Once upon a time, before I turned twenty, I made a couple quilts. They were baby quilts filled with love, painstakingly sewn with little skill but many good intentions. I knew how to use a sewing machine just enough to sew a straight line. My mother made sure of that by drawing lines on paper and having me sew on the paper lines until I got it right. The few baby quilts were given to friends for their new babies, and I was so pleased to give a gift that came from the heart – and my hands.
When we were expecting our second son, I had a desire to learn how to make a REAL quilt, however I didn’t know anyone who quilted. I looked at a few magazines and saw some patterns I liked. I fell in love with the color “moss green” yet I wanted a scrappy quilt. The Flying Geese pattern intrigued me, so I set out to visit the local fabric store and purchase some “scraps.” I made a crude pattern, and began stitching the triangles. Lots of moss green solid fabric held the quilt together. I say LOTS because I got a great deal on a whole bolt of moss green (I still have some!) and used it on the front and back of my son Loren’s quilt.
This is not a very good photo of the quilt. The colors have faded because I didn’t know enough to keep it out of the light. You can see the fading in lines, and for a long time, it was always folded the same way (which is not recommended). Many of the colors used to be vibrant, and the moss green is far from what it used to be.
The photo above is a close up of the quilt. (You should be able to click on the photo and enlarge it.) You can see that I didn’t know enough to make my triangles have three sharp points! The actual quilting is not bad for a new quilter, and I’m pretty proud of that fact, but the piecing… well, it stinks. I didn’t know. And I didn’t have anybody around to tell me differently. And that is the whole point of this article.
Experienced quilters know the names of dozens (hundreds?) of famous quilt celebrities. We can use their names in conversation, much as you would names of well-known movie actors. Brad Pitt. Sylvester Stallone. Jimmy Stewart. Marilyn Monroe. Bette Davis. And on and on. Other experienced quilters will know who we are talking about, and will understand the quilt celebrity’s specialty areas.
But what about NEW quilters? They long to know enough to get them started on the right path. They want to know what needles to use, how to choose a good beginning pattern, how to make their own templates, what thread is best, and whether they need a thimble or not. They are often reluctant to ask questions for fear they will be laughed at. But their questions are IMPORTANT!
We have all read about quilting bees from the 1800’s. Ladies sat around a large frame that held a quilt, with sometimes 8 or 10 quilters stitching at a time. They learned from each other. Children played underneath the frame when they were young, and gained knowledge of what quilting was all about. Quilters SHARED information. It was how you learned.
I recently had a conversation with a quilter who told me, “there are a lot of learners and newbies; I feel my stuff is a bit too high-power for a lot of these folks.” That remark set my teeth on edge.
You should know that this blog was designed for YOU. For ALL QUILTERS. For anyone with a desire to learn how to hand quilt. For the brand new beginner who has never even tried on a thimble. For the quilter who has no idea how to begin, what fabrics to use for quilting, and how much to purchase. For the quilter who has never seen anyone quilt in person, yet wants to learn how.
This blog was designed for the quilter who has a few quilts under his or her belt, wants to keep learning more, and is interested in helping other quilters along the way.
This blog was designed for the advanced quilter – because you are NEVER TOO ADVANCED TO KNOW EVERYTHING! An advanced quilter has a great deal of knowledge and experience that all quilters will benefit from.
If you know an advanced quilter who is too good to share their knowledge with you, that is not a person that you want teaching you anyway. Walk away fast and don’t look back.
Should you ever have a question about hand quilting, you are free to ask it on this blog or on our Facebook page (which, as I write this post, is approaching 2000 members!).
Please know that every quilter makes a first quilt. And, like mine shown above, it will NOT be perfect. But it WILL be loved.
And the loving is the best part of quilting.
Welcome to our blog, no matter who you are. We love that you stopped by.