Quilting For The Absolute Beginner: START HERE


Most quilters will admit that they are self-taught and that it took years of trial and error, wasted fabric, frustration, and tears to get to the point where they felt somewhat competent as they began a new quilting project.

That’s because the resources available to beginner quilters have been limited to the generosity of skilled quilters sharing their techniques informally, newspaper and magazine articles, workshops conducted by professionals, and books.

While these resources can be extremely valuable, there hasn’t been an organized method of becoming a master of quiltmaking — until now!

Follow the guide below as we will hold your hand and guide you as you step through your quiltmaking education.

We hope to give you the courage and confidence to begin any quilting project and know that your finished heirloom quilt will be loved by generations. Plus, you might become an award-winning quilter who we all read about in the quilting magazines!

How to begin as a beginner quilter? Let’s get started!

Preparation

  • Common Quilting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
  • The Must-Have Tools for Quilting

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Understanding Quilt Blocks

  • Select and Plan Blocks For Your Quilt – you will learn about traditional quilt blocks – how they are divided into a grid and how the grid is divided into sub-sections called patches.
  • 4 Patch Quilt Block Patterns
  • 9 Patch Quilt Block Patterns and more
  • How Quilt Block Patterns are Created

Choosing Colors and Selecting Your Fabrics

Choosing colors and fabrics for your quilts can seem overwhelming in the beginning. One of the biggest challenges I faced was learning that it was OK to use several different prints in the same quilt. Back in the way olden days, we were taught not to mix prints – at least in the clothes we wore. In this session, you will learn how to figure out how much fabric you need for your quilt, about the Ives Color Wheel, and various ways to make your color selection easy and fun.

Calculating Yardage for Your Quilt

  • Figuring out Yardage for a Quilt
  • Measurements in Quilting
  • Using the FabriCalc

Choosing Colors for Your Quilt

  • Color – Some Basic Definitions
  • Basics of the Color Wheel
  • Choosing Fabric Color using the Ives Color Wheel
  • Using the 3 in 1 Color Tool to Choose Fabric
  • Tips for Choosing Colors
  • Color Schemes for Your Quilts

Learning Color Value

  • Color Values – Overview
  • Creating 3D Quilts

Ready, Set, Cut

You would think that cutting fabric would be pretty straightforward, especially if you are using a rotary cutter. However, I learned the hard way that if your patches are cut wrong, your quilt blocks will not be the right size and shape. And careful cutting will go a long way to making everything fit together.

Cutting Your Fabric

  • An Overview of Cutting Fabric
  • Getting On-Grain with Your Fabric
  • Squaring up Your Fabric Before You Cut
  • Cutting Strips of Fabric
  • Cutting Strips with the June Tailor Shape-Cut
  • The All-in-One Rotary Ruler
  • A Shortcut for Cutting Half-Square Triangles
  • Creative Grid Tool for Cutting Half-Square Triangles
  • Cutting Diamonds Using a Triangle Template
  • What Happens When There is No Selvedge Edge
  • How to Prevent Creating “Bends” in Your Fabric Strips
  • Fussy Cutting Patches for Special Effects in Your Quilts
  • Fussy Cutting Diamonds
  • Hand Cutting Patches with Scissors

Sewing the Pieces into Blocks

Just as quilters have gotten more innovative in terms of cutting fabric, they have developed short-cut, timesaving methods for sewing patches into quilt blocks. In this section, you’ll learn about the importance of consistent seam allowances and how to make sure that your seam allowances are accurate. Then we’ll look at some strategies for analyzing quilt blocks so you can see exactly how to sew the patches together. And, finally, we’ll look at chain sewing techniques to save time. Not to worry, along the way, you’ll see some extra tidbits, too.

Sewing the Blocks Together Individually

Seam Allowances and Sewing Patches into Blocks

  • All About Seam Allowances 
  • Seam Allowances in Quilting
  • Sewing Accurate 1/4″ Seam Allowances
  • Simple tricks for stitching accurate patches
  • Sewing Patches into Blocks

Sewing Triangles

  • Tips for Triangles
  • Sewing Triangles Quick and Simple
  • Sewing Half-Square Triangles Methods
  • Sewing Curves in Your Quilting
  • Pressing Seam Allowances
  • Should I Press my Block Before it’s Complete or After?

Strip Piecing

  • Strip-Piecing Quilt Patches & Blocks
  • Strip-Piecing Saves Time and Can Increase Accuracy
  • Five Quilt Blocks Made From Strips Hand Piecing
  • Hand Piecing a Straight and Flat Seam
  • Hand Sewing Quilt Patches
  • Backstitching by hand at a slant

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Sewing Stars

  • Sewing an 8-Pointed Star Quilt Block
  • Adding the squares between the points of your diamonds for an 8 pointed star quilt
  • Sewing Set-in or Y Seams 

Sewing the Blocks Together

Sewing your blocks together is fairly straight forward, but there are some things you can do along the way to be sure that the blocks in your quilt top are the way you want them, and that they are as square (or rectangular) as they can be. In addition, you can add sashing between the blocks on your quilt as you sew them together. In this Step, you’ll learn how to add sashing, discover how to ensure that your blocks are sewn together exactly the way you want them, and learn tips for speedy sewing.

