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Tips For Beginners

Posted by Quilting Bee on

Anyone who says that a quilt is simply a patchwork is wrong because behind every quilt is a story and behind every quilter is a storyteller. To become a skillful quilter, not to mention a storyteller, however, is not an overnight task. It involves time, patience, dedication, and most importantly willingness to learn the quilting basics.

It is quite true that it is never easy to be a beginner because you have to learn a lot of things and sometimes experience disappointments when things don’t turn out the way you intended. Self-expectations are enormous, which oftentimes are the most formidable enemies of every beginning quilter. But if there is one thing that can spell success for every beginner, it is the ability to take baby steps, and that means getting down to the very basic and following some tips for beginners.
  1. Learn quilting jargons and terminology. Just as a would-be physician studies all the medical terms, you have to learn every word that is associated with quilting. Of course, you don’t do it in a day, all curled up in bed and studying. When you encounter unfamiliar words as you read quilting literature and instructions, find out the meaning at once. If you know the jargons and terminology, you can better follow instructions and communicate with fellow quilters. 

  2. Choose simple patterns. It is always tempting to get your hands on the intricately designed patterns; the problem is, they are often more complicated to work with. Save them for future projects. Now that you are starting, be realistic in assessing your skills. It is way better to begin with less complex patterns, those that can guide you through the art, than work on advanced patterns that can potentially exhaust you. 

  3. Work on less complicated projects. Again, be realistic. Choose smaller projects like pillowcases, placemats, or table runners and have them as experiments. Because they are small, it is more likely to get them done. As your skills advance, you can do bigger projects. 

  4. Decide whether to hand quilt or machine quilt. Hand quilting is an old method of quilting and is preferred by many quilters because of its traditional and recreational appeal. It gives quilters more control of the project, an avenue for socialization especially if the quilt is done by a group of people, and a greater sense of hand work. Machine quilting, on the other hand, is faster and easier to do and creates more identical and consistent stitches. It works to your advantage if you know to do both. There are times you may want to hand quilt or machine quilt an entire project, and other times when you feel like hand quilting a part, say the top, and machine-stitching the rest. 

  5. Learn the different stitches, styles, and techniques. The heart of quilting is in piecing and stitching strips and layers of fabrics, so you have to know how to do these. Take also some time to develop your cutting and basting skills. 

  6. Avoid being too critical. Remember, you are just starting, and it is very likely that the stitches are less than perfect. It’s okay. Don’t fret over errors; instead, relax and enjoy the quilting process. As you move from project to project, you will discover that your consistency and precision develop. As with anything, practice makes perfect. And before you know it, you have already mastered the quilting basics and moved on to becoming an expert quilter. 

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