“First Quilt, Latest Quilt” — Verna Mosquera (Double Giveaway Today!)

1-Giveaway IconWhenever we attend a quilt show, pick up the current issue of a quilting magazine, or peruse the latest book by a favorite instructor, it’s always with the anticipation of seeing “what’s new.” It’s the rare quilter, however, who springs fully evolved to the quilting scene. There’s one experience that we all share, no matter how novice or experienced: the first quilt.  We thought it would be fun (and encouraging!) to ask an established quilter to share not only the most recent, but also his or her very first quilt. And so we launch a new, “occasional” feature–First Quilt, Latest Quilt–and our first featured quilter is the talented Bay Area quilter, pattern and fabric designer, and soon-to-be author, Verna Mosquera.

Verna in her studio; photo courtesy Gregory Case

Verna in her studio; photo courtesy Gregory Case

Since taking her first quilt class in 1996, Verna–in her own words–was hooked. “I knew it was trouble when I couldn’t wait to get home to take my new fabric purchases out of the bag. Still, to this day, I lay out my fabric along the dashboard of my car and enjoy them during the ride home.”

Verna has come a long way from her days as a newbie quilter. In 1998, she began teaching classes, and in 2004 she established what has become a very successful home-based business called The Vintage Spool: Romantic & Timeless Quilt Design. She designs and markets a pattern line  (including Block of the Month patterns), specially prepared fabric kits, and even offers retreats. To date, she has designed a number of fabric collections for Free Spirit (including voiles and laminated cottons) that reflect her distinctive, romantic aesthetic . . . with more to come.

Verna's Autumn Sunset quilt, made using her October Skies collection; fabric kit and pattern available on The Vintage Spool website; photo courtesy Gregory Case

Verna’s Autumn Sunset quilt, made using her October Skies collection; fabric kit and pattern available on The Vintage Spool website; photo courtesy Gregory Case

Here are Verna’s first and latest quilts, and what she has to say about them. (Be sure to read to the end for info on today’s DOUBLE giveaway and the announcement of a special June debut.)

Verna’s First Quilt

In 1996, I decided to take a quilting class as a New Year’s resolution to continue to be more creative. I never in a million years knew how that decision would change my life. I was so fortunate to have had the sweetest, most knowledgable teacher in Laura Nownes. The project was a sampler quilt, one I’m certain that many of your readers have made–if not one very much like it. I learned about choosing an inspiration fabric to set the color palette. Then, with each week, I approached a new block and/or technique. Those 12 weeks gave me an incredible foundation on which to build. I was able to learn the simple rules of quilting which have served me so well.

Verna's first quilt, made in 1996 in a class taught by our own Laura Nownes

Verna’s first quilt, made in 1996 in a class taught by our own Laura Nownes

It has been such a long time since I looked at that first quilt. Today, as I pulled it out to take a photo, I truly realized how far I’d come from those imperfect stitches, cut-off points, and horrific applique!

Verna's early attempts at applique; photo courtesy Verna Mosquera

Verna’s early attempts at applique; photo courtesy Verna Mosquera

While I am my worst critic, I still could see a foreshadowing in the quilt of what was to come: my ability to group fabrics and color combinations, my need to use many fabrics in one quilt, and my creativity within each block–almost as if each one told a little story.

Note the angel in the window; photo courtesy Verna Mosquera

Note the angel in the window; photo courtesy Verna Mosquera

My most vivid memory of working on that quilt was how I just couldn’t stop working on it. I would spend hours and hours quilting, and today that has not changed.

Fast Forward to Today

One of the things I love about being an artist is that inspiration comes from everywhere, and I never know when it will spark. Last January, I was vending at a Southern California show and realized that my “neighbor” was one of my favorite booths for vintage buttons, ribbons, and trim. Knowing it would be a danger zone for me, I resisted the urge to step next door until the final hours of the show. It wasn’t minutes into my visit before I shifted from vendor into artist mode. One bit of trim led me to a wonderful button, and on to a gorgeous piece of delicate lace. I had a wonderful time gathering my vintage treasures. As I collected the bits, I ran next door and asked my assistant for a cellophane bag to put my gathered goodies in. As the color palette grew, it reminded me of a painting I had seen years ago on a visit to Paris. The painting was Ballerina Dancers In Pink by Edgar Degas; the wonderful taupes, pinks, and ivories were just stunning together.

