My First Quilt: Rob Appell

My First Quilt: Rob Appell

Today we welcome Rob Appell from Man Sewing as our final “My First Quilt” story for National Quilting Month. Take it away, Rob!

Rob Appell

My first quilt was made from the remnants of a sewing project that didn’t go exactly as planned. I had wanted to make a beach scene aloha shirt, but things had gone south, so I made the best of the situation and created a quilt. It was a patchwork top, mostly squares and rectangles of batik and a fabric line called Fossil Fern. It also included some richly textured Osnaburg fabrics as well. I had a desire to try free motion, so I made a basic patchwork top from all those cool tropical fabrics, tried some appliqué, and began free motion quilting. From this first attempt, not too many things have really changed in my approach to quilting, although I’ve improved a lot.

It was my second quilt that was the big deal for me. It was the quilt, The Dolphin Dance, that spurred me on to designing quilts for a living. Eventually, this pattern was featured in a refresh tutorial called Simple Strip Scramble through the Man Sewing YouTube channel. This is the quilt I always begin my trunk shows with. It’s also the quilt that gave me enough of a boost of confidence to choose quilting as a lifestyle.

Rob Strip Scramble Quilt

 

Strip Scramble Quilt
Back in 2001, when I began creating The Dolphin Dance, I was in a big rush to make the quilt top, I had about three hours to spare. You know how you get one of those ideas that just comes out all at once? I wanted to try to learn how to free motion quilt, but I only had one night to construct a top. I was stitching patchwork rows and I began running low on time. I was initially going to use larger panel style pieces for appliqué, but then I decided to patchwork in the 10” x 10” panels to save time. And that was the ticket. It became a teachable technique, and helped launch my career as an “edutainer.”

With this project, I taught myself to free motion quilt and today I show it as my first real work, then at the end of my shows I display more current quilts from Man Sewing tutorials, and, of course, the free motion quilting is much better on those quilts. Since 2001, I have made over 200 quilts from start to finish and I do feel that my work has greatly improved. It is not perfect, nor will it ever be, but I love to make quilt tops, and I love to finish them with free motion machine quilting in the end.


Quilts are such a fun way to express ourselves through color and movement. I think it is amazing how many different things I still want to learn and to share. I love to take work that I have created and build on the ideas and techniques that I’ve gained over the years. I use a ton of strip set building for base work in my quilting. I love to make strips, then cut them, scramble them, and rebuild. I have learned to use these methods to create interesting layers for appliqué as well as fun patchwork quilts that make you wonder, “How was that pieced?”

We all improve with the time we spend in our craft, whether it is by stretching our imaginations, or simply sewing a straighter seam. I encourage everyone to try something new every day, look for the adventure in life, and pursue happiness with every stitch.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the My First Quilt series throughout National Quilting Month, which, if we’re being honest, if every month for us! Be sure to share all of your quilts, sewing projects and stories with us using #msqcshowandtell and #makesomethingtoday. Happy quilting, friends! 

 

My First Quilt: Nichole Spravzoff

My First Quilt: Nichole Spravzoff

The next installment of our “My First Quilt” series for National Quilting Month comes from one of our wonderful Missouri Star Quilt Co. team members. Nichole is our fearless senior copywriter, who spends her workdays crafting quilty stories and quips for all of us to enjoy! Read on to learn all about Nichole’s first quilt and why she made it.

My First Quilt: Nichole Spravzoff

Back in 1999, I was a moody teenager, more interested in tattooed boys than my school work. Most Friday nights I hung out at all-ages clubs full of spiky-headed youth, but occasionally I would spend my time pursuing milder hobbies. It was a few months before graduation that my cousin, Joy, suggested we make quilts together. I wasn’t against it, but I had no idea where to start. My generous aunt helped us procure all the necessary tools and showed us how the sewing machine worked. It seemed kind of cheeky to take a quilt, something associated with our grandmothers’ generation, and make it our own.

We planned out our patterns on graph paper. Mine was an ambitious design featuring my favorite mopeds appliqued around the edge with the Vespa logo in the center. I had no idea what I’d taken on. I didn’t even own a scooter, but I loved the idea of hopping on a cute, mint green Vespa and jetting around town. It seemed like a simple enough design in pink and black squares, but reality hit me when I began ironing on all those little scooter pieces and satin-stitching around the edges. It definitely tested my patience! The result wasn’t perfect by any means, but it is a tribute to the ingenuity of ignorance and, of course, scooters.

