February 27, 2013

Learning To Quilt

I've been teaching a couple of friends to sew / quilt and that's been loads of fun for all of us. They're so excited to learn how to sew, and I love that moment when the light bulb goes off and they get it. Plus it's kind of self-serving... I'm basically creating more quilting buddies! Heehee!

They picked a braided table runner for their first project, and I've been using Bari J's pattern to teach them. Everything from cutting, to pinning, to actually sewing a 1/4" seam. And on our last lesson, I taught them how to do HSTs the traditional way where you draw the lines etc. I figured they should learn that before I introduce them to Thangles just so they have the basics. I could see their brains getting scrambled, trying to figure out how the hell they were going to make an entire quilt out of HSTs because trimming one was giving them grief already haha! Oh if they only knew...

And then a question popped in my head... how the hell did I teach myself to do all this?! I think most quilters are self-taught but have taken classes here and there. I've never taken a class (well, aside from Denyse's improv patchwork workshop) but I have taught classes. There's something peculiar about that, no? Hehe! I looked back on the list of quilts I've made, and to see the progression is quite satisfying.

I learn from watching and doing. I always have. Maybe I just don't take direction well? Hahaha! (Mum, you can stop nodding!!) I make mistakes and learn from them... I find that the mistakes really stick in my mind because I refuse to make them again. Working at my LQS has also helped sooooo much. Being around all that quilting experience of my bosses and co-workers, plus having to figure things out for customers has been the best thing. I'm most definitely not a prolific quilter, my points don't always meet, and there's plenty I still don't know, but I'm quite proud of how far I've come. It still shocks me sometimes when I look at a quilt and think, "I made that?".

How did you start quilting?


Oh, and the picture above has nothing to do with anything. It's of a pile of 120 HSTs I just finished making for a project I'm working on for a friend. I love those colours so I thought I'd pop a pretty picture on here while I blather on about stuff :)

12 comments:

LC said...

Completely out of the blue one day, I decided I'd make a quilt. I'd never sewn a stitch in my life before that. 3 months later, I had a quilt. I've never taken a class either. You can teach yourself to do pretty much anything with the proper googling skills ;) Quilt bloggers are who taught me to quilt. I also do the same thing about being in disbelief that you actually made the damn thing. My husband is also constantly shocked. Every time I finish a quilt, he's just in awe...which is nice :)

Molly said...

Oh what a pretty pile of HSTs! I learned the same way .... self taught by trial and error. Every mistake is a learning experience and I've sure made a lot of them. I love to teach my friends to quilt now and give them the benefit of my experiences. That said ... I still sew everything together backwards at least once a project.

Stasa Lynn said...

I must admit that I have been taking classes from my favorite quilt shop and love them.

I too have that same gasp when I finish a top and wonder how I did it. The last one I finished I actually shed a tear... yep - a tear.

But I have also learned A LOT from quilter bloggers and youtube video bloggers!

So I will thank you now!

Adrienne said...

I am teaching a friend to quilt right now too! She is so keen, and I am SO HAPPY to have a new quilting buddy. Everybody wins :)

I watched my mother sew growing up (clothes, not quilts), but a quilt class when I was 20 and that was it. Once I knew how to read a quilt pattern, the resat was trial and error, reading lots of books and magazines, and accepting everything not being perfect. Can you believe in that first quilt class that the teacher taught us to rip fabric instead of cutting it for the the pieces??! When I saw a rotary cutter and a mat in a magazine a little while later I was awestruck!

Jeanette said...

When I was 23 I took a class at a LQS in Lethbridge, Alberta. It was a small table runner. The class was only $20, but I probably spent at least $400 just to set up. I had nothing, no sewing machine, ruler, mat, rotary cutter, fabric etc. but the store and its staff were awesome, and I was hooked! That was way before all the information on the Internet so just learned from patterns and the amazing staff at thistledown quilts. 14 years later and I'm still addicted!

Minty said...

Those thangles are so interesting! What a simple idea.

I definitely learned everything I know about quilting from the internet! Blogs, flickr, and advice from online friends have served me very well. Perfectionist tendencies help, too!

mascanlon said...

My Mom taught me to sew as a girl but the quilting was in the begin totally self taught. iIwanted to make a baby quilt. So I bought a book, fabric and went for it. Haven't looked back much. After my first 3 quilts I took a basic class at my lqs and within a year was teaching there. I love all the resources we have now, online classes, tutorials online, chat rooms and very open and generous bloggers like yourself who share their quilts and processes.

The Calico Cat said...

I learned from the older generation in my family.

I never realized that the draw a line method for HST's was "traditional."

I thought the traditional was was when you cut individual triangles - making sure the strait of grain was on the 2 short sides so that the bias was on the hypotenuse. & then you sewed the 2 hypotenuse sides together.

Quarter Square Triangles in comparison have the straight of grain on the hypotenuse.

Elsa said...

Love the colors of you HST's and how fun to have more quilting friends!
I went to stay with my Dad after my Mom died and needed something to do. Went to the local quilt shop, bought some fabric and, with a book, made my first log cabin quilt, twin bed size, I even quilted it by hand. It turned out really nice.

Carrie said...

My mother-in-law taught me, and her mother taught her. I had taken sewing lessons at 10 years old, but no sewn much since. She made me learn the basics - cutting out each individual block for a nine-patch, hand-quilting, etc. As I progressed past her experience, I learned from blogs and video tutorials. I, as well, have never taken a class in my 3 years of quilting!

Bennett and Graves said...

I thought I knew a little about quilting so I signed up for a 'beginners' class at a LQS. I was so far down the learning curve that I knew that day I would never learn. But I ran into one of my customers from my job at the shop and soon afterwards she started teaching me. After I got the basics I've just tried new things and thanks to bloggers (thank you thank you!) continue to try new skills. Pieced backs! I am all about Pieced backs now.

CitricSugar said...

I learned from a patchwork magazine from the late sixties/early seventies that was on a shelf in our basement when I was about ten. It was terrible but my grandma loved it. Then I got a quilting book at the fabric shop almost ten years later and learned rotary cutting, so I'm almost self-taught… I didn't really become a quilter until a little later.

And as a teacher, I LIVE for the light-bulb moment. It's addictive. I had three days of subbing this week and saw it a couple of times… it was awesome.

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