Ballerina Dancers in Pink by Edgar Degas

Ballerina Dancers in Pink by Edgar Degas

When I got home from the show, I pulled the image of the painting up on my computer. I was amazed to see the colors in my bag were spot on the colors in the Degas painting. Stunned that I could remember the beauty of the colors in the painting so clearly, I knew I had the starting point for my newest fabric collection, Pirouette. When I received the first of those fabrics from Free Spirit, it seemed only fitting to design a quilt to showcase them. The result was Prima Ballerina.

The latest from Verna Mosquera: Prima Ballerina, made using the fabrics from her Pirouette collection for Free Spirit; pattern available on The Vintage Spool website; photo courtesy Gregory Case

The latest from Verna Mosquera: Prima Ballerina, made using the fabrics from her Pirouette collection for Free Spirit; pattern available on The Vintage Spool website; photo courtesy Gregory Case

Detail of Prima Ballerina; photo courtesy Gregory Case

Detail of Prima Ballerina; photo courtesy Gregory Case

Thank you, Verna, for sharing your story with us, and for sharing the photo below, which demonstrates how those lovely Pirouette fabrics can grace a “real-life” ballerina as well.

How cute is this? Ensemble (including tote) made with fabrics from Verna's Pirouette collection; photo courtesy Tara Molles Photography

How cute is this? Ensemble (including tote) made with fabrics from Verna’s Pirouette collection; photo courtesy Tara Molles Photography

Thanks to Verna also for providing us with goodies for two wonderful giveaways. Readers, leave us a comment by end of day Wednesday, May 8, telling us a tidbit about your first or most recent quilt, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive a Prima Ballerina pattern and a packet of 8 fat-quarters from Verna’s Pirouette fabric line OR a charm pack of  5″ squares from the Pirouette collection. Darra will announce the winners in her Friday, May 10 post.

giveaway romance_1

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t tell you that Verna’s first book (published by F&W Media) will be coming out on June 30. It’s called A Sewn Vintage Lifestyle: 20 Pieced and Appliqued Projects for Quilts, Bags and More. Be sure to watch for it!

A Sewn Vintage Lifestyle

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching!


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66 Responses to “First Quilt, Latest Quilt” — Verna Mosquera (Double Giveaway Today!)

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  4. My first quilt was a log cabin quilt purple and green, with a heart opening in the middle for a beautiful river scene with an eagle flying overhead and a chipmunk running along by a log. My daughter loves this quilt and has ever since.

  5. Jan C. says:

    My first quilt was s small wallhanging for a “challenge” quilt for an outdoor show. It was pieced pretty well, but I didn’t know much about (it was all about hand quilting back then), quilting. It had enough quilting to get by, and maybe I will soon put more quilting in it.
    I was so happy to find Darra’s blog this morning. I first saw her art quilts in Blowing Rock, NC a “few years back”. They were amazing, and have always remembered her. And to discover
    Verna and her creativity and beautiful fabrics. What a treat for a cloudy day. Thanks.

  6. Jane says:

    My first quilt was a pinwheel using 1930’s reproduction fabrics & lots of white. I didn’t have a pattern exactly so I kept running out of fabric. It’s not the greatest, but I’m so glad I got started somewhere, and we use that quilt a lot. Also, so glad I stumbled upon this blog & giveaway! I was searching for quilty inspiration for Verna’s Pirouette fabric line. Thanks!

  7. Gillian Dempster says:

    My first quilt was a pink, grey and cream sampler. There was every mistake possible in that quilt but the worst was that I tried to hand quilt it using the thickest wadding as I thought it would make it warmer LOL. My daughter still has that quilt and treasures it.

    • Sherri says:

      One of my first quilt was an whole cloth quilt and I used high loft polyester batting I broke more needles and learned a few new words-not an happy camper. also had to take to commerical machine to wash and it is only a full size. Only low loft cotten batting for me know Oho well live and learn

  8. Sherry Lykins says:

    Beautiful!! I have not mad a quilt yet, just beginning! Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Suzanne Cross says:

    My first quilt was a red white and blue Ohio star, I started it when my son was 2 and finished it when he was 22 but now with more time I can finish my quilts in a more timely fashion. Looking forward to seeing the new book.

  10. Jan says:

    My first quilt was made of jeans that had embroidered on in high school. When I was first married I could afford embroidery thread and continued to sew on jeans. After I had my sons, I copied their handprints on jeans and embroidered them. After saving up for twenty some years I sewed the pieces all together and had my first quilt. I am still happy with it as it holds so many memories.

  11. Wens says:

    I made my first quilt in high school, a ‘log cabin in a day’ it was called. Needless to say, in high school it took the entire semester. I didn’t start quilting again until a few months ago (almoat 20 years later). Now I’ve completed 80 blocks of the Farmers Wife quilt, which I’m loving and learning a lot with! I know as a newbie I have tons to learn, but as it’s so nice to see from Verna’s photo’s everyone started somewhere right!?

