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Pre-cuts Easy Quilting Tips Anyone Can Master

Quilt the Easy Way with my top tips for pre-cuts. Afraid your quilting skills are basic but want to make a quilt that looks good? Follow these tips for simple quilting ideas that anyone can do.

1. Pre-cuts provide ready-cut fabrics that anyone can use. One of the obvious mistakes beginners make is to not cut fabric accurately. In fact some quilters never master cutting fabrics. Sometimes even pre-cuts can vary but they are relatively accurate.

2. Use a good quality wadding. Some wadding can show through when stitching.

3. Use the same type of fabric throughout the quilt.

What can you make with pre-cuts?

Strip quilts are a favourite. They are not just easy but also quick to do. Simply cut your jelly roll (fabric cut into strips) to the required length for your project. Depending on the size of the quilt you are making, measure across, allow for the seam allowances and borders and start joining strips. You can join the strips vertically, horizontally or even diagonally. Just make sure you alternate which end you start joining another strip, otherwise the strips have a tendency to start going out of shape.

You can use strips as they are. You can slice the strips once sown together into smaller pieces. You can also make blocks. They are very versatile. You can also add more fabrics if you think the jelly roll does not have enough contrast.

If you are confident at cutting, you can buy a special strip ruler to cut strips of an equal width. There are many book available for strip or jelly roll quilting.

Strip quilts are great for beginners since they will give you the confidence you need. If you have joined your strips horizontally, try quilting the sandwich diagonally to add variety. Mark your quilt from corner to corner, then quilt at regular intervals. Or go for free-motion quilting if you can. Circles make a good contrast to the lines of the strip quilt.

Once you have mastered a basic strip quilt, try out some of the other ideas for using a strip. I combined strips and applique to make my Four Seasons Wall Hangings. The kits are available in the online shop

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Quilting Book Review Free Motion Meandering by Angela Walters

Free Motion Meandering by Angela Walters, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing). ISBN 9781617455209, price 18.99 in the U.K. about from www.searchpress.com

Angela’s name has become synonymous with free-motion machine quilting. Find the basics about machine quilting and the tools that make it easier. Start with simple meandering and build your skills with every exercise or pattern. Master and practice – that is the key. This book provides you with all you need to know and learn the craft. Free-motion is a craft that needs (for most of us at least) hours of practice. This book is like a quilting course, it provides the challenge you need to keep practising and keep going. Colourful samples and line drawings with quilting directional arrows help you finish each square. Gosh this girl is he mean in meander – you’ve got swirly ons, paisley, feather and many other designs plus design tips. Brilliant.

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Book Review Modern Stencils by Nicolette Tabram

Modern Stencils by Nicolette Tabram, softback published by Cico Books. ISBN 9781782495499, price 12.99.

Fresh-looking, inspired designs that can transform your home. 8 re-usable stencils, including paisley and floral designs enable even beginners at stencilling to produce professional-looking results. There are 35 projects for textiles, furniture, floors and walls to make your house a home. 11 projects concentrate on textiles, such as stencilling bags, tea towels, napkins, cushions, curtains, a jacket or apron and more. You could stencil your own fabric. Learn all about this craft – tools, basic techniques and inspiration. Instructions are easy to follow and the photographs are excellent.

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Foolproof Quilting For Beginners

Where do you start with quilting? If it all looks so difficult and you are having difficulty getting started in quilting, there is help at hand. For years I would stare at quilting books and magazines totally bewildered. Quilts can look so complicated. Most of them are not. The trick is to break them down into bite-sized pieces. Even better there are foolproof ways to quilt for beginners.

It is important to recognise your sewing skills and to work on something you can finish. Build your sewing and quilting skills and improve as you learn. Concentrate on your strengths. If you are confident with one aspect of quilting – make that shine. Get one quilt finished and you’ll be hooked.

1. Work with plain fabrics if you find it easier to begin with Kona have a wonderful range of plain fabrics. I know I would love to have a fat quarter or more of every one. There are plenty of outlets in the U.K. for these fabrics and new colours are introduced regularly.
2. Introduce pattern with easy-to-use pre-cuts. You have lots of choice from strips to squares and if you are not so hot on cutting, this is a good way to start that first quilt.
3. Keep the design and colour choice simple at first.
4. Decide whether the design or the quilting is most important. This will depend on your own individual skills. Consider taking the design course.
5. Look for simple ways to cut your fabrics that have a magic complicated effect.
6. Work on small projects that you can finish in a day or a weekend.
7. Try quilt as you go – it’s an easier way to complete a quilt. There is a tutorial coming up soon.
8. Short of time but still want to quilt? Try number 7 or try hand quilting that can be done in short bursts like EPP. See our guide to different types of quilting.
9. Build your skills – once you can piece in straight strips or squares, try dividing the squares and piecing triangles.
10. If piecing is not your thing, try a multi- coloured background and applique.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Sewing Book Review Lagom Style Accessories

Lagom Style Accessories by Debbie von Grabler-Crozier, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216070, price 7.99 in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

20 Scandinavian-inspired projects to sew. Lagom is a Swedish philosophy for balance. Nicely designed projects, but I did think some of them looked for Swedish than others. There are projects to fall in love with here. Use stash and scraps to make simple designs that can transform your home or make perfect gifts. Step by step instructions are accompanied by excellent photos. Full-size templates are included too. You’ll find a basic techniques section. Favourite projects for me are the apron, plant pot cover, tote bag, apple kitchen set and the fabulous fabric basket.

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Exclusive – Beginners’ Quilting 10 Top Tips For Quilt Making

hand dyed quilting fabric

Beginners’ quilting? Where do you start? What basic equipment do you need?Quilting is an ancient craft that can be created by hand or machine. With hand sewing it can be as simple as fabric, needle and thread.

Here is my top ten of what you need:

1. Fabric anything from plain calico cotton to hand dyed fabrics or commercial fabrics. I would choose cotton over polyester or mixes every time, however I do like to experiment with other fabrics. Check out our exclusive hand dyed fabrics

2. Whether hand or machine, choose good sewing needles appropriate to your fabric. Hand quilting needles are tiny and take some getting used to.

3. I would choose cotton thread over polyester in a suitable weight for your project. Opt for hand quilting thread if you are hand quilting. For embellishing your quilt, we have a range of undyed threads in cotton, wool, linen and silk.

4. Wadding – small projects can use felt but it is usual to choose a special batting or wadding. I do like the cotton wadding. There is a wide range of natural and synthetic wadding available. It is mainly a matter of choice. For bed quilts, choose the best you can afford. For wall hangings, many people opt for polyester.

5. Scissors – the best you can afford that are kept ONLY for cutting fabric.

6. Pins – you will most likely need more than one type. Long straight pins are useful for piecing. Curved safety pins are useful for basting the quilt layers.

7. Cutting requires either good scissors, but to be more accurate (and you know that is the byword of all quilting) you will need a rotary cutter. Feeling flush? Invest in an Accuquilt cutter or similar.

8. Cutting also requires rulers. Use a quilt ruler to cut accurately along with a cutting board.

9. Markers – I use a Hera marker.

10. Templates – make your own or buy. Mylar sheets are a good choice.

Check out the guide for types of quilting.

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Textile Book Review – Making Faces by Melissa Averinos

Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averinos, softback published by Stash Books. ISBN 9781617455445, price 22.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

Subtitled ‘Draw, Collage, Stitch & Show’ this book is just that and you need to bear that in mind. It gives you the techniques and know-how to make faces on fabrics, so it does not matter if you like the style or the drawings, you will be using the techniques to develop your own creativity. The book is divided into four parts named in the subtitle. Chapter One is about drawing and proportion – where does your nose fit into that face? Tips for drawing and positioning features. It is on a very basic level that is excellent for beginners. Chapter Two – selecting, cutting and positioning fabrics for a collage face. Chapter three is about stitching the collage in place.Chapter Four contains projects to try out your skills. A cushion, tote, wall art, embellishing a shirt. The book finished with a Gallery of work, both by the author and by students. It skims the surface using basic techniques that are detailed enough for anyone to have a go and produce reasonable results.

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Quilting Book Review – Southwest Modern by Kristi Schroeder

Quilting Book Review – Southwest Modern by Kristi Schroeder, softback published by Lucky Spool Media in the USA. ISBN 9781940655284, price 24.99, available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

18 beautiful modern quilts inspired by travel in the Southwest from Maria to New Mexico. Ancient motifs are transformed into contemporary quilts. This book contains imagery from the Southwest used to inspire and inform the design process. In truth the travel seems to have informed colour and little else. The fantastic scenery and imagery is not found on the quilt designs. I found it quite disappointing in that respect, and felt that the idea to marry the quilts to the travel idea was a little lacking, just a story to find a hook for the book. Nevertheless, the actual quilts are stunning and the book is beautifully produced with stunning photos and easy to follow instructions. There are templates at the back of the book.

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Exclusive – Quilting Books Worth Buying

Here is a list of quilting books I have found to be really useful, with the reviews I wrote about them if applicable. It is a work in progress, starting with the most recently released books. I will add to the list as new books come out, so keep checking back please.

Quilt Traditions by Devon LaVigne. ISBN 9781617455223. What a wonderful way to learn traditional quilting. 12 great projects and 9 skill-building techniques. Each quilt has a story to tell. Good design is the basis of this interesting book. Perfect your quilting skills with strip piecing, half-square triangles, templates, paper piecing, machine appliqué and sewing set-in seams and curves. You can see how the harmonious colour selections enhance these wonderful quilts. Easy to follow instructions and clear photos and diagrams seem to make the process easier. I really enjoyed this book.

Pioneer Quilts by LL and K Triplett. ISBN 9781617454653. The authors are the proud owners of a large quilt collection from their pioneer grandmother. They are documenting their historic collection for all to see and enjoy. In this book, you will find 30 quilts from the famous Poos collection. These are photographed in detail. 5 projects give instruction for you to make a quilt from an antique design. The book begins with an introduction based on historical research and diaries from the 1800s about life on the Plains and migration west. There are superb reproductions of the quilts, each with a description. The 5 patterns have been re-created for the modern quilter and are suitable for the intermediate skill level. The large Delectable Mountains quilt is c. 1850, Wild Goose Chase from c. 1875, Cake Stand from c.1890, Red and white Nine Patch from c. 1870 and Double Four-Patch Crib Quilt from c. 1880. You’ll find everything you need to know to make these 5 wonderful quilts. They are not my favourites from the book however, but each of these quilts is a piece of history.

Artful Log Cabin Quilts by Katie Pasquini Masopust. ISBN 9781617454509. Katie is one of my favourite quilt authors. She has the most wonderful ideas. If you are thinking traditional log cabin quilts, think again. This book takes you from inspiration to a modern interpretation of log cabin quilts. Make free-form blocks from any image. Contents include history, inspiration, grids, fabrics, cutting, construction, quilting and finishing plus a gallery. There are lots of ideas for composition. The book has easy to follow instructions and is illustrated throughout with fabulous images of work. A simple design idea that works and will transform your quilting. It doesn’t, however make me think of log cabin quilts, but very very artful, yes. Great designs, great use of colour, fabric and stitch.

Modern Triangle Quilts by Rebbecca Bryan. ISBN 9781617453137. 70 pieced triangle blocks make bold, geometric designs to play with in your quilt-making. There are 3 basic triangular shapes used to make blocks. These are used singly or joined to make diamonds or larger triangles. You’ll also find 11 sampler quilts that are simple to piece with no set-in seams. Explore bold, dynamic design, colour, visual texture and balance. Enhance with stitch. I love the Upstart quilt (I would have put this one on the front cover). It is dynamic and a very adaptable design, as shown in Skylines and Facets. At the back of the book are fold-out template patterns. The instructions are clear and I would expect this to be one to be a bestseller.

All Things Quilting with Alex Anderson. ISBN 9781607058564. Don’t know how to quilt? Want to learn but can’t get to classes? Here is a superb book to help you along the journey. Few sit down and create a masterpiece straight away, but this book will certainly iron out a few wrinkles. Learn all about materials, tools and techniques. Found out how to design, draft, cut, piece, applique, construct, quilt and finish. Expand your quilting horizons no matter what your skill level. This is not just about tips and measurements, this book encourages you to play and think before committing. Includes great photography and easy to follow instructions throughout. An absolute classic.

Quilting Is My Therapy by Angela Walters. ISBN 9781217455162. I have admired all Angela Walters’ books but this one has me mesmerized. That gorgeous cover is soft to the touch and I keep stroking it – it is almost like a piece of fabric. This is a collectible book of the stitches and quilts created by this amazing machine quilt artist. See how she chooses free-motion stitches to adorn her quilts. Such a magnificent book with incredible knock-out photography. Includes beginnings, hand to machine quilter, going pro, go big, back to the future, about the author, Special detail has been paid to extra thick paper and a cover with flap and it is simply superb in a word. It’s like stitch combining to accommodate the quilt design and enhance perfectly with stitch. Sharing her fabulous skills for all to see what they too can achieve. This is all about the beauty of quilting, highlighting the stitch. It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it. Angela does it so fine. It is not a step-to-step free-motion instruction manual, but Angela talking about her incredible journey to be one of the best quilters. Highly recommended.

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Quilting Book Review – Improvising Tradition by Alexandra Ledgerwood

Improvising Tradition by Alexandra Ledgerwood, softback published by Interweave. ISBN 9781620333372, price 20.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

Modern and exciting improvisational methods of quilting. Great on design, colour and machine quilting with projects you’ll want to make. This is the sort of book where you want to start making immediately. The projects look fresh and usable and are based in tradition. This book introduces three improv piecing techniques and traditional techniques such as log cabins and needle turn appliqué to marry old and new with a complete twist. There are 18 projects in all with a wide range of appeal. The book includes Creating With Strips, Strata and Slice and Insert improv methods. There are design tips and information for quilting on your home machine as well as special instructions for piecing curves, sewing triangles, quilt as you go, needle turn appliqué and hand quilting. Instructions are very clear and beautifully presented and include at-a-glance Materials, cutting and finished size, construction and excellent photographs and diagrams. Projects include baby quilts, cushions, throws, table runners, coasters, wall hanging, table mats and quilts in different sizes. Recommended.