I wish I could tell you that I had this post in mind when I first started quilting the puzzle quilt I'm making for Autumn. If only I had decided to completely mess up a quilt so that I could learn what NOT to do and tell you all about it. Unfortunately this post didn't come to mind until today when I realized I had to hack off about 1/4 of my quilt to make it (kind of) work.
As I finished the "quilting" process and looked at what a mess I'd made, I came to a lot of conclusions about how poorly I went about this entire process. SO! If you're a first time quilter (like I was) and are wondering exactly what you're NOT supposed to do, keep on a readin'. :) And if you're an experienced quilter, feel free to laugh at all the ridiculous "newbie" mistakes I've made... (can you tell I've been watching Scrubs re-runs for the past 3 weeks?!)
The "HOW TO FAIL AT QUILTING" Tutorial
1. Don't read any tutorials on how to quilt. If you know how to thread your sewing machine, you know how to quilt. Fact.
2. Pick a large quilt size. That's right, if you want to fail at your first quilt, jump into a project that's clearly too advanced. Nothing's easier than maneuvering 5-10 pounds of material and batting around and through your tiny little sewing machine.
3. Don't read all of the instructions before you start cutting. Yep, just start hacking at your expensive materials and assume everything will come out okay. Oh, and, don't bother counting how many of each piece you need or how many you have, it'll all work out in the end.
4. Assume your pressure foot measures a perfect 1/4 inch seam. Your sewing machine's manual is clearly written in blood and is obviously the ABSOLUTE truth. So, don't worry about measuring out your seams a couple of times to make sure they're accurate. They will be.
5. Don't start over. When you get through the first 4 blocks and realize you're at least 1 inch off on all of them, don't you dare take out that seam ripper. You just keep on keepin' on, even if every block is a different size.
6. Iron your fabric. Don't press them! Ironing causes your fabrics to distort. Pressing keeps them crisp and even. Clearly you want to iron them.
7. Don't worry if your quilt top's seams aren't at all lined up. The quilting process with fix that.
8. Don't use too many basting pins. You only need one for every row or so. That should totally hold 50 inches of material in place.
9. Listen to the random lady in the craft store on how to quilt. Little old lady: "Quilting is so much fun. All you have to do is make squiggly lines all over your quilt so that no one can