  12. Kathy Renz says:

    I loved reading that her first quilt was a sampler taught by Laura Nownes. I am making her block of the month through Craftsy and enjoying her teaching style.

    • Verna Mosquera says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Laura is wonderful. I was so excited to see her teaching on Craftsy. Now everyone can have enjoy her courses. Enjoy!

  13. Ginabeth says:

    Thanks to all the quilt teachers!!!! 1st or last.
    My latest quilt is based on triangles, leftovers triangles. Maybe not as long ago as my 1st quilt, but many quilts in between. I had an organizer shelf box I just threw cut off triangles from flip and sew, square-in-a-square and other odd triangular shapes. Now I am making a second quilt from them. It is medallion style using pink and greens. I may still have enough for a third or fourth……

  14. Pamela says:

    I still have my first quilt, made over 30 years ago when I was in high school. It was a lot of 6 inch corduroy squares sewn together in no particular pattern. I cut up a lot of old clothes to make it! My dog now sleeps on it and she still appreciates it. Thanks for this giveaway opportunity. I absolutely love Verna Mosquera’s fabric!

    • Verna Mosquera says:

      Hi Pamela,

      Thanks for reading the post. I am so pleased you like the fabrics. It is one of my favorite collections I have done.


  15. mjkasz says:

    My first quilt was made as a gift for my sister who collected lighthouses. I made a smaller waller hanging of the Lake Erie Lighthouse that was in the county where I lived at the time, Lorain Lighthouse. I had so much fun selecting the fabric for the applique and loved her enjoyment of the quilt. It is still hanging in her living room after 20 years.

  16. Krisj says:

    I have trouble actually naming my first quilt. When I was 18 I spotted a cathedrals windows quilt in I believe Better Homes & garden. I bought the muslin and started and worked on this quilt through college. Marriage and kids got in the way so I put it away and had actually thought I had mistakenly thrown it out. Some 20 years later I actually found the quilt and do still work on it now and then. I will probably still be working on it when I go to the Nursing home. The first quilt I actually finished was a rail fence.

  17. i had been sewing all my life so i just sat down and made my first quilt. it’s on my couch right now thanks

  18. Marilyn Chapman says:

    My first quilt was a “row quilt”/sampler…I never knew anything about quilting. Went from 0 to 10
    in experience on that block of month quilt. I told myself, If I ever get mad while quilting I will quit…that was because I never like to sew. 8 years later I have never gotten mad!
    This is just a sweet, sweet line of fabric!

  19. Shauna says:

    Thanks for the chance. My first quilt was a simple four patch and alternating block. I did it for a quilt class and then gave it to my mom for her birthday. She loved it because it was the perfect lap size.

  20. Sherri says:

    My first quilt was made in Sandy Klop’s garage studio. It was a twin size blue/cream hearts. I still like it but it’s put away in a cupboard. I loved sewing there on Thursday nights. Love Verna and Sandy. They have both come such a long way. Can’t wait to see Verna’s book. Thanks Sandy for getting me started and for all the instruction Sandy and Verna…….you are both wonderful!!!!!!!

    • Verna Mosquera says:

      You are so sweet Sherri, thank you!! Book will be out soon, can hardly wait to share it with everyone.


  21. Heather J says:

    Thanks for sharing her story. Love her designs and her sewing space.

  22. Sandy A in St. Louis says:

    My first quilt was for my nephew. My mom had started it and I finished the embroidery and hand quilted it. I hit it lucky and found the perfect fabric for the backing, too.

  23. Terry says:

    My most recent quilt was made using a batik jelly roll I’ve been hoarding. I decided I just couldn’t cut it up so I stitched the strips in rows and straight-line quilted…love how it came out and now I can finally enjoy it!

  24. Susan Paxton says:

    My first quilt was just last year. Since finishing it I have made 5 more just this year. I have one totally completed with matching shams (it’s on my bed) I have made and finished a baby quilt for a little girl. Am quilting one on my home sewing machine and am working on 2 more quilt tops. I just can’t get enough of it. Sewing and quilting has taken over my life and apartment. I would rather sew than do anything else.

  25. Juanitad says:

    I was about 13 (about 50 years ago!) and I desparately wanted a cover for my bed. With 5 children, my parents just didn’t have the money to purchase something so “expensive” for 1 child, BUT, my mom was a sewer from way back (she made most of our clothes on her old pedal Singer machine) and she did have a rag bag. She found an old single sheet (white of course), we cut it into 12″ squares and she taught me how to make a crazy quilt using her rag bag. I stuck with it and made all the squares and sewed them together. Mom found an old blanket and another old sheet at a thrift store and we tied the quilt. I don’t remember what the binding was, but I’m sure it came out of her rag bag. I used it on my bed through my teen years and I don’t know what happened to it after I moved out and got my own apartment at 18. I’m sure it probably ended up in my Mom’s rag bag to be repurposed again!

