Thursday, March 24, 2011

Down Memory Lane ~Irish Chain Quilt~

I wrote three posts about my quilts that I made in the past for Christopher, Michael and Rachel. I used "Down Memory Lane" as the title and as the intention of writing more about my other quilts.

Well, I forgot to do this for such a long time. I am going to write about my very first large quilt I made about 17 years ago, but before that let me tell you how my love for quilts and quilting got started...

Ever since I can remember I had a needle in my hand. I taught myself through lots of trial and errors... I tried to make my first quilt when I was 11, and I failed miserably. I didn't have a grandmother who made quilts, or classes that I could take. The next time I tried was when I was 17 and I had bought my first quilt book. I slowly tried my way up from small projects.

Growing up my sister and I always watched "Little house on the prairie". There were scenes where Mary and Laura were talking before they went to sleep, but my eyes were glued to those quilts on the bed. I really wanted to make one for myself. I know that's how my love for quilts started. I think that is why my early quilts were all very traditional or pioneer style (and there are other movies that had quilts in it, I loved that quilt in You've Got Mail. You know the scene when Meg Ryan was sick in bed and Tom Hanks visited her? The quilt was so pretty. I was paying more attention to the quilts than what they were saying when I first watched the movie).

Also, I thought "doing all by hand" is so fascinating and somewhat romantic. So, the cutting, piecing and quilting I have done ALL BY HAND. Now? Oh no, I still love quilting by hand, but I LOVE machine piecing. Also, I have a special place in my heart for whoever invented the rotary cutting system.

I have a book called "Old Swedish Quilts" by Åsa Wettre. The book contains a rich history of quilting, where it originated, how people lived around that era and such. It is very educational and insightful, I would recommend that you read it someday. There are many interesting things that I want to share with you from the book, but let me share this one part with you. Actually, this one part made me decide to make this Irish chain quilt in the first place.

"A tradition, which had its origin in England, stipulated that a girl must have twelve patchwork quilts in her dowry. The thirteenth was her wedding quilt and would be made only if she married. It was the most beautiful one, often with embroidery and with heart-shaped designs in the stitching."

Wow... girls must have twelve quilts; the thirteenth was her wedding quilt... A couple of things; first of all, I am not English as you all know, but at the time I was engaged to my husband, (Ok, probably my brain was heart shaped and rosy pink from romance at the time) I REALLY wanted to make some special quilts for our wedding. Second, I bet those 12 quilts were done by many people back then, there was no way I could have made all 12 quilts and the "special" 13th quilt all by myself in several months. Not to mention that I did everything by hand at the time.

I designed my very first big quilt project on a piece of paper and started cutting the fabric. It took me more than 6 month to complete this one start to finish, and I made a Double Wedding Ring quilt and Grandma's flower garden quilts afterwards (I promise to share the story in the near future).

Over the years, my taste in quilts changed quite a bit, but I know my roots is in the traditional style. I would LOVE to make a Baltimore quilt someday!

I have favor to ask you all... do you have any movies that you like that had quilts in it that you liked? I know there are lots more I have seen, but I can't remember them all. If you have your favorite, please share it with me. :)


  1. Oh I loved all of the quilts in Little Women, I always found myself staring at them in awe! Also How to Make an American Quilt of course is a good one! =)

  2. I watched Little Women a long time ago, but I don't remember seeing any quilt. I need to watch it again!

  3. At BYUH the Hawaiian ladies who worked in the Hawaiian section of that library would sit and quilt. They would hand quilt Hawaiian quilts together, stitch by stitch until each project would be finished. So beautiful!

  4. It's a very beautiful quilt! Love the colours and the quilting :)

  5. Beautifull quilt ;)

  6. Your quilts are beautiful! I don't remember any from movies, off-hand but I do love reading the Amish fiction books, especially the parts where they go to a quilting bee. It seems like such a wonderful idea - women coming together for friendship, conversation and then making something beautiful at the same time. My grandmother quilted and those are some of my favorite things in the world. I would also like to try my hand at it but am wondering how in the world to tackle the quilting aspect of it without a big stretcher for it. Maybe you could share how you do it in an upcoming post?

    PS. Praying for you, your family and all those suffering from the earthquake.

  7. The best quilt movie I know is How to Make an American Quilt. I was watching the BBC Jane Eyre, I think it's from 2006, and there are a couple of beautiful quilts in there. There are also some very interesting bed covers (some quilts, some afghans) in Nanny McPhee. I love your Irish Chain, it's beautiful. I first learned to quilt from my great-grandmother, and she taught me to do everything by hand except quilt. The first one I made is a very small 5-patch doll-size quilt, and Grandma Irene taught me how to tie a quilt. I learned to quilt on my own. But like you, I love to hand quilt. I'll either piece or quilt by hand, but not both. Right now, I'm working on a honeycomb quilt for my niece. I did the top by hand with English paper piecing, but I'm quilting it by machine.

  8. We have a family tradition of tying a quilt at bridal showers. It is much more fun to sit around a quilt talking with one another and getting to know the new in-laws. I have fond memories of being too small to help, so I played underneath the quilt while it was on its frames. As I grew taller, I remember learning how to tie and help. Now, my grandma has passed the assignment down and I'm the one making the quilts. I also have the joy of sitting with my sisters after the shower is over, finishing up what did not get finished so we can take the quilt down. It really is a wonderful, bonding experience.

  9. I have an image in my head of a scene from a movie, but can't for the life of me place it. Can I comment anyway?

    The first quilt I ever made (I've only made three...) was when I was engaged, and for our wedding. I even based our wedding colors around it. It was just a small lap quilt, and actually came from a kit. But I did all the quilting by hand. We put it in storage when we moved six years ago, and I haven't thought of it since. Now I want to go pull it out. I have so many memories of quilting it and daydreaming of my future married life :)
    Thanks for this post.

  10. I absolutely love the quilts in _Seven Brides for Seven Brothers_! I've seen the dvd several times and am sure we spent less than $10 for it. Not only are there wonderful quilts in the book, many of the costumes for the movie had elements of patchwork.

  11. Your quilt is so lovely!

    My favorite movie quilt is on Phil Connors' (Bill Murray) bed in the movie Groundhog Day. You see it so much, it's practically a character in the film. It's a Triple Irish Chain of floral prints on a white background - I've been wanting to copy it for years. Someday!


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