Tips for Novice Quilters
How to remain a novice quilter indefinitely
I wouldn’t call myself a quilter; I’ve made a few quilts. There’s a difference. At the moment the count is ten: six completed, four works in progress. I think that’s a fairly typical ratio. A Quilter would have been entering quilt shows, winning ribbons, writing magazine articles by the tenth quilt. But I’m not a Quilter. If you have ambitions to become a Quilter, then you and I are not on the same page. That requires a person of a certain . . . temperament. Obsessive-Compulsive comes to mind. “Hold on!” I hear you cry. “Quilters are wonderful, talented people!” Indeed they are. Not only are they talented, but they are dedicated, disciplined, and blessed with excellent manual dexterity. And, they can sew a quarter-inch seam. As I said, they are not on the same page with me.
Just because I’m not a Quilter doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy making quilts. In fact, I love quilting. That’s why I thought it would be good to share a bit of my experience with those of you who are contemplating taking The Plunge — starting your first quilt. You, too, can enjoy the fun and excitement of making your own quilt, even if you don’t have what it takes to become a Quilter. But before you begin, here are a few things to consider:
- If you are clutter-averse, don’t even think about it.
- If you are a perfectionist, you are destined to become a Quilter; find another blog.
- Quilting is really all about The Stash; the quilts are incidental.
- Building your Fabric Stash requires two things: lots and lots of spare shelf space, and a real enthusiasm for shopping. Oh, and a third thing: money.
- A word about the shopping: it really is the easiest part. You don’t have to traipse from store to store; all you need is one good fabric shop — preferably dedicated to quilting.
- You’ll need a place to work — this is crucial. A dis-used ballroom would be perfect, but not so many homes have those these days. Likewise, a clean, vacant airplane hangar would work a treat, but they aren’t available all that often either. So the next best thing would be a pool room, as long as the family is happy to sacrifice the pool table, which, incidently, is a great place to cut out your fabric.
- Or, you can do what I’ve done: take over a spare bedroom. It’s a bit squeezy, and I do spill over into the dining room, the TV room, and any other available room at times, but I manage.
Now I suppose you’re wondering about the pattern — what sort of quilt to make, and how do you start. This is a personal choice. There are squillions of books and magazines out there containing all sorts of patterns and instructions. I’ve never used one. I’m not the sort of person who does well with instructions. I prefer to make up my own. That said, I should point out that the patterns and instructions can be of enormous help to anyone who follows them. They even tell you how much fabric you’ll need. Mind you, your Stash will grow much faster if you just guess how much you’ll need of each fabric and add an extra yard.
That’s enough for now. I hope I’ve given you some things to think about, and a bit of an idea of what quilting is all about for those of us who know we’ll never be featured in Patchwork and Quilting. MM