All About the Quilting: Quilting Your First Quilt

I am Annette, Katie’s mom.  When Katie came to visit me in August, she was pretty tricky.  She brought me some fabric and asked if I wanted to learn how to make a charity quilt.  I have sewn things in my past [this is Katie… by things she means prom dresses and shirts and shorts and all sorts of things I could never do!], but only one quilt top before.  I said sure, I would love to.

I made one of the quilt along quilts but cut my squares at 6.5 inches– Katie said that if I left off the outside borders, it would be smaller and easier to machine quilt for my first quilt.  She was right.  I stitched on the inside of each square.  In the sashings, I sewed rectangles.  It wasn’t as flat as I had hoped, but Katie built up my confidence and said it looks great. [It does. One of the best things about quilts is that when you wash them, it tends to hide mistakes. Using a walking foot also helps with this]

I had already sewn the outer squares together, so I turned that into another quilt top with 5 rows of 6 squares each.  I had quite a bit of material for the back, but I needed it larger so I sewed some block strips into the back from pieces I used for the front.  I had to add quite a few rows, and when my husband saw it laying out, he said, “You are making two more charity quilts?”  I said no, that’s the back.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized I should make those the fronts and buy cute material for the back.  I also put on my thinking cap, my friend is a professional long arm quilter.  I asked her if she would supply the batting and quilting, and I would do the rest.  She is very busy, but she said that she could squeeze in the two quilts.  I am grateful – I need a personal teacher for machine quilting.  Katie, when are you coming home again to teach me? :)  I am glad for this opportunity to help others.

It’s Kate again. Thanks, Mom, for making so many quilts and for sharing! When she told me her best beginning quilting tip was to get a friend to long arm 2 of the 3 quilts for you, I thought she was brilliant! It was fun watching her make the quilts via a flurry of pictures texted back and forth.  I think that quilting your first (or 15th) quilt can be intimidating, and hers look great! The best advice I can offer is this: if you make a mistake, improvise. Be flexible with your design, and do what works for you. And if your quilting isn’t as perfect as you wish, wash the quilt (I always put in a shout color catcher or two)…it helps disguise mistakes, and the child who receives it is going to love it, even if your stitches aren’t perfect.

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  1. Posted September 24, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Love Katie`s mom`s (Am.spelling just for you) quilt…and I must make one too as September will soon be over!

  2. Posted September 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Kate. What a warm and unintimidating (not a real word) lesson you have shared! I think the key thing to remember is, be flexible and learn to enjoy and utilize the happy “mistakes”.

  3. Posted September 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic job, Mom! They look terrific!

  4. miamihoney
    Posted September 24, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Good job Mom! I just made my first quilt too. I haven’t done any quilts for charity- only pillowcase dresses. I will have to step it up a bit so I can join in. Thanks for sharing.

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