Creative Living

About Quilting

I’m not an experienced quilter, by any means, but I enjoy sewing, and I don’t mind giving things a whirl. So when I was expecting my first baby, I decided that I wanted that baby to have a quilt made by his mama — and that was that! I read books every time we were in a Borders, studied every quilt I encountered, and eventually just dove in. (I hadn’t discovered the world of craft blogs yet, which actually wasn’t very existent three years ago — weird, right?)

Now, if you’re a beginner who’s looking into tackling a quilt, you may at first be overwhelmed by the number of gadgets and amount of knowledge most quilting tutorials involve. I saw pictures of cutting mats and cutters, 3 different rulers, chalk, special pins, yada yada, and I got nervous. All I had was a basic machine, scissors, and a tape measure. Would that work?

After absorbing the basic format of quilt-making, I realized that for hundreds of years, young girls have been making quilts — without a myriad of tools from JoAnns! So yes! You can make a quilt with whatever you have, so long as you have a can-do attitude!

Okay. That said, let me now share with you a few links to get you started on your merry way!

Sew, Mama, Sew! has countless quilting tutorials for the very beginner. Just a few days ago, this most recent tutorial was posted. It’s for a small patchwork doll quilt — just the thing for a beginner project! But even if you want to make a crib-sized quilt, this tutorial shows all of the important steps — cutting, piecing, sandwiching, quilting, and binding.

Do better with a book? There are certainly hundreds of how to quilt books out there. I tend to like a bit more of a modern aesthetic in my quilts, and I’ve enjoyed having Denyse Schmidt’s book on my shelf, for inspiration and direction.

There are so many cool quilt ideas out there. Of course, there are the intricate patterns that quilters have been mastering for centuries. But there’s a whole new flood of ideas, too. I especially enjoyed watching Hilary of Wee Wonderfuls as she decorated her daughter’s nursery with unique doll quilts. Lots of different ideas! She’s only one such blogger. Once you start poking around, you might find, as did I, that quilting is so much more than Flying Geese in calicoes!

The baby quilts I’ve made have been very special to work on, and even more special as I’ve snuggled my babies in my own handiwork. And the best part? Embroidering, “Love, Mama” in the bottom corner!


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  1. I once thought I would try making a quilt, so I bought some fabric and proceeded to start cutting out 2 inch squares and 1 1/2 inch triangles to make a fairly tedious design. I knew nothing, and it showed! I think I got through sewing about 10 squares together only to realize that I had sewn some together that weren’t meant to be together and I had to rip out all the seams. I never went back to it :). Perhaps I will try again with a more realistic plan…

    Posted by Lori Ruehle | February 12, 2009, 12:53 pm
  2. Lori: Yes, being realistic in choosing your quilt pattern is important, I think. And not simply realistically assessing your skill level, but also the amount of time you have to finish the project. I chose an easy idea for Jameson’s quilt, but it ended up taking hours and hours to simply stitch those rows together! So I knew William’s had to be simple AND quick!

    Posted by Danica | February 12, 2009, 1:33 pm
  3. I’m “back-reading” today. What a beautiful quilt! I see things like that and get inspired but, I am a novice at sewing. I attempted to sew a Christmas dress for Ava last year (with lots of help from a friend) and now, I think I forget how to even turn the machine on. :) Oh, and I love your handbags as well!

    Posted by Gina Murawski | March 6, 2009, 7:31 am