Quilting as relaxation: Relax, have fun. When I goof up on a measurement or accidently cut something I didn’t mean to, I’ve added a patch or just added an extra length of fabric to make a border, etc., come out right. When I realized that quilting was not about perfection, I was able to enjoy it more. (Avis, right, with Joined at the Hip partner Tammy Johnson)
Quilting without fear: We love all kinds of piecing, whether is an extremely precise kaleidoscope piecing technique or loose improvisational piecing. We’re not afraid of any techniques. We’re only afraid of running out of time.
Quilting without fear: I am afraid of any technique that claims to be the right, best or only way to do something. And that paper-bag method for really random scrap quilts—I will NOT do that! Beyond that, I’ll try any technique that doesn’t involve toxic fumes or rotary cutting while wearing a blindfold.
Tip for choosing fabrics: When choosing fabrics for a quilt, I usually start with the design. If it is more formal, then I want crisp contrast. If it is meant to be a cuddle-up quilt, then I want the fabrics to have less contrast and be more cozy. I almost always add brown to my quilts to warm them up.
Tip for beginners: I think everyone should sew on the best machine they can afford. There is nothing more frustrating than a machine that doesn’t work properly. If you buy a new machine, take advantage of any classes that come with it.
Foundation-piecing tip: I use a pin to mark my sewing lines when paper piecing. On the right side of my paper piecing pattern, I put a straight pin along the line I am going to sew, then when I flip the pattern over to sew on my fabric—I can use it as 1/4" guide. It cuts out the guesswork, especially when sewing angled pieces and wastes less of the fabric. (Cori, left, with Blue Meadow Designs partner Myra Harder)
Favorite part of quilting: The whole creative process! I love working with color and I love textiles. I love how they smell, how they feel. I love getting a seed of an idea and seeing it grow and blossom into a wonderful idea and a beautiful quilt. Many times my designs end up exactly as I envisioned them and other times they take on a life of their own and I end up with something totally unexpected but wonderful. That’s really exciting for me!
Pressing tip: Press LESS. Too often quilters press themselves into a corner. Only press the individual units, and NEVER press a block during block construction (until it is finished!) so you maintain your "ooch and scooch" factor!
Crazy-piecing tip: We sew with a lot of prints, stripes, and plaids, and many of these fabrics are homespun wovens. When using our "crazy" method of piecing, make sure you have a flat cotton fabric (not a homespun) on top of the stack of fabrics. (Try their crazy method of piecing on the Crazy Star quilt.) Once you iron the freezer-paper pattern to the top fabric in the stack, it's much easier to remove from the flat cotton than it is from a homespun. (Janet, left, and Pam, right)
Tip for beginners: A beginning quilter should take a class to cover the basics to learn about grain lines when cutting, accurate piecing, and accurate cutting. I guess it all boils down to being accurate so it is a pleasure. Do your best work.
Quilting without rules: To learn to take a compliment without making up excuses. We as women are so unused to taking compliments about our work graciously. We always feel the need to point out a hundred different ways why it’s not really that good. It IS that good, and you ARE creative! Try calling yourself an artist and see how it feels!
Favorite tools: The knee lift on my sewing machine is invaluable because it frees up both of my hands to hold the fabric. I also like using an item called the Purple Thang. It helps to guide the fabric underneath the presser foot with more precision.
Favorite part of quilting: Designing a quilt. Having my family use their quilts, love them, and ask for more. I like to share my love of quilting with others. There is nothing better than seeing a grandchild wrapped up in a quilt whether they are sleeping, reading, watching TV, or just because they want to.
Why I love quilting: I wonder what story I will do next and what will my quilts look like in five years. I never tire of the infinite possibilities and the joy quilting brings me. You will never make friends as dear and wonderful as quilting friends.
Quilting as relaxation: Never sew when you are too tired. When you are a little drowsy, or in a great hurry, you make mistakes, and those mistakes can cost you a lot of time and money. So get your beauty sleep—the quilt will still be there in the morning. (Myra, right, with Blue Meadow Designs partner Cori Derksen)
Piecing tip: Cut those leftover bits of binding into 1" lengths and keep them in a basket by your machine. Use these little thread savers to begin and end all your seams, especially when sewing small pieces together and for chain piecing.
Quilting without rules: I feel a beginner should watch out for being told too many rules. Rules KILL your creativity. They cause people new to a craft to develop habits or techniques that may not suit them because someone told them it was the ‘rule’ and the ‘one and only way’ to do it. I am against rules. But guidelines, like using a 1/4" seam for piecing, are great. Most things won’t work if you don’t have that (but remember that some things DO work without a 1/4" seam!).
Hand-appliqué tip: When tracing around templates to prepare pieces for needle-turn appliqué, I use an extra-fine-point permanent marker. Be sure to check the marker on scrap fabric to make sure it doesn’t bleed; as some pens age, their ink separates and tends to bleed.
Fusible-appliqué tip: I like Wonder-Under fusible web. It is lightweight and barely noticeable in fusible appliqué. Some products make the appliqués too stiff. I also like to use it with wool appliqué. I use it for both machine and hand appliqué when using wool. It stabilizes the wool shapes, holds them in place, and is easy to stitch though when doing a blanket stitch by hand. I like having wool projects to take with in the car and having the pieces fused in place makes the project road-trip friendly. (Tammy, left, with Joined at the Hip partner Avis Shirer)
Machine-quilting tip: When you are machine quilting, use quilting or gardening gloves to help you grip the quilt. They make life so much easier because they will help you move the quilt around and you won’t get so tense.