The Story of the Chess Quilt

I wanted to make a quilt, which I had never done before,  so went to Tomorrow’s Treasures, a local quilt store, to take a class in quilting. When I told the sales lady I wanted to take a class in quilting she asked me a couple of interesting questions. The first question she asked was, “ Do you know how to sew?”  I answered “no”. The second question was “ Do you have a sewing machine?”
“Ah,” I said “Yes, I have an old Singer Featherweight that I could use. She then said, “ Well, Mr. Curtis,  “You need to learn how to use the sewing machine before you can make a quilt.” I was somewhat taken back and also disappointed as I thought the class would help me do that.           

So, I first learned how to manually thread the Singer sewing machine, a bit of a problem because of my eyesight. My wife Linda helped me considerably by suggesting a nine patch for beginners. We cut strips for the nine-patch and I learned to sew by sewing them together. I am a big man with long arms and left handed and soon realized I needed a different machine and one with a wider throat for quilting.  I researched sewing machines and purchased a Janome Horizon with a 11-inch throat. I learned how to sew again on the new machine.

I enjoy playing chess and challenged my students to beat me in chess so I wanted to make a chess quilt. I went to a local quilt store and talked to the owner Judy and told her that I wanted to make a chessboard and I needed yellow and green fabric to make squares. Judy said I’ve got just what you want and showed me two bolts of cloth, one was a dark green and the second was a yellow with a pattern. Both fabrics were in 60 inch bolts. I now designed my quilts in my quilt journal as the pages are gridded to lay out size and pattern.  I drew it to fit a twin bed that was 70 X 105 inches. Once I had drawn the quilt and colored in the squares, I designed a dark green border but it didn’t seem complete so planned row of a star blocks all the way around the outside edge of the quilt with a chess piece in the middle of each. 

It looked good as a design after had drawn it. Now it was time to assemble. The chest board part was relatively easy to do because it was a nine-patch with alternating yellow and green squares. The chessboard was a large square of nine-patch  squares long by nine-patch squares wide. Then the dark green border was sewn around the border. 

My next step was to assemble 14 squares, each with a chess piece in the center. They were sewn together and that completed the top.

 Once the quilt top was sewn together, I took the quilt to show Judy in the quilt store. I asked Judy who she would recommend to assemble the quilt and to actually do the quilting properly. Judy said, “You need a long arm quilter and her name is Leda Hall.” Judy called Leda and asked her to come over to the store. She said to Leda ,“ You have to see this in person as this is original one-of-a-kind quilt top. She showed up about 20 minutes later. We had a discussion about what she was going to do and made an appointment to visit her studio late the next day. The quilt was finished two weeks later and better than I ever expected. It was indeed, one of a kind. 

The End