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Thursday, August 8, 2019


So the question comes up frequently when I am talking quilting with someone else - "how did you start quilting ?" Sometimes I think other people assume I was born knowing how to quilt.  Let me tell you - that is a big NO.  Learning how to quilt has been fun and I sure am glad I decided to learn. 

Please let me encourage those of you who are reading this post and thinking that there is no way "I can learn this" and please believe me when I say that you can.  My advice is simply to determine that you will make a quilt, and believe in yourself - you can make a quilt from start to finish and have something wonderful to show for all those hours.

So you are a beginner??  Don't get discouraged by all those gorgeous quilts you see at quilt shows or the local quilt guild. Every one of those quilters has a first (or more) quilt that they are hiding away somewhere because it is not "perfect". The only way you will get started on the journey to doing quilting is to start.

I personally would start with something small or at least simple because the process and finishing it will encourage you on to the next project. See if another quilter has scraps you can have for a first project, or if your budget will do it - buy a few quarter yard pieced of good quality cotton.  Borrow books from the library or buy a quilting magazine that has a simple pattern you can do.

Please understand that I grew up around quilts that were made by other family members, but my mom did not sew - period - for any reason.  During my childhood, she owned two different sewing machines and used neither.  She viewed sewing as something people did who were too poor to buy needed clothes or do repairs on said clothes.  My grandma sewed constantly (which explains why the sewing machine was in a corner of the kitchen always ready to use). Grandma taught me to sew on buttons, mend socks, and do basic hemming.

I basically taught myself how to piece a quilt top from watching my grandma sew.  I learned how to hand quilt from going to quilting bees and watching and practicing.  The nice thing about sloppy stitches in hand quilting is that they are easy to take out and fix or try again.

My first quilt was 4" squares and most of the fabric was aprons or shirts I bought at yard sales.  Rotary cutters where not around yet, so I cut 4" cardboard squares from cereal boxes to use for my pattern and cut every single one of them with scissors one by one.  I discovered that the cardboard pattern wore out quick and for accuracy I had to use a new pattern after just a few squares. I arranged the scraps with some solid blue and solid red so that it formed "stripes". I used mom's old Singer to sew the blocks together and my seams were certainly not exact quarter inch.

First quilt on bed
The "batting" was an old blanket, and grandma gave me a big piece of pink printed flannel for the backing.  Once the top was done, I tied the quilt sandwich together with white yarn. how to complete the edge?? I did not want my grandma to do the binding, but I really did not understand her directions for doing it.  So, I lied to her, told her it was complete and used it for many years unbound and the edge ragged( ) ......... Let's face it - 15 year olds are not the smartest of creatures on the earth.

But the huge thing for a very shy country girl who was an outcast at school because of my "smart" grades was that I figured out how to do this and it was on my bed and being used!! I determined to make another and better one. So the journey began.....

So you are a beginner, the only way to get started is to take the first steps in quilting.  Unless you are willing to buy all the quilts in your home, you are going to have to decide to learn the quilt making process.  You have got this - set a daily goal (decide on a pattern, get fabric, cut fabric, iron, etc) and go for it.  Will you make mistakes - yes and yes......Learn from them and move on.  This is fabric, not brain surgery - no one is going to die if something isn't done just right.

Quiltville's Quips & Snips!!: Quilt-Cam Sunday! 2/11/2018

Suggestion: Use good quality supplies.  You will be much happier and satisfied with the process and end result if your supplies and tools are good quality.

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