Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Little Give and Take

I am going to be GIVING a beginning quilting lecture in a couple weeks and I'd like to get some ideas from all you quilters and non-quilters.  What little nuggets of information should I pass along to the women that attend my class?

Here's my class description:

You Can Do It!  Are you interested in quilting but it seems overwhelming?  In this class for beginners, we'll cover the basics - quilting tools, tips for piecing, and simple quilt patterns to start with.  By the end you will be anxious to start your first quilt!

I've started a running list of information and tips I want to share, but I'd like to get some of your ideas!

What should every beginning quilter know about ...

  • Quilting Tools?
  • Accurate Piecing Tips?
  • Quilt Pattern Resources and Easy Block/Quilt ideas?
  • Links to photos of easy quilts you've made that I can share with my class.
  • Ideas for making it fun?
  • Anything else?

Now, here comes the TAKE part...

If you leave me a comment below with some helpful information for beginning quilters you will have a chance to win a $10.00 gift certificate to:


You have until midnight Tuesday, May 26 to leave a comment, and I will announce the winner on Wednesday!  What are you waiting and comment! I can't wait to see what you have to say!

(and spread the word if you know of anyone who could share some good information with me)


Shasta said...

I hope you have a wonderful time in the class. I don't know what I can share with you that you don't already know. I think it would be great to share a sampling of quilts - a trunk show, to show different types - art, landscape, medallion, traditional, contemporary, round robin, and different sizes, miniature, journal, etc, so they get a feel for what the different terms mean. I think if they can feel knowledgeable when they go to a quilt show and know that they aren't stuck to any particular kind of quilt, then they can feel freeer to do what they want.

Maree said...

Ok, so Shasta said basically what I was going to say....I think it would be helpful to have a variety of different "levels" of quilts--just tied, a simple block, and a few harder types--so people can see what's possible. I'm sad I'll be out of town. I WANT to learn how--and I want to start with a BASIC tied quilt. When school starts next year, I'll probably be calling you....

Tom H said...

Tina, Tell your class that they are very lucky. They don't have to have 4 quilts finished by next winter, like their great grandmothers probably had to. Quilts may have been a necessity back then. Now they are supposed to be fun. Tell them to take their time and have fun.

This and That said...

Hmmm,I would share this...always read your quilt pattern thoroughly before ever cutting a piece of fabric, but make that process fun by cuddling up on your favorite reading chair with your new pattern the night or two before starting it, like curling up to a good book :) That way you will be less likely to make a mistake, avoiding the dreaded SEAM RIPPER! You will become familiar with the instructions step by step in your head first and at the same time have fun imagining how your new quilt will turn out and all the yummy fabrics you will get to buy :)

Heidi said...

All of you commentators are spot on, but I would add that my biggest hurdle was not being a perfectionist. Now that doesn't mean that you give up quality. What I mean is that it is okay to have it look like it was handmade. Some "mistakes" turn out to be what makes the quilt special. I would definitely show them improvisational quilting. It maybe just the thing to get them so they are not so intimidated by piecing.

Pins and the iron are your best friend. They help make piecing soooo much easier.

Using graph paper to plan out quilts will help not only with what needs to be cut and how many, but also what kind of color scheme you are looking for. I have some examples on my flickr account: and

As far as tools, I have found it invaluable to have tables that I can move around easily. I purchased two 2' x 4' adjustable height tables. One I made into my ironing board and the other is my cutting table. Between the two I can cut, iron and piece all my quilts. Moving them around become especially helpful when I am at the end pinning and sewing the long rows of blocks together.

As far as blocks, the nine patch block is an awesome beginning block, especially if you show them how to do it using strips. Sew Mama Sew had a blog entry on all the different variations:

Finally, maybe talking about using recycled, a.k.a, upcycled fabrics from thrift stores to make quilts, like shirts, pants, sheets, etc. I saw this adorable quilt made from dress shirts where they incorporated the front of the shirts, buttons and all.

Sarah C said...

i really wish i had a class like this...instead i looked all over the internet for bits and pieces.

One of the big things for me was what thread to use to quilt with. And then does it make a difference if you sew your binding with a different thread? i still dont know if it really makes a difference.

A good cutting mat, a sharp rotary cutter and a few different sized rulers will make your life very easy!

Anne Ida said...

Oh, this looks like fun - hope you and your students will have an enjoyable time! And it looks like you have recieved a lot of pointers allready, and all of them very relevant.

I think my top tip is: Don't be afraid to try!! It might not come out perfect on the first try, maybe not on the fifth, but eventually it will, and believe me you will have learned something along the way that is going to make things easier in the future. Ok, what this comes down to is learn from your mistakes *lol* And mistakes are ok to make!

As you might know I love samplers! Not only because I think they are pretty and a lot of fun to look at, but also because they are a wonderful teaching/learning tool. Start off with a simple nine patch and work up in degree of difficulty in piecing and appliqué - and it can also be a way of trying out different techniques, not everything suits everyone.

And not to forget, a block with smaller pieces can be easier to make well than a block with large ones. A slightly crooked seam shows up a lot more on a four inch long seam than on a two inch.

We Six Nasons said...

What a great opportunity, getting to teach a quilt class. You are going to do a great job, being that you are a great quilter and a very nice person. The one thing that I think was the most useful in quilting when I was a beginner is how important pressing the fabric is. I really wanted to skip this part because of my aversion to the iron. Now it is my best friend!

*katie* said...

Oooo! I want to come! Is it something I could come to? Let me know!!! I've started my first quilt and honestly have no clue what I'm doing. I bought a book all about quilting, but reading about it is just not the same as learning from a real live person that can answer questions on the spot. The one BIG thing I'm not looking forward to is the binding...I don't know why, but it seems hard to me....