My First Quilt: Nichole Spravzoff

Now I look back on my first quilt, 19 years later, and I realize how much I’ve learned about myself. I don’t long to own a scooter anymore, and I never did ride on one. As I finished college, I abandoned quilting for a time, but my interest in quilting resurfaced again in a big way about ten years ago when I stepped into the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon. The walls were lined with gorgeous quilts and I couldn’t stop myself from purchasing a bundle of fabric and planning to begin another project right then and there.

Once again, it was a pattern that I might not take on today, and in fabrics that I wouldn’t necessarily choose again, but I stuck with it, and 11 months later, I had hand-quilted my second, real quilt. The blocks were a variation on the Schoolhouse pattern, but made to my own specifications in 1800s reproduction fabrics. It was a doozy!

My First Quilt: Nichole Spravzoff

These days, I prefer to work in an eclectic modern palette with brighter colors and playful fabrics. I love Japanese prints and using the entire spectrum of solids. Sometimes I even sneak in a vintage print for fun. And I’m sure my tastes will shift again as I grow older. That’s the beauty of quilting. It grows with you. It changes as you do. It can be as easy or as complex as you wish it to be. However you choose to quilt, make it your own and, most of all, enjoy the process!

If you want to jump into quilting, Nichole recommends Couch to Quilt! This all-inclusive box of quilting supplies includes everything (minus the sewing machine) you need to make a crib-size quilt. Click HERE to shop now! 

 

 

Four Leaf Clover Block

Four Leaf Clover Block

Four Leaf Clover Block

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and before we start enjoying corned beef and cabbage, let’s make a Four Leaf Clover quilt block that is sure to bring us luck throughout the year!

Watch Misty and Jenny Fish explain how to create a lucky four leaf clover block in our March 6 Live Video below.

Download the instructions HERE!

This festive block is inspired by the Garden Party Quilt. Watch the tutorial below:

Be sure to share all of your creations with us on social media using #msqcshowandtell and #makesomethingtoday!

 

 

My First Quilt: Jenny Doan

My First Quilt: Jenny Doan

It’s March, and we all know what that means, it’s National Quilting Month, an entire 31 days dedicated to cutting, sewing, basting, and all kinds of creativity in between! This month, we want to share with you some inspiring stories from our Missouri Star team, and the reasons why they sat down at a machine and started quilting! The first story up is from Jenny! Read on as she shares how her quilting career began.

When did you make your first quilt?

I was actually quilting before I knew I was quilting. As a girl, I often sewed quilt squares together for my grandmother, but I took my first honest-to-goodness quilting class in 1995 shortly after we moved to Missouri. It was a quilt in a day class about the Log Cabin pattern. It was held in Chillicothe at the Vo-tech school. And I haven’t stopped quilting ever since!

Why did you make it?

I made my first quilt because I have to sew! It is my creative outlet. I sew, and when sewing is your “thing” and you don’t need any more clothing, and your children won’t wear matching clothing, and no one needs a costumer, you jump at the chance to quilt!

Who did you make it for?

I made it for my son Alan. He still has it.

My First Quilt: Jenny Doan

This log cabin quilt is one of the very first quilts Jenny ever created. She sewed this one for her son Jake, who requested the purple and orange fabric, more than 20 years ago.

Is it the kind of quilt you would make today? Why or why not?

It IS the kind of quilt I make today! I gravitate toward quick and easy projects, so that was a great one for me to start on.

What has changed since that first quilt?

For me, the main change was the onset of precut fabrics. They make quilting so much easier for me. Also, the Internet has changed everything! You can learn all kinds of neat things from the Internet.  

After reading Jenny’s story, are you ready to make a Log Cabin Quilt of your very own? Here are some of our favorite log cabin quilt tutorials to help you get started:

Log Cabin Quilt Snips

Curved Log Cabin Quilt 

Summer Camp Quilt

Check back throughout National Quilting Month for more quilty stories! And be sure to share your creations and your first quilt stories with us on social media using #makesomethingtoday and #msqcshowandtell!