It’s a new year!
There’s something about the new year coming around that makes us feel renewed. If you think about it, we’re not much different than we were a week ago, and yet the possibilities for the coming year make us want to make changes to our daily lives, set bigger goals, and strive for greatness. The anticipation of what’s to come literally makes me giddy. No more looking back to 2009 – cast those regrets aside – it’s time to start over.
Instead of making big plans that will inevitably fall through, be a person who takes on one or two new tasks and actually completes them. We all say we’re going to go to the gym more, or learn a new hobby or instrument. Try biting off one or two of these things, which is more realistic than taking on a whole slew of new hobbies or activities.
If you’re a crocheter who’s always wanted to sew, or a sewer who’s always wanted to knit, sign up for a class at the local craft or fabric store. Often times, if you look online, many craft stores offer short (2-3 hr) introductory courses for a reasonable price. Or check your local community center or YMCA, you’d be surprised at all the local places that offer sewing, crochet or knitting classes. I’ve seen sign-ups at several locations in my everyday experiences.
If you’re someone who’s always wanted to learn how to sew a quilt, this is your lucky day. I made my first quilt in high school, when I took a quilting class as an elective. It was my favorite class! Both of my grandmothers, my mother and several friends have received quilts from me over the years. I haven’t gotten too adventurous in my patterns – and I don’t stitch intricate designs on top of the quilt either – but the fabrics used for a patchwork quilt are so gorgeous that each one can be unique and special in its own way.
- 3 or 4 coordinating fabrics – I usually go with one large design, one medium sized design and one small design for variation and to avoid the “busy” look. For a 4th fabric it’s nice to choose a solid print. Remember to coordinate styles. **The amount of fabric you buy will depend on how large the quilt is. Talk to the salesperson at the fabric store for guidance.
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Quilting ruler – I like to use 6″ x 24″ ruler that makes 6″ squares. With a 1/2 inch seam, the squares end up being about 5″.
- Sewing Machine
- Cotton thread in a color that matches your fabrics (so it doesn’t stand out).
- Wash the fabric and dry in dryer to preshrink before sewing. Cut each corner on a diagonal (just about a half inch) to prevent frayed edges.
- Iron fabric so it lies flat.
- When you open the piece of fabric, it should be wide and short. Fold it in half across the width of the piece. In the words of my quilting teacher: “Right sides together, raw edges even.” This means, patterned sides fold in, and the raw or slightly frayed edges will also come together on the same side.
- Fold it in half again.
- Now you are ready to cut your strips. Using your 6″ ruler, line it up at one edge and cut a 6″ strip of your folded fabric using the rotary cutter. If you are at a raw edge, trim the frayed edge off before beginning.
- Do not open the fabric yet. Continue cutting 6″ strips of the rest of your folded fabric.
- Now turn each strip sideways and begin cutting across the strip, to make 6″ squares. Make your first cut on the raw side of the strip, not the folded side.
- Stack your 6″ squares off to the side until you’ve cut all your strips.
Repeat this process for each fabric you have.
Now that you have the squares for your quilt, let’s sew them together!
Check back next week for Part 2 of How to Start a Basic Quilt!