Unraveled: My First Quilt

by megan on December 15, 2011

By Megan Dougherty

I remember the day I finished my first quilt like it was yesterday. It was yesterday, actually, so that’s why I remember it so well. But still, the experience is burned in my memory and it will probably take a good six months of therapy before I’m ready to try that again. See these bags under my eyes? They weren’t there before I got on this whole quilting kick. Well, okay, they were there, but they weren’t that baggy. They were more like “beauty pouches.” That’s a thing, right? Anyway, my skin wasn’t nearly this sallow and I’ve always been a little squinty, but now I can’t see anything smaller than my own head without a magnifying glass. And I have scars! Like, everywhere! And yes, I can tell the difference between the ones I got from quilting and the ones leftover from that time I lost control of my glue gun. And no, I still can’t talk about that. But this limp? That is totally new.

Like most of my crafting adventures, I started quilting in order to meet guys. Okay, looking back, that maybe wasn’t the best way to go about it, but I’m shy and I like to make stuff. I figured eventually I’d come across some cute single guy who also liked to make stuff and we could, you know, make more stuff. Together. Like Brad and Angie, but with more cross stitch and macramé. And less orphans.

Anyway. I decided that I didn’t really want to rush into quilting, because I’m afraid of needles, so I decided to get acclimated by hanging around this quilt shop I found. The ladies there were so super nice to me, but they kept trying to get me to buy stuff and I kept telling them, “No, I just want to hang out here and smell your fabrics until the panicky feeling goes away.” And then they tried to get me to take a class, but I had to explain that I can’t take classes because I don’t take direction well and tend to start shouting things at the teacher like, “Oh yeah? Make me!”

And then I did meet a guy! His name was Carl and he was super nice and he even let me ride in the back seat of his squad car! But then he never called me after he took me home. I guess he lost my number.

Anyhoo. Once I felt ready I bought a whole bunch of fabrics and stuff and took it home and stared at it for several weeks. Once I was fairly certain that nothing could move on it’s own, I downloaded a pattern from the internet and started cutting. And guess what? It turns out that you can’t make perfect squares by holding a piece of fabric up and hacking at it with a pair of kitchen shears until it looks right. Apparently, you need a ruler and this really super sharp round thingy that totally ought to come with its own person to do it for you. Did I mention I have scars? Look at this one on my ear!

So I got the super sharp round thingy and a ruler. I got a square ruler, since I was making squares, but my squares were supposed to be two different sizes and they only had 6 ½ -inch square rulers, so I made them all that size. It was either that or make ginormous rectangles. I have no idea how people make tiny little triangles and stuff. Maybe with some kind of laser?

So, once I got everything cut, it was time to learn how to turn on my sewing machine! I have no idea why they made half the manual in Spanish and the other half upside down, but I’m smart, so I figured it out. And it didn’t take long at all before I stopped sewing over my own hand, which definitely made things a LOT easier!

Still, the whole thing was really super hard and after six months of sewing my shirt to my hair extensions (don’t ask me how I managed that—my shirt wasn’t even on half the time) I finally got the ladies at the quilt shop to finish it for me in exchange for my promise to hang around the other quilt shop in town for a while. I thought that was so super nice of them, to share their best customer like that!

Once it was all done, I wanted to take a really super cool picture of it like I’ve seen bloggers do online, and that’s when I fell off my roof and broke my leg, which is why I’m limping. But, good news! I met a guy in the emergency room! His name is Todd and he was there because he got third-degree burns all over his chest when he tried to add LEDs to a Black Sabbath t-shirt to make the skull’s eyes light up. He’s so super nice, and when his skin grafts heal, we’re totally going to collaborate on making a Black Sabbath quilt that lights up!

Does anybody know where I can get a skull-shaped ruler?

(Note: Once again, we emphasize that Megan makes all this stuff up. At least she says she does. You can see more stuff she makes up, and a lot she doesn’t, at her not-always-safe-for-work blog, The Bitchy Stitcher.)


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherry Identicon Icon Sherry December 15, 2011 at 4:28 am

Megan-You just tickle me to death! I’m always looking for bright spots in my day and you’re one of ‘em!
Sherry in South Mississippi


megan Identicon Icon megan December 15, 2011 at 5:30 am

Thank you, Sherry!


Katy Identicon Icon Katy December 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

Can’t wait to see that light up quilt, and hey, it’s always nice to have made your own hospital blanket…


Sarah Craig Identicon Icon Sarah Craig December 15, 2011 at 7:24 am

Thanks for the laughs this morning, Megan! My husband thinks I’m nuts….. ;-)


megan Identicon Icon megan December 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

I need to find a way to use that in marketing. “Quilting humor so funny your family will consider involuntary institutionalization!” Needs work.


Leah Day Identicon Icon Leah Day December 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hilarious! I can’t wait to see what you do with applique or free motion quilting!


Lisa Sipes Identicon Icon Lisa Sipes December 15, 2011 at 9:52 am

The only time I’ve loved Megan more than I do right now, was yesterday. That’s all I’m going to say.
Best one yet. Aside from yesterday. Nothing will top yesterday.


krista Identicon Icon krista December 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm

LOL, as always. Love it!


karenthequilter Identicon Icon karenthequilter December 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Thanks for an afternoon giggle!


Dianne Identicon Icon Dianne December 16, 2011 at 12:39 am

Megan you crack me up! I really should go to bed and I will as soon as I quit giggling and my tears of laughter dry up.


Laura Identicon Icon Laura December 16, 2011 at 6:59 am

Ha, i am so doing the fireman trampoline thing with my quilt


Pam Identicon Icon Pam December 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I laughed and giggled all the way through this! Thanks Megan for sharing your wonderful sense of humor!


quiltzyx/sue Identicon Icon quiltzyx/sue December 17, 2011 at 1:33 am

I was planning to get up on my roof for some quilt photos. I’m so glad I read this first!


Jennie Identicon Icon Jennie December 19, 2011 at 5:13 am

Is that how the good quilters get such awesome shots? From the roof?
Megan, you are hilarious. I should be sleeping, but I have a nasty cold and laughing seems to help. Or maybe that’s the Sudafed. Either way, thank you!


Morgan Identicon Icon Morgan March 22, 2012 at 9:49 pm

My first quilt is a monster at 8.5 x 10.5 feet. I am still hand quilting the beast almost eight years later. Just this last weekend I got 12 feet of “retaining” wall stitched only another 26 feet to go and then to the “miles” of sashing and binding front and back. A labour of love for a nephew who rocks my socks and is a great kid to boot!

Best Wishes,

PS. If you find that skull ruler – let me know – want moar skullz! ;)


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