Learning to Quilt
I’ll admit it. I was a little intimidated, thinking that I was probably going to be the youngest and only inexperienced member of the beginning quilting class. What would the other ladies think? Did I even have a chance at keeping up? And was the instructor going to be patient enough for a true beginner? Let’s just say I was nervous walking into Kaleidoscope Quilting and Home Decor for my first Learning to Quilt class.
As it turns out, I had no reason to worry. The experience was wonderful, and so were my classmates.
Our instructor was Shelly Corder, a very personable woman who obviously loves to quilt. Shelly began the five-session course by confronting our fears. She wanted to know what aspect of quilting worried us the most. Our class decided unanimously that it was the necessary precision. The evening class had been more concerned with how to choose complimentary fabrics for their projects. Armed with this information, Shelly gave us solid information on how to overcome both of these obstacles.
Other practical information offered in the course included using the rotary cutter and mat, measuring the fabric (measure twice, cut once) and even the best type of thread to use. As we occasionally botched a seam or (in my case) scorched our fabric, the class members became very supportive of one another. Often everyone would gather around to see a classmate’s newest block and to remark on the great color choices or the lovely, straight seams.
Another great aspect of the course was the venue. By attending class right in the store, we had access to any tools we might have overlooked needing, as well as staff members occasionally interjecting really useful bits of advice. I found it encouraging to have shop customers occasionally wander through the classroom to view quilts displayed on the walls. Something about all of those people enjoying the craft would renew my energy.
Aside from my personal distaste for being awake before 11 a.m., the only real complaint I had with the class was that I thought it probably should have been a week longer. Unfortunately, the final class was only an overview of finishing your quilt top, and I would like to have had a little more time with Shelly for those steps. So, since the only problem I found with the class is that it ended, I feel confident in urging others to consider signing up.
I really recommend this class for anyone who wants to learn to quilt but just hasn’t had the chance or has been scared to take the first step. The teacher is patient but knowledgeable, and the shop’s staff is cheerful and supportive. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I have already signed up for this month’s Triple Irish Chain class and have a couple of others in mind. Not bad for someone who was clueless about quilting a month ago, wouldn’t you say?
How to prepare your quilt top for quilting.
The time spent preparing your quilt top is well worth it to achieve the best result.
Wavy borders and uneven edges will not magically quilt out and I could be forced to pleat the edges+/- you may end up with puckers.
Prepare your Quilt Top
• Press all of the seams well during the piecing process, ensuring that they lay flat to one side.
• Trim all loose threads from the top as they can get caught in the machine foot and tear the quilt.
• Clip all loose threads from the back, dark threads on light fabrics will be seen through the quilt.
• Remove any added accessories, such as buttons or trinkets as these will catch in the machine foot
• Ensure your borders lay flat. See my article on attaching borders.
• Fullness that is pieced into the quilt may not necessarily be quilted out.
• Stay stitch 1/4 ” from the edge of the quilt if the outer edges are on the bias or have lots of seams in them Your Backing
• Your choice of backing is very important to the finished look of the quilt and should not be an after thought.
• Please use a weight similar to the top and 100% cotton where possible.
• If you have washed the fabric for the top then also wash the backing to allow for equal shrinkage.
• Size – The backing should be at least 6 inches wider and 6 inches longer than the quilt top. This is to allow for the backing to be attached to the rollers, to allow for take up of the fabric and to give some space to support the fabric at the sides during quilting.
• Colour – Keep in mind the thread colour for the top will be the same for the back.
• Pattern – small busy prints will `hide’ the quilting on the back of the quilt. All over patterns can look great on a plainer fabric making a reversible’ effect on the quilt.
• Joins please remove selvedge from the seams and sew a seam at least 5/8” wide. If at all possible have the seam running across the quilt as opposed to down the centre. Please note that pieced backs cannot be centred.
• Square – the backing piece needs to be square or it will not attach correctly to the rollers and it will not run squarely during quilting. Please see article on how to square a quilt.
• If you supply your own wadding/batting it should be a minimum of 6 inches wider and longer than your quilt top.
Please do not attach the batting to the quilt.