Friday, January 10, 2014

Quilting 101: Before You Get Started

Welcome to my first tutorial for the blog!

Quilting 101 will be a very basic insight into this hobby of mine.

First, you need to know that I am NO expert!

But, I've been at this long enough, and since quite a few of you have asked, I've decided to share what I know.

I can't promise you any blue ribbons at the next State Fair, but at least you'll have a working knowledge of what goes into creating a quilt. =D

So, on to part one!

3 Things You Need to Know
 Before You Start Quilting 
(Or any hobby, really)

First: It can be very expensive!

I cannot stress this enough. When you start any hobby, you have to know what you're getting into financially.

There are 2 major expenses in quilting.

Tools & Fabric. 

Both are necessary, and fortunately, abundant! Unfortunately, they are also pricey. 

Make a budget and stick to it! Keep an eye out for sales and stock pile coupons. You can get a good deal, but it may push back the finish time, so plan accordingly.

Here's a must-have list of what you'll need before you start your project. 
*Sewing machine
*Rotary cutter
*Self-healing rotary mat
*Seam ripper 
*Pins - straight and safety pins
*Fabric (according to pattern)
*Batting (also according to pattern)

(The next post will have these tools and more in better detail - stay tuned!)

Second:  It takes up quite a bit of space

Goodness, this photo is a couple of years old! lol! Some of the aesthetics have changed, but the overall set up is still the same. I turn my kitchen table into a table large enough for ease of quilting (I can't believe it's not on the blog! I shall remedy that soon.), but any kitchen table should be big enough. You'll also need a place for an ironing board and if you have the room, an extra table for cutting. Really, tho, space enough for a table & ironing board should be sufficient for the average project. Oh! You'll also need enough space to lay out your blocks before you piece the top.

Any wide open flat space, like a living room floor is fine. I have a very small living room, and this is a queen sized project ready to be pieced.

Third:   It takes time

Most quilts don't happen over night. Depending on how large the quilt is, and how much time you can allot to it, projects can take anywhere from days to months to finish. The picture of the ready to be pieced quilt above, is still sitting in my pieces. It has been for well over a year. Life just gets in the way sometimes! Other times, like the one pictured below, I have been able to finish a project in a week or less!

It also takes time to learn. I have been at this for over 10 years, and I still consider myself to be, at best, at an intermediate level of piecing, and a beginner at actually quilting. Partly because I never had a machine that let me actually quilt (which is why my piecing is much better) and partly due to the fact that being on a tight budget, quilting has been shelved for months to years at a time.

Give it time, you will get there! Now that I've been given a working machine, I'm back in the game and hoping to drastically improve my quilting skills.

 Now that we've covered the basics of what goes into making a quilt, we can go on to the tutorial!

Join me next time for Quilting 101 Part 2: Tools of the Trade


  1. Great post! I LOVE the quilt that's in pieces still :) Pretty colors! Hopefully life will leave you alone long enough to finish it soon :)

  2. I too love it! So glad you have stuck to it. This proves that you can quilt in a small house with no craft room, and a house full of kiddos. I too am amazed that you don't have the quilting table on the blog. I remember the construction thereof detailed on FB. Will look forward to seeing it. Good job.