  26. Mary Ann says:

    Would you believe my very first quilt is still not finished. I still need to finish the quilting on it; or I should say I need to take out the quilting on it that I had started and start over since I know better now. It was a block of the month done at one our fabric stores in town. What was great about taking the class is I met all these wonderful gals and we are all still connected together with our quilting…….we belong to our local guild, we go on retreats and shop hops together. They have all become wonderful friends.

  27. Debbie H says:

    My latest quilt was a gift for my Nephew’s wedding. It was tesselated leaves in red, black and white and boy was it a challenge! They loved it!

  28. Molly says:

    To be honest, I’m a newbie – my first is in the making! After years of sewing, I decided that I needed to use my fabric scrap stash to make appliqued and quilted projects. Signed up for Laura Nownes’ Craftsy 2013 BOM and realize that I’m learning from a master teacher! Verna’s vintage look fabric certainly calls to me and is now on my wish list.

  29. Evelyn O'Brien says:

    My first quilt, a Sunbonnet Sue in yellow for my daughter, who is now 36. Over the years I have always turned to quilting as my Happy Place. I have just returned from my local fabric store Avonport Discount, with a beautiful piece of lime green to finish off a Chinese Coins scrap quilt.

  30. Vicki H says:

    My first quilt was a log cabin and was also a first using a rotary cutter and mat.

  31. mellonquilts says:

    My first quilt was a small log cabin. Purchased the Alex Anderson beginning quilt book, the fabric kit and assorted supplies at Stitchin’ Post during my visit to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in 2000. The rest is history. Having such a joyful journey.

  32. Ssgirl says:

    My first quilt was a Judy Hopkins pattern, Amish Shadow. I still use it to this day, although the binding left something to be desired! The colors are still wonderful, turquoise, limes and purples against the black. My latest quilt is a big challenge, the Block of The Month from the Quilt Show, but I am learning so much, which is the aim, to grow in my skills and have fun while doing it.

  33. goonyburd says:

    My first quilt was an I-Spy quilt for my then-5-yr-old son (who is now 19). Sadly, we lost it in Katrina…

  34. Lois says:

    I am working on a paper pieced wall hanging that will go in our newly remodeled living room. I can hardly wait to finish it and fill the empty spot on the wall.

  35. Peggy says:

    Ooh, I love the pink and taupe/ivory palette! Thanks for a chance to win!!!

  36. Nora says:

    My first quilt was made when I found some Beautiful Iris floral fabric in a shop and then learned how to quilt from our new group.Irises are my favorite flowers.all I know is that I have lots of Prairie piots on borderand it is green and beige.My recent one is a Whack N Stack with iris fabric.Now I am turning to Roses . Love Verna’s Veranda fabric.

    • Verna Mosquera says:

      Hi Nora,

      So glad you liked Veranda. Can hardly wait to see what you do with it. Send me a photo when you do. Thanks for reading.


  37. Martina says:

    My first quilt was a wallquilt with butterflies and flowers. I didn’t know anything about needleturn appliqe so I buttonhole stitched everything. It is now in my mother-in-law’s place and it is still my favourite quilt. Even so the stitches are really beginners,lol!

  38. Frances Quigley says:

    My first quilt was courthouse steps. I also hand quilted. I didn’t know a person could machine quilt. Well, needless to say, it took me at least 2 years to complete. Now I machine quilt and love it. My latest project was to make a wine bag. It has 4 pockets for wine bottles and the middle is for cheese, crackers or glasses. Really nice.

  39. I’ve learned so much since my first quilt that had HUGE pieces of fabric for huge blocks of calico and was tied with yarn.

  40. Kathie L says:

    My first quilt was a log cabin – still one of my favorite patterns. My mom still uses it in her guest bedroom. I’m planning a new log cabin to make this summer, but with great hand dyes rather than the calicos of the 1970s.

  41. sorchagirl says:

    First “quilt” was a pillow top with fabric cut using a cardboard template and hand sewn. My latest quilt was made with my granddaughter. Using a Suduko pattern, we used fabrics she’d collected at various shops and shows; then, she asked for stars in the sashing. I had to learn what was required. Luckily, today’s quilting world has lots of good teachers and well-written books!! Thanks for your new ‘occasional’ series. It’s good to learn about the experts.

