Here’s How to Get Started and Complete Your First Quilt!
Time and again we find comments on our Facebook page from visitors saying “Gee, I wish I could quilt.” We also see “That looks too hard!” in response to simple patterns. And then there’s “Can you recommend a book or class that will teach me how to quilt?”
If you’d like to learn how to quilt, or to refresh basic quilting skills, there’s no time like the present to get started.
Have you done some sewing and know how to work a sewing machine? Then you already have abilities you can build on to make quilts.
Quilting can easily be broken down into two basic skills: being able to cut accurately and learning to sew an accurate, consistent 1/4″ seam. There’s more to it than that, of course, but once you master basic cutting and stitching the whole world of quilting will open up to you.
One thing that can be intimidating to new quilters is the variety of tools needed to make a quilt. Or not. Simple quilts don’t require many tools at all. But, how do you break through the confusion and know what you need to get started? A good instructor and the right class can make all the difference.
Where Do You Learn to Quilt?
Many of today’s quilters learned how to quilt from their Moms or Grandmas. The tradition of quilting has been passed down through families for generations.
Of course, our ancestors often completed quilts entirely by hand. But, if you want to make the most of your quilting time, we recommend learning machine piecing and quilting. You can always learn to quilt by hand later, if that appeals to you.
If you weren’t lucky enough to learn while you were young, don’t despair. It’s never too late to learn how to quilt!
This easy table runner is a good project for beginning quilters. Learn more here.
Quilt shops often teach basic quilting classes, as do many community education programs through schools. Local quilters and even quilt guilds often offer classes. Or, a quilting friend may be able to help you get started.
You might also consider taking an online class. These are wonderful for getting excellent instruction at your own pace and when you have the time to “attend.” The video close-ups clearly show how things should work. In fact, they’re often better than what you’d see in an actual classroom.
Online classes are usually recorded videos, not “live”, so you can stop, back up, and repeat sections whenever you want. And, you’ll have ongoing access, should you ever want to go back and review something. Plus, with most classes, the instructor is available to answer your questions through texting or email. And, online classes tend to be quite affordable.
This is a great “first quilt” pattern for beginning quilters. Learn more here.
Many people are a bit intimidated by taking a class online, often because of possible tech issues. If you have an iPad, laptop or desktop computer you can easily complete an online course. Full instructions are provided for accessing the video classes and working through any tech issues. To be honest, issues seldom occur. But, if in doubt, perhaps a friend can help you become comfortable with the class’s online interface.
The right class makes a big difference too. It’s easy to be taken in by the gorgeous quilt to be taught and to soon find yourself in over your head.
Starting at the beginning will help you build the required skills so that you can go on to confidently tackle that masterpiece. You’ll also learn your machine, the various tools and the other things needed to (eventually) make just about any quilt you want.
Beginning Quilting Classes Online
There are many beginning quilting classes to be found online. Or, simply go to YouTube.com and look around. Many quilters find the videos from the Missouri Star Quilt Company to be helpful, as well.
However, a complete course that covers all the basics will save you a lot of trial and error.
We’ve looked through many and recommend the courses from Amy Gibson. There are four classes that will take you from making your first easy project to completing a bed-sized quilt. They’re inexpensive and you’ll have lifetime access to all of the training. Each class builds on the one before, so it’s good to complete them in order.
Amy Gibson, Learn to Quilt – Class 1
During the first class you’ll make a charming patchwork baby quilt from pre-cut squares. You’ll learn the basics of stitching together a quilt top, layering it up and finishing a tied quilt. You’ll also learn how to set up your sewing machine and how to deal with common machine issues.
Amy Gibson, Learn to Quilt – Class 3
In Amy’s third class you’ll make a cozy throw quilt. You’ll learn how to strip piece and add sashing between blocks. You’ll also advance your skills with some great cutting, pressing and squaring up tips. Machine quilting options are covered, as well.
Amy Gibson, Learn to Quilt – Class 4
In this class, the final one of Amy’s “Learn to Quilt” series, you’ll make a beautiful bed-sized hexagon quilt. In the process you’ll learn the ins and outs of piecing irregular shapes. You’ll also learn how to layer up and quilt a large quilt on your machine. There are many other tips, as well, for working with large quilt projects.
Once you’ve completed Amy’s four-part series, you’ll have an excellent foundation for going on and completing many types of quilts. You’ll be able to work from patterns on your own, and successfully complete additional classes for specialized quilts and techniques.
Do You Already Have a Project Started?
If you have quilt project ready to go – or have even started one and gotten bogged down – there’s a class that will help you complete it.
Instructor Laura Nownes will walk you though a wide assortment of questions that come up for beginning quilters.
Her class, “Quilting with Confidence – Your Questions Answered”, teaches essential cutting, piecing, pressing, quilting and binding techniques. By the time you’ve finished the class you’ll have all the basics under your belt. Your project is likely to be finished, too.
The Time is Now!
While quilting encompasses a variety of skills, it’s easier to get started than you might imagine. Find some good instruction and decide on an easy beginning project.
Each quilt you complete will increase your skill-set and your confidence. Before long you’ll be proud to call yourself a quilter!
Remember, there’s no better time to take that first step than now.
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