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How to make a winning quilt

Updated on March 25, 2012

My Lovers Knot

This is a Lovers Knot I made for my Aunt from fabrics she sent me.
This is a Lovers Knot I made for my Aunt from fabrics she sent me.
This is another lovers knot I made for my mom
This is another lovers knot I made for my mom
Here is a block from the eagle log cabin quilt I  made for my son as he is an eagle collector
Here is a block from the eagle log cabin quilt I made for my son as he is an eagle collector
This is a variation on the log cabin quilt and it is as limitless as your imagination
This is a variation on the log cabin quilt and it is as limitless as your imagination
This is called a large flower quilt and I made it for a friend of mine who was diagnosed with cancer.  She snuggled in it every day and even took it to her chemo treatments with her.
This is called a large flower quilt and I made it for a friend of mine who was diagnosed with cancer. She snuggled in it every day and even took it to her chemo treatments with her.
My grandaughter's sunbonnet sue butterfly quilt.  We made this one together when she was 10.  It was awesome!
My grandaughter's sunbonnet sue butterfly quilt. We made this one together when she was 10. It was awesome!

Basics of quilting: What you need to get started

The first thing you need is a basic sewing machine: This machine could be an old one a family member has tucked in a closet somewhere or you come across at a garage sale, second hand store or you can get a brand new one for around $79.00. There are machines out there that will make lace if you want to spend $5000.00 or more. You don't need that to make a quilt! You CAN even sew an entire quilt by hand, some purists do and they are very beautiful.

For measuring your cuts: Here you can get as elaborate as you want to. There are rulers, templates, hexagons, octagons, triangles, curves and circles in EVERY size. It can be a little daunting. All you need to get started is a 24" x 6" straight ruler and a square the size of your finished block. All rulers are clear and marked, very well, with every measurement you will need to make a quilt. These will be found in the quilting section of the store you go to or online.

You will need a self healing cutting mat: There are many out there on the market, they come in many sizes and colors. I prefer the green one because I find that I can see my cuts better and read the measurements on it better than any of the other colors. You will want a large size of at least 36" in length and 24" wide. This size will give you the room you need to lay your fabric out without having a lot of folds which cause uneven cuts.

Rotary cutters: A rotary cutter is a blessing to the quilter! You line your fabric up place your ruler where you want to cut and roll your cutter down the edge of your ruler and you have your strip. You can also mark your fabric and use a good sissor but I don't have the skill for that. I end up with uneven strips or squares and triangles that are not really square or triangular. Rotary cutters also come in many sizes from very small to quite large. I use the larger one for my main cutting and a smaller one when I'm working with small piecing. NEVER EVER never ever ever leave your rotary cutter next to your fabrics or quilt blocks! You could end up with a slice in your finished block or fabric pieces and have a loss of fabric or a block. This I learned from experience as I have noticed a lot of quilters have.

Scissors: A good scissor is a must! You will want a nice sharp pair, doesn't have to be large, that you use only for quilting and sewing not making paper dolls or wrapping presents. You will especially want a nice sharp sissor if you plan to cut your fabrics in this manner rather than the rotary cutter way.

Thread: Thread also comes in many colors and fabric blends and you could stand there all day trying to match thread to the colors of your fabrics and basically go blind. YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO THIS! Save yourself some grief, because one COLOR is not going to blend nicely with the many beautiful colors in your quilt. Sorry. This is one of the most wonderful magical things I learned about quilting. The ONLY thread you will need to put your quilt together is a nice 100 percent cotton in a very loving neutral shade. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? It doesn't show up, it hides in the colors of your fabrics like a nestled little chick. My neutral color that I love is a very light beige by guterman's. I am so excited about this because before I took a quilting class with Trinity at 2Sisters I was trying really hard to match my thread to my quilts.

Fabrics to use: Any 100 percent cotton fabric and there are millions of colors and patterns to choose from that will fit into your color scheme.

