5 Things Beginning Quilters Should Know

Beginner quilters may have feelings of being overwhelmed at times since it may appear that there is a great deal to learn. If you notice that you are feeling this way, take a few moments to breathe deeply and focus on doing one task at a time. You will gain knowledge as you work on your quilt, and your abilities will continue to advance and develop with each new task that you complete.

You can alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed by concentrating on your skills, as well. As a novice, you should strive to concentrate on each of these five aspects of quilting.

Learn the terms. 

When you use the proper phrases, it will be much simpler for you to seek help from another quilter. For example, if you ask a quilter about the best way to adjust the “thing” on your machine, you can get numerous different replies that are incorrect. In a similar vein, hand quilters would have problems if they inquired about the “stuff” that is found around the perimeter of a quilt. Obtain a notebook and record down the terms you come across in your reading or listening, followed by the definitions of those terms. You can also consider purchasing a short quilting book to have on hand. There are many excellent books available, each of which features a glossary of quilting terms somewhere within its pages.

Know thy cloth. 

Because we are so particular about picking the right fabrics for our quilts, it is in your best interest to learn as much as you can about them. You will be more equipped to make informed decisions about the materials you use if you are aware of the composition of the cloth you are using. It is not necessarily true that anything is made entirely of cotton simply because it appears to be.

Along these same lines, you need to educate yourself on the grain of the fabric. You need to educate yourself on how to cut on the bias as well as against it, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of both approaches.

Seam allowance is important. 

Practice sewing a one-quarter inch seam allowance, whether by hand or machine. You can use the markings on the plate of your sewing machine to serve as a guide for a quarter-inch seam allowance.

Consistency in seam allowance is vital to quilt making. If you sew with a quarter-inch in some places, a half inch or one-eighth inch in others, your quilt top will be one big mess. Your blocks won’t be the same size.

Keeping a straight seam allowance (or a consistently curved one when working with curves and circles) is also important. You need to be able to sew a straight line. Otherwise, your pieces will look skewed.

Become a sharp cutter. 

Whether you use scissors or a rotary wheel, practice cutting so you will start off with perfect quilt block pieces. If one edge of a piece is a little crooked, it can affect the outcome of the project as a whole.

Getting the hang of a rotary wheel takes a little time for someone who has never used one very often. With a little practice, you will soon learn how to keep the fabric from slipping as you cut it and how many pieces you can safely cut at one time.

Using hand scissors can be time consuming if you have a lot of quilt block pieces. It can also be painful. Repetitive use of hand muscles can create pain, even situations like carpal tunnel in the wrist.

Set up good habits now. 

Good habits to get into include pressing your seam allowances as you go, organizing your fabric stash in a way that is easy for you to maintain, and allowing yourself time for learning new techniques.

If you, as a beginner, can concentrate on these five tips now, it should make your continued quilting an easier process. Learning about fabrics may not seem like much fun, but in the long run, you will save time and costly mistakes in your quilting.

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