I had great aspirations when I first began learning to quilt, but soon realized that I should probably start a bit smaller than a full sized quilt :) Also, as a side note, I purchased a 1960s Kenmore Sewing Machine, it worked well and definitely spurred me on to the next step in actually trying to make a quilt.
So I went to my LQS (Local Quilt Shop) and I discovered something that would change my quilting life! I found Moda fabric and Moda Charm Packs. I fell in love. I spoke with the very helpful owner and she recommended that I find a table runner pattern or wall hanging to start with, and definitely one that was charm pack friendly.
I purchased "Anka's Treasures - Little Charmers II", a couple Kansas Troubles - Wildflower Serenade charm packs, and coordinating backing. I went home and got to work! Oh yeah and during the first phase of piecing I learned there was another quilting tool that was a must have; A SEAM RIPPER!
That table runner took me a bit to make, but it was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot. My points didn't match up the greatest, but when I was finished piecing it I was in love, then I realized I had NEVER seen anyone quilt anything. I had no idea what I was supposed to do next. The pattern says (as most do), "Back, Quilt, and Bind as desired."
Fortunately I had a terrific friend who told me to get batting, and then cut out the backing fabric a little bigger than my pieced top. She recommended I quilt using the "Stitch in the Ditch" method. HUH? She explained that basically I put all three layers in my sewing machine, the pieced top up, and sew in the seems that I had created during piecing. She also suggested that I start in the middle and work my way out. I did it!
I finished piecing and quilting, and once again I had no idea what you did next. I took my quilt and my "binding" fabric over to her house and she ever so patiently showed me how to bind my quilt by hand.
I found this video tutorial on YouTube from Heirloom Creations that shows how to attach the binding to your quilt. I always finish binding my quilts by hand after attaching the binding to the top of the quilt. I suppose I could sew them on, but honestly I love sitting on the couch with my "mostly finished" quilt covering me and hand binding.
Of course I didn't take a picture of that first finished quilted table runner! I gave that first one to my mom. Why my mom? Because to this day she proudly displays it with mismatched corners and all!
I proceeded to make quite a few more of these the months that followed. I am including a picture of one I made for myself. As you can see the corners match a bit better on this one, it was probably the 4th one I made.
This pattern is still a quick go to pattern for me. I have modified it here and there, added sections to make it longer, etc. BUT it is definitely the most used pattern in my collection.