Sashing

  • Simple Sashing
  • Sashing with Cornerstones
  • Sashing with Stripes
  • Crazy Pieced Sashing
  • Sashing on Point with Cornerstones

Sewing Blocks Together to Create the Quilt Top

  • Adjusting the Size of the Blocks
  • Sewing the Quilt Top Together
  • Chain Sew Blocks to Keep Them Organized
  • On Point Quilts
  • Sewing Blocks on a Tshirt Quilt

Adding Borders to Your Quilt

Borders can be as simple as adding strips of fabric around the center of your quilt top. Or, you can add pieced borders. The number of borders and width of your borders is a matter of opinion (yours!), although I’m certain you will find quilters who believe there are specific “rules” about borders on quilts. The only rule I truly believe in is – add measured borders. By that I mean, measure your quilt top, then cut borders to that measurement and fit the borders to the quilt. Otherwise, you will be compounding the slight (or large) differences in the length of the sides of your quilt. In this section, you’ll learn how to measure your quilt, add the correct size borders, and you’ll get some creative ideas for borders – both simple and a little more complicated.

Borders

  • Perfect Borders for Perfect Shaped Quilts – Every Time!
  • Adding the Perfect Borders to Your Quilt
  • Tips for Adding Borders
  • How to Add Borders with Mitered Corners to a Quilt
  • Interesting Quilt Borders – A Few Ideas
  • A Simple Border Idea – Repeat the Blocks in a Different Color Scheme
  • Adding Pieced Borders
  • Piano Key Quilt Border
  • Make your Borders Soar with Flying Geese
  • Discover a Modified Flying Geese Pattern for your Quilt Border
  • Border using Isosceles Triangles
  • Chain Link Quilt Border
  • Quilt Border Bricks

Layering Your Quilt

Without layers, your quilt isn’t a quilt! There are 3 layers in a quilt – the top (which you just finished), batting and backing. As with other steps in quilting, there are options here. Your backing can be as simple as a single piece of cloth or you can piece your backing so you have a reversible quilt. There are many choices in batting, too. Which you choose depends on the use of your quilt and how you plan to quilt it – by machine or by hand. And, your style of basting depends on how you will quilt your quilt. You’ll explore all of these topics in this section. By the end, you’ll be able to create an interesting back for your quilt (if you want to) and know the best method for layering and basting – in addition to knowing which will be the best batting for your quilt.

Backing

  • Tips for Quilt Backings
  • Creative Ideas for Quilt Backings
  • A Pieced Quilt Back
  • Strip Pieced Backing for a Quilt
  • A Mistake in Backing Fabric
  • Backing for your Quilts

Batting

  • Needlepunched Batting
  • Cotton Batting
  • Wool Batting
  • Silk Batting
  • Polyester Batting
  • Bamboo Batting
  • How to Choose the Right Batting for Your Quilt
  • Alternatives to Traditional Batting
  • Piecing Batting
  • Batting Seam Tape

Layering and Basting

  • Step by Step Guide for Layering Your Quilt
  • More about Layering Your Quilt
  • Layering and Pin Basting
  • Fitting the Backing on Your Quilt
  • Layering and Basting for Machine Quilting
  • Ricky Tims’ Brilliant Basting Method for Machine Quilting
  • Tips for Pinning a Quilt and Thread Basting a Quilt

Quilting Your Quilt

The stitches that hold the layers together is what sets a quilt apart from an ordinary blanket. Your quilting stitches can be simple and follow the design of the patches in the quilt. Or they can be extraordinary – intricate designs that make a statement on their own. Early quilting was all done by hand. Now that home sewing machines are designed to allow free-form stitching more easily, quilters have developed methods for making machine quilting easier and much more beautiful. In this Step, you’ll learn how to choose and stitch the quilting design onto your quilt. There is a lot to explore in this Step, so take your time and enjoy each Session!

Choosing a Quilting Design

  • Quilting Techniques Described
  • Stitch-in-the-Ditch Quilting
  • How Much Quilting Should You Do on a Quilt?
  • How Much Quilting Do You Need?
  • Your Quilting Stitches Can Create Beauty in Your Quilt
  • Your Quilting Stitches Can Create A Design With the Fabric in Your Quilt
  • Creating Quilting Designs on your Quilt
  • Choosing a Machine Quilting Design

Thread for Quilting

  • Thread for Quilts
  • Finding a Good Quality Thread
  • The Twist in Thread
  • Choosing Thread
  • Quilting Thread
  • Types of Quilting Thread
  • Metallic Threads

Marking Your Fabric with the Quilting Design

  • Transferring a Quilting Pattern to Your Quilt
  • Quilting Pencils

Hand Quilting

  • Hoop or Quilt Frame
  • Quilting Frames
  • How to Set up a Quilt on a Quilting Frame
  • Quilting Needles
  • Tools for Hand Quilting
  • Hand Quilting Stitches
  • Hide the Knots in Your Quilt
  • Taking the First Hand Quilting Stitch
  • Stitches per Inch for Quilting

Machine Quilting

  • How to Buy a Sewing Machine for Quilting
  • Short-Arm Quilting Machines
  • Overview of Longarm Quilting Machines
  • Longarm Quilting Machines
  • Finding Space for Machine Quilting
  • An Extension Table for Machine Quilting
  • Quilting with an Embroidery Machine
  • Gloves for Machine Quilting
  • Darning Foot for Machine Quilting
  • Walking Foot for Machine Quilting
  • Some Simple Tips for Successful Machine Quilting
  • How to Turn Corners in Machine Quilting
  • Ricky Tims Shares a Great Machine Quilting Tip
  • Machine Quilting Example – a Specific Quilt
  • Hiding Knots in Machine Quilting

Binding and Finishing Your Quilt

  • Binding
  • Hanging Sleeves
  • Labels

Displaying Your Quilt

Making Money With Your Quilt

Enjoy and Happy Quilting!

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