Geta Grama from Geta’s Quilting Studio is hosting a blog hop this week, so we can share with each other tips we learned in our quilting journey. I am always amazed at quilters’ willingness to share what they know with one another (why reinvent the wheel, right?).
What is a blog hop without a giveaway? I have two gifts for a lucky quilter:
A Fat Quarter Bundle of Riley Blake’s Serenity line, courtesy of Riley Blake!
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giveaway will close May 16 at 5 pm. The randomly chosen
winner will be announced on Friday, May 17, here at this blog. I
will ship internationally, too!
You may want to create a file to record the tidbits you will collect as you visit all the creative blogs. Thanks, Geta, for your idea and for hosting this blog hop!
So, here is my contribution. I am pairing it down to 10 points, for your convenience.
1. A few of my favorite notions: bodkin, seam ripper, 4″ x 12″ ruler, embroidery scissors.
2. For successful color schemes on your projects, take the time to learn about the color wheel, color values, and the advantages of playing with fabric texture. Value can make or break your designs, and fabric texture adds an extra dimension to your quilt.
3. About threads: purchase the best quality you can afford, even for piecing! If you use low-quality thread for piecing thinking the seams will be hidden anyway, you might be shortchanging yourself: tons of lint will accumulate in the gears of your sewing machine, causing thread breakage and other problems; thick threads will affect the overall size of your block; threads might endlessly break, and your project will take longer and be less enjoyable.
As for fabrics: you are spending soooo much time piecing and quilting your wonderful project, so why would you use anything but high-quality fabrics on your quilt??? Enough said…
4. For easy piecing, try the assembly line method: instead of piecing one whole block at a time (unless it is a sampler quilt), stitch each section of all blocks at once, then move on to the next, and so on. Use strong thin thread (such as Aurifil, my favorite!), clean and oil your machine before each project, and always start with a new needle. These few tips will ensure smooth piecing…
5. Art quilts are an alternative if you don’t enjoy patchwork. You can create amazing landscapes or abstract designs using paint, thread, and embellishments. Sometimes, that is all I want to do: play with fabric. Have you tried it?
6. As for quilting your own quilts: don’t spend hours on end practicing. Make a small wall hanging and start quilting it! Your lines will become smoother, you will quilt with more confidence, and soon you will venture into larger projects. Take advantage of different marking tools (for intricate designs, Golden Thread paper is my favorite tool, or use FriXion pen to design your own lines [be sure to test the pen on a scrap piece of the fabric before using it liberally – it may leave white marks on darker fabrics!]). Shorten your stitches when quilting lots of curves or custom patterns. When stitching in the ditch or around applique motifs, always work with monofilament!
7. Check out the tutorials on my blog by clicking here. Lots of cool techniques and projects!
8. Sewing Machine thoughts: for straight stitch, any machine which is in good repair will do. If you are planning on buying a machine, listen to your friends’ experience with their own, then go to a store and take the machines for a ‘test drive’. However, make sure whatever you buy has the ‘needle down’ feature and, if possible, that bar on the right side which allows you to lift the presser foot with your knee – it makes life so much easier! As for me, my Bernina is heaven!
9. Quilting books: they are the best! Eleanor Burns’ Quilt in a Day series are fabulous books for beginners and seasoned quilters alike. Also, check out the books I have reviewed (click here) for insight on many great possible additions to your library.
10. My last advice: if you are planning on giving quilts away to friends and family members, DO IT NOW! Let them enjoy them, sleep under them, use them as they please. If needed, replace the gift after wear and tear. Quilts can be heirlooms, but they are to be enjoyed and not be folded and stashed away in a closet… If you want it to be carefully kept, give it to them inside frame and glass, but give it to them now. Watch them enjoy the gift…
Above all else, treasure the process of quilting!!!