Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lessons learned from making my first quilt

Tonight's football practice craft: embroidering a little somethin' on my first-ever quilt block. #quilting #embroidery I like how the piecing ends up looking in the small hoop!
Last fall, I took my first quilt class. I was terrified and not sure how I'd do, but I was also excited to try something new. And though I started out shaky, within a few weeks I got my quilting legs and took off and fell madly in love with this medium. Since then, I've complete another quilt top, taught at QuiltCon and am diving into my third quilt this week. Before I fill you in on all those things, here's a look at my first quilt process and some of the things I learned.

Pieces cut for my first-ever quilt block! (with @yummygoods for note-taking) It was a straight split on which grouping folks liked. I ended up going with the left one in the previous picture. Ready to start sewing. #quilting

Taking a quilt class made a huge difference. I have a hefty stack of quilting books that I love, but taking a class really helped me understand how quilts come together, and made the books make more sense. Having a person who can answer questions and share their personal tips was infinitely helpful. Now I can tackle quilts I see in books with confidence. It was also fun to watch a group of students take identical patterns and create such incredibly different quilts. I loved it.

Quilt blocks for my first quilt so far. I like 'em, but think if I use the mustard for the sashing, that's gonna be a loooooooooot of mustard. It's much bolder than i expected. May change sashing to the grey/dots & keep border aqua ... #quilting

It pays to press. My sewing guru, Leslie, always said, "It pays to pin!" in our sewing classes, and she's right. The same saying can go for pressing when it comes to quilting. I won't iron clothes to save my life, but give me seams to press and I'm all over it.

It's happening! Finally quilting my big quilt! Ahhhh! #quilting

Mistakes are no big deal. I don't have a picture of it, but once I pulled my quilt out of the dryer, I was fondling it with glee (get yer mind out of the gutter!). My hand came across a seam in the middle of a block that had come completely out. At first, I was horrified, but then I thought it'd be a perfect place for a little embroidery. Maybe even a stitched "oops." No biggie.
Seeing your kid snuggled up under a quilt you made while they watch tv is pretty freaking awesome. After all the time and energy (sweat and tears, of course) I put in to this quilt, the happiest I was came when my son grabbed it off a chair and curled up underneath it. So in love.


Keeping it simple made it doable. The quilt blocks themselves were pretty involved, so I went super simple with the quilting (an aesthetic I prefer anyway) and kept the binding simple by just doing it all by machine. I thought this might be a "cheater" method of binding, but it turns out some of my very favorite quilters use this method exclusively. It felt great to finally tackle making my own binding and being able to attach it in one run through the machine satisfied my need to git 'er done. I kept Susan Beal's Modern Log Cabin Quilting book right next to me during the entire binding process. Her instructions were so easy to follow, and eased all my binding fears.


I'm so glad that I fell in to quilting right now. It's been a great way to rejuvenate me, challenge me, and introduce me to a whole other community that is vibrant and supportive. I'm looking forward to quilts number three ... four ... five ... one hundred ....