, today of all days. Today is my LLC’s 9th Anniversary, which has had its own journey that I can share more about another day. But today, I want to focus on how I got my start into quilting.

Sometimes, I hear how other people got their start into quilting and I feel so abby normal. I didn’t take the traditional route, so to speak.

Here’s My Story:

In 2018, I designed my first quilt, Backyard Meadow, in Adobe Illustrator. The design was very ambitious and I can even recall my mom, saying “don’t you want to start with something simpler”? But I was determined to just go for it. 

The quilt had large pieces. I cut some on the fold, much like when making clothes. The center piece was a huge square and on-point to boot. Which, at the time, I didn’t even know the term on-point. The quilt also included stitch and flip pieces, again that technique had a name. Finally, and probably the most ambitious of all was the border, there were these large elongated triangles. I know it took me a few tries to get those pieced just right.

There are times that I look back at that quilt and think, was I nuts? Maybe. I should have listened to my mom and gone with a simpler design. Then other times I get scared that people won’t believe that was truly my first quilt. There’s no way that could be someone’s first quilt! But it indeed was!

I had just finished taking Bonnie Christine’s, Immersion, course on surface pattern design and was on a high. I had just finished designing a surface pattern collection and I wanted to take those designs and make something physical, a quilt was my goal. So, I began playing with shapes in Adobe and came up with the Backyard Meadow quilt. 

Up until this point I had sewn very little, but I used to watch my mom sew clothes for me and my brother. Also, when I was young, I made a few pillowcases along side my grandmother. Then, after my grandmothers passing, my mom and I became interested in quilting as we sorted through all of her fabric. In 2017, I sewed a few random blocks and made a patchwork heart pillow.

So, the Backyard Meadow quilt was my first! I’ve been trying to think of the perfect answer, to someone that questions if it was really my first. And, the fact of the matter is, I wanted to test myself. I could have started with something simpler but that’s not really my style. I either go all in or don’t go in at all. So, I went all in and absolutely loved the process and outcome. Would I go back and do things differently, absolutely, but it’s a pretty fabulous first stab at quilting. If I do say so myself!

After taking that leap, in 2019, I stepped back to learn as much as I could about quilting and made two quilts. The first was the Butterfly Patch Quilt Pattern by Lella Boutique Patterns. Then, the second was a free pattern on FreeSpirit Fabrics website called the Confetti Quilt Pattern by Tula Pink.

Continuing on with my education on quilting, in 2020, I made another quilt by Then Came June named the Meadowland Quilt Pattern. After making those quilts, I had the bug to design my own. And, that first design was Henry the Pinata. Originally I had designed and made Henry the Pinata just for myself, to celebrate Fiesta. But, when I took it to my local quilt shop for their long-arming service, they requested a quilt pattern. I was so afraid! I had only made four quilts up until this point. I wasn’t sure I had the skills. But with the encouragement of others, I yet again went all in.

Now three years and thirteen quilt patterns later, I’m so glad and grateful that I went all in. Designing and writing quilt patterns, I believe is a part of my calling. I absolutely love every aspect of the process and being a part of an amazing quilting community. So, thank you for joining my journey as we progress in the quilting world together. I’m not sure what the next step might be, but I do know one question I’ll have to ask myself… Are you ready to go all in?

My First Quilt... Backyard Meadow

Kelly Renay's First Quilt, Backyard Meadow

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