There you have it! The basic needs of the quilter.....well other than the main ingredient, the fabric and design of your quilt. There are so many quilt patterns out there for you to follow which come with fabric color choices already made for you. That's perfect if your color choices follow theirs if not then you will want to choose your own color schemes. Every quilt pattern gives you the measurement of fabric you will need for each of your colors. If you are choosing your own colors you will want to make a note of where in the quilt each color belongs so you don't get confused later and cut the wrong fabric in the wrong size. I have also learned that if I like a color much I will buy more for a later quilt because when you decide you can't live without it and come back a week later chances are it will be gone.(this is called stashing fabrics).

FABRIC STASH: In my opinion every girl needs one! My granddaughter, at eight, told me when I die she wants me to leave her my sewing machine and all my fabrics. I have since bought her her own sewing machine, a nice tough Janome, and given her leave to choose from my fabrics. Just in case she gets impatient!

Choosing a pattern: Like I said there are many many patterns out there. My suggestion to the beginner is to choose a pattern that uses the STRIP as a starting point. There are soooo many that you will be able to find one that suites your creative side. Some of them include the Log Cabin by Eleanore Burns, which she says a quilt in a day but I have never been able to accomplish that. This is a very nice pattern to use as it is so versatile that I have made several. I made one with eagles as the center square and then earthy tones on bottom and sky tones on top for my son and for my nephew tigers as the center. You could make a daisy chain, irish chain, oooh the sky's the limit on strip quilting. Just look online to discover how many. Some of my favorites are the Lovers Knot, the Winning Hand and the Color Wash Irish Chain.

You don't even have had to have sewn before in your life to make a quilt. You only have to be able to sew a straight line, a 1/4 inch seam straight down the strips. When you are finished with your quilt and you snuggle up under it at night it's a whole new feeling of comfort. Or when you tuck your child or grandchild under a quilt you have made for them its like wrapping them in your loving arms while they sleep. A lot of love, time and your choices, went into that quilt. You can make a bed size or a snuggle size it doesn't matter. You can make a table runner or a wall hanging or a tree skirt for Christmas. One year I made Christmas stockings for the children in my life and they ALL still have them and use them.

I hope that my writing this hub inspires at least one person out there to make a quilt. Its a dying art and I would like to see it revived in the younger generation. My granddaughter has already made two quilts and she is 13 years old. She had to have a lot of help from grandma and of course all her quilts have to be hand quilted, by me, because she wants something from her grandma that she can keep forever. Its a snuggle factor!


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    • profile image

      notmeanymore 5 years ago

      If you made these you are brilliant. These are amazing and if i may . . .Can i have one? Beautiful.

    • Silwen profile image

      Silwen 5 years ago from Europe

      Great hub. I have always wanted to try quilting, so I have read this hub with great interest. But I think I am not ready for such a project at the moment. By the way, the collection of quilts in the pictures is wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

      P.S. You shouldn't write titles uppercase, it is very hard to read them.

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 5 years ago

      I learned to quilt from my grandmother. I made quite a few while my kids were growing up. Eventually they each one learned to quilt along beside me.

    • tigerbaby777 profile image
      Author

      tigerbaby777 5 years ago from Nampa

      Thank you very much! Sorry they have all been given to friends and family! Next time I'mn going to make one for myself

    • tigerbaby777 profile image
      Author

      tigerbaby777 5 years ago from Nampa

      Thank you for your advice! I'm new at this so can use as much constructive criticism as people are willing to give.

    • tigerbaby777 profile image
      Author

      tigerbaby777 5 years ago from Nampa

      Thats pretty special isn't it?

    • Sadie14 profile image

      Brittany B 5 years ago from U.S.

      I love your quilts! You still need to make me one!

    • tigerbaby777 profile image
      Author

      tigerbaby777 5 years ago from Nampa

      Oh little Sadie14 I did better than make you one! I taught you how to make one! We will have to work on that in the near future.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      What a fabulous guide to getting started! Thanks for sharing these pointers. The quilts you've made are gorgeous!

    • tigerbaby777 profile image
      Author

      tigerbaby777 5 years ago from Nampa

      Thank you Simone!

    • mvillecat profile image

      Catherine Dean 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      Great guide for beginning quilters. I have been quilting for over a year now and I am addicted. I love fabric and the healing power of sewing. Thanks for you expert Hub.

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