McCall’s Quilting Intern’s First Quilt: It’s Done!

It took just four weeks and 1 day to finish my first quilt! I spent this past weekend quilting on our Handi Quilter longarm machine and finishing my binding, but it was all worth it to know I have a completed quilt.

On Friday, Tricia showed me how to load and unload the machine and helped me practice quilting for awhile. Unfortunately, she was also casualty #2 of my quilt:

Lara Quilt Final 002 225x300 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!Lara Quilt Final 001 225x300 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!

Lesson learned: keep your fingers AWAY from the needle while it’s in motion!

After a few practice runs, it was time to load my quilt onto the machine. This was the least fun part of using the longarm, but well worth the time Aunt Kate and I took to do it carefully. Experienced long arm quilters will notice in this picture that we forgot to keep the backing fabric under the lower back pole on the machine (whoops!). After some help from Sherri Driver, McCall’s Associate Editor, the mistake was fixed without ever having to take the fabric off of the leader.

Lara Quilt Final 006 225x300 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!I was so nervous to start stitching on my quilt top, but once I got started it turned out to be really fun! We decided an overall swirl pattern would work best to complement my blocks.

Lara Quilt Final 007 225x300 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!Lara Quilt Final 008 225x300 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!

I had a difficult time seeing my stitches on the green print, but everything sewn in the white sashing really popped:

Lara Quilt Final 009 300x225 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!Lara Quilt Final 012 300x225 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!

After all of that work, I still had binding to sew onto my quilt! Luckily, I’d prepared it ahead of time so I didn’t have to fuss with all of that while I was on a roll. Sewing the binding on by machine seemed to be my best option since I had limited time and very little experience hand sewing. But even doing it this way proved to be a struggle for me.

Lara Quilt Final 010 225x300 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!Lara Quilt Final 016 300x225 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!



Here it is, my finished quilt! That’s Laura Roberts, McCall’s Assistant Editor, trying to hide behind it – caught you (see shoes on left)!

Finished Quilt 283x300 McCalls Quilting Interns First Quilt: Its Done!I love how my first quilt turned out. It may have taken a lot of work, but I understand now why so many people love to do this.

I’ve been asked by a few followers of my blogs what my next project will be and I finally have an answer. I called my Nana last week in Pennsylvania and she said she has a new quilt in the works that she could use my help with. I can’t wait to head home and get to work, but I’ll miss everyone here so much! I’ve never known a better group of ladies and I’ll always treasure the time I got to spend learning from them.

That’s all for now, but I have high hopes you’ll see more of me in the future. Thank you for following along!

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14 Responses to McCall’s Quilting Intern’s First Quilt: It’s Done!

  1. Lynda DeTray says:

    Congratulations, Lara! You did a great job! I’m jealous that you got to use the longarm to quilt it and I’m amazed at how well you did the first time out. Enjoy your masterpiece!

  2. Cheryl K. says:

    Great job from start to finish. What a great photo of the finished quilt – some day years in the future, you will pull it out to show and say this was my first quilt and everyone will be amazed!

  3. Lara,
    I’m so proud of you. What a great job you did on your very first quilt. I’m happy that the HQ18 Avante was easy to work with. Our educators would agree with you, loading the quilt is lots of people’s least favorite part of quilting. But, it’s much easier than basting the quilt, which is what you would have had to do otherwise. Keep it up, you’re doing great!

    Brenda Groelz
    Director of Marketing & Education
    Handi Quilter, Inc.

  4. Kathy says:

    Thank you so much, Brenda! The HQ18 was a lot of fun to work with, once I got going I didn’t want to stop! I’m very glad I only had to pin my quilt to the leaders, you are very right about that. I appreciate your support and I’ll keep working hard!


  5. Joanna says:

    Nice job. Your color choices were right on. It’s a beautiful quilt.

  6. Rita Jackson says:

    The quilting gene is alive and well! You did a beautiful job. I know your aunt and grandmother are proud their legacy will continue in you.

  7. Annette Schultz says:

    Great Job! Lara,
    and that is only the begining. Who knows maybe one day you will be designing your own quilts and one to share in the magazine. Remember to always keep learning as you can learn sew very much from those around you. Take classes when it works to see what others have learned and just have fun playing with fabric.Have a great time working on Nana’s quilt and learning from her as well.
    in stitches

  8. Terri Vanden Bosch says:

    Oh what a great treasure you have now to remind you of your time at McCall’s!! Now that you have finished one completely–keep it up!!

  9. Barb says:

    You have learned so much on this adventure, but one of the best, as you state in your blob, quilters of some of the most amazing and caring people you will ever meet. Can’t wait to see what you and Nana make next. Safe travels home.

  10. Lorna Holley says:

    Your color/fabric choices are beautiful. And they looked even better in the close-ups. And since quilts and their colors always look better inperson, your quilt is obviously gorgeous! Great job!!

  11. BJ Malecha says:

    Great job! Your choice of colors is great and you are now a full-fledged QUILTER! Good job!

  12. Lauraly says:

    Lara, this is amazing. I’ve followed you from the beginning and I feel like we are friends. I have quilted for many years and even though you were faced with some pretty tough challenges for a first time quilter, you never seemed discouraged. Awesome ! And by the way, where does your Aunt Kate live ? I might need some help too ! :)

  13. DeeAnn says:

    Beautiful quilt & I agree – your colors are perfect!! I would love to know what pattern you used – & make one similar! Congrats – quilting is indeed addicting.

  14. Kathy says:

    Dee Ann, this pattern, Studio Sampler, is being run as both a series quilt in McCall’s Quick Quilts and a Quilt Along video series online. Click here for more information:
    Magazines with installments of this pattern include Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, and Nov 2014 McCall’s Quick Quilts, on sale here as they become available:

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