Friday, August 15, 2014

Quilt on a clothesline - First Applique Quilt

It was fall of 1998... Kids were back in school and I had little spare time on my hands for myself. After finishing the nine-patch and not being able to hand or machine quilt I still did not have a real quilt in my house. You know, I mean a completed quilt. I realized that the idea of having a hand made bed quilt was too far fetched. In my quilting group everyone was working on some or the other hand projects like embroidery, hand quilting, stitchery and knitting. I needed a hand project if I was going to continue working while I was getting to know my new friends.

I searched through my collection of quilt and doll patterns and found the applique pattern I had bought while I was in California and decided to make a quilt. 

Here is the pattern..

Can you believe the price? Only $5.69?

It's even harder to believe that I still have the pattern!

It was my first applique quilt, measured 26'' x 39''

Although there were no apples and pears, pumpkins and cornflowers that grew in any gardens I knew,
I had always loved birds since I was growing up in India. Little balcony off to our living room was our garden. My Father used to grow marigolds and zinnias, Arabian and star Jasmine. There were plenty birds like pigeons and sparrows making nests in those pots. I can smell the cool breeze from the Arabian Sea only couple of miles away that carried the sweet fragrance into our living room as I write this. He was the one who planted the seeds of gardening in all of us. To this day after almost 40+ years gardening is a common topic of conversation among us siblings.

After moving to Seattle, for the first time in my life, I saw birds like blue jays, northern flickers, gold finches, chickadee and Oregon junco. Obviously, the name of the pattern there's a bird in my garden had a greater meaning to me.

This was also my first attempt at embroidery.

This block was the toughest to applique. I gave up after few attempts and fused the leaves and flowers. Then went over and hand appliqued the bird on top and fused the leaves for the reddish.

I wish I had a better picture to crop and show you the signs of my first hand at applique. It wasn't pretty but still precious to me. I finished the quilt with hand quilting around the edges. Rust was my favorite color and fall in Washington was my favorite season. This quilt has packed many memories.

In 2003, my sister visited me in Seattle for the first time. She stood in my dining room staring at the quilt for quite some time. She loved it so much, she asked for it and happier that she has it hanging in her house.

This quilt was the beginning of my love for applique. The freedom of shapes and forms in the art of quilting. it is so different from making blocks, sticking to seam allowances and trying to be perfect every time! I wonder if this was the start of a bigger concept in my head.

Thank you for your response to this feature. I am glad you are enjoying reading about my journey. 

I can hardly wait for the next one!


  1. Applique is fun. I still have my first and only applique top. I've never quilted it. Perhaps it's time to get it out. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. what a nice story and how sweet that you gave the quilt to your sister -
    I love the birds of course and your description of the balcony and potted flowers

  3. I didn't notice the price tag as quickly as I saw the phrase 'bird in my garden'. I thought that was so appropriate for how you have come such a bird watcher as well as a flower & sky watcher. Heck, you are an every thing watcher!


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