  42. Connie says:

    I loved Verna’s episode on The Quilt Show. She is so gracious….I would love to take a class from her. Thank you!

    • Verna Mosquera says:

      Thank you Connie, you are very sweet. I hope you can come to one of our future retreats sometime soon. We have so much fun!


  43. Sherri says:

    My first quilt was about 7 years ago when I took an class it was an small sampler quilt that I am very proud of but I was hooked, I discovered papaer piecing about 6 months ago- and I love it- I am currently working on a New Yoirk Beauty Paper pieced quilt. I am also Working on Laura 2013 sampler quilt she is doing for craftsy. Love this site thanks

  44. Joyce says:

    Her projects are gorgeous! And that studio is to die for!
    My first quilt was a queen size for my daughters bed. My latest project is a spring table topper. Would love the pattern, and fabrics are gorgeous! Thanks for the chance to win them!

  45. mrsmoore says:

    My first quilt was forty years ago–my mother said I couldn’t do it because the only way to get it quilted was to find some ladies who had quilting bees to raise money for a church and she didn’t think anybody did that anymore! Well, that didn’t stop me–I made a trip around the world and I quilted it myself with a small frame.

  46. lynn says:

    What a wonderful success story, Verna. Like you, I too have come a long way with my skills and abilities. And that in part is attributable to many fantastic and artistic teachers. My first quilt was simply squares! Now I applique, piece intricate blocks, paper-piece, work with cottons and wools, hand embroider and quilt my own creations on my Bernina.

  47. Jane says:

    I made my first quilt many years ago. I appliquéd hearts to a background block. I thought it was wonderful!
    Looking at it now I see all the imperfections. I made it for my then 10 year old daughter and she still cuddles up in it. It is well loved

  48. Nancy M says:

    Years ago in high school home EC I made a quilt out of very old clothes with mixed fibers. Corners didn’t match. It was so bad I tied it instead of quilting so I could hide most of the problems… Every few years I would try another. Just wasn’t for me. Then all of a sudden I got the desire again. I make a quilt at least every month. And My Corners Match! Can’t get enough.

  49. Deborah says:

    My first quilt was made many years ago in a sampler class where we learned all the basics, including hand-piecing; my latest quilt is a very large tee shirt quilt which I just got back from the long arm quilter and I’m sewing on the binding.

  50. elle says:

    That painting is the colours I want in my bedroom. I see a quilt happening. My first was hand cut rail fences. :( I bought so much fabric and cut so many pieces I made 2 twin, 1 baby, 1 queen, several pillows and finally just gave away the rest! LOL Mind you, I still cut too much! :O

  51. lattegirl40 says:

    My first quilt, was a quilt in a day in 1991. The longest quilt in a day ever, because it wasn’t completed until this year! I truly started quilting last year, and am also “hooked”! My latest quilt was for a friend, with a simple sashed charm block front, with paper pieced faith hope love family on the back. It turn out beautiful! A “hug” for strength to encourage her!

  52. Brita says:

    I just loved hearing about, and especially, seeing, Verna’s first quilt! This is a terrific idea for future blogs. And I just want to squish that sweet baby girl ;-) Thank you!

  53. sheila says:

    My first quilt was also a sampler that I took a class for and it is still one of my favorite quilts , I always did a practice block first so I could learn where I needed to improve . Still love sampler quilts and just finished one. Thanks for the chance.

  54. Sally Dixon says:

    My first quilt was a bowtie pattern that my college roommate was working on and she helped me get started. My latest quilt is several block of the month patterns! Can’t have just one going! I love the big flowers in this line! Thanks for the give-away!

  55. Sally MB says:

    Your post today came at a perfect time since my granddaughter is going to ballet school this summer and we have taken her to the NYC Ballet when they are in their summer residence at Saratoga NY.
    My most recent quilt has no resemblance to Verna’s beautiful fabrics since I used solids and did a nautical themed quilt with small signal flags.
    I need to treat myself to these beautiful florals. Thanks for the stimulation. I have time to work on this and I love to appliqué.

  56. Shirley says:

    I have made two of Verna quilts patterns and they were a labor of love. Really love her designs and will look for her new book when it comes out.

    • Verna Mosquera says:

      Hi Shirley. I am so happy you enjoyed the patterns. Thanks for checking out A Sewn Vintage Lifestyle in the coming months.


  57. Christina in Cleveland says:

    Learning by doing is a way of life for me… even when realizing I hadn’t calculated in the seam allowances when making a block. This is why I now do “dry run” blocks. :) A lot of “a-HA” moments.

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