Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Sampler Quilt

Well - here it is, all finished and ready to go on the bed. I can't believe it is finally finished. Although it is in need of a name still.

When the kids were all quite young, Jessica and Eric were in Elementary school and Andrew was just a baby I decided to go to college and become a nurse. It was about 1986. I started taking the pre-requiste courses and then the required course etc, going to school full time for almost 5 years. It was alot of work at the time. The kids were great and would be quiet when I studied in the evening and Andrew was a great little baby that loved to sleep!! I finally graduated in 1991. I got a job at the hospital I still work at - UBC. After working for awhile I realized that I had all this time off - where I wasn't working, and didn't need to read textbooks, go to school everyday and study - and I didn't know what to do with myself - What did I do before school and studying? I decided I needed a hobby. One day a co-worker brought a quilt top she was making in a sampler course she was taking. I just loved the colours and the patterns (her quilt was a lovely pastel purple and pink colour) and I decided I was going to sign up for the next sampler course. I started the course in 1993 in the spring. I decided to make 20 blocks - very smart! Each block is 12 inches finished. No one in my family ever quilted. I came from needleworkers, kniting, crochet, embroidery, etc. My obsession with quilting and fabric began!!

Most of the blocks are done all by hand. The instructor had us making templates for everything - no rotary cutting. We made two templates for each piece - one for the sewing line and one a 1/4 inch larger for the cutting line. The only blocks sewn on the machine are the log cabin and rail fence blocks. No wonder it took 13 years. The entire quilt is also hand quilted - I figured if I was going to put that much effort into it - I would hand quilt it all. The one thing I did do which helped get it completed in 13 years instead of ?? I got a quilter with a long arm to baste the three layers together for me -- basting is such a labour intensive job - and needs alot of floor space (that is not oak!!) I never really stopped working on it in the 13 years. It was always there - in the background - a few more blocks completed - the sashing to sew on (this was done by machine) I bought all the fabric when I started it in 1993. So in the end when I needed the binding fabric I still had enough left over of the burgandy from the outer border (and it is also in the body of the quilt). I can't even remember how much all the fabric cost -- over $300.00 I think.

At first I thought it was very foolish of me to start quilting with such a large quilt. But in the end this quilt became a good teacher. In the 13 years I've become a better quilter. I've started and completed many projects since staring this quilt. I found a hobby.

Jessica is now almost 28 and getting married in a few weeks. Eric is 25 and Andrew (who still loves to sleep) is now 20. To think that when I started this quilt Andrew was 7 years old. My life in a quilt. Posted by Picasa


  1. Pam - alovely quilt in a very nice colour scheme - you know the saying goes; good things come to those who wait :o)

  2. What a neat story. At least you finished it, even though it took many years, others may have left it in the unfinished pile for given away by now. What a neat quilt with great memories.

  3. Wow, that quilt has quite a history!! It is beautiful! I would like to make a sampler quilt soon.