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Quilting For Beginners Making A Start

You have by now, if you are following the blog, read the quilting guide, bought your basic tool kit, got a little sewing machine and some fabric and you are ready to start. Yet you keep putting it off.
You are not sure you understand the instructions, have chosen the right fabric or even the right pattern.

Let me help. Last week we looked at simplifying quilting for beginners so that you can complete a quilt. Once you do so, you will gain confidence. I know how difficult it is to start, it took me years of indecision.

1. Find a quiet time to begin.
2. Ensure you will not be disturbed
3. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and that it is the right height.
4. Have everything to hand that you need.
4. Breathe deep and relax.

Try to set a time to quilt each day even if it is only 30 minutes. Anything to get started. Even if you are just sewing one seam, it is a start. Once you start, your confidence will grow.

Only you know your ability. Aim for something simple such as strips, squares or geometric shapes such as squares and oblongs. Leave the triangles for now. English paper piecing if you prefer hand stitching, is also amazingly easy and very accurate.

Start with a small project to gain confidence and you’ll soon be on the road to full-size quilting if that is your aim. Build with each project you make. Practising on small projects means that you will finish them quickly and once you have finished projects your confidence just blooms. When you are confident of one step, move onto the next.

If you need practice with straight stitch and quarter inch seams, then practice. Make strips into small bags or journal covers. What it is best not to do is to start a quilt above your skill level and be unable to finish it. So forget that dream quilt for now, and concentrate on finishing simple projects. Your time will come to make the quilts of your dreams.

Made a mistake – get out your unpicking tool and start again. Or try again the next day if you are out of patience. Practice and finished projects equals progress.

Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Quilting Book Review Patchwork & Quilting

Visual Guide To Patchwork & Quilting, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing). ISBN 9781617455612, price 20.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com

Everything you need to know about patchwork and quilting in one handy volume. If you need visual guidance to quilt – here it is. The book has a nice feel to the cover and is visually appealing with all the bright, detailed photos. Everything is laid out in 8 comprehensive chapters. Tools & Supplies, Fabrics, Piecing, Applique, Quilting by Hand or Machine, Finishing, Beyond the Basics and Reference. Jam-packed full of useful tips and information. A complete handbook to know how to quilt plus projects and 25 block patterns. The blocks get you going with thinking about design and the projects hone your skills. This book will make you a better quilter. Slight niggles are some of the pics are too small. Overall I believe this is a book every quilter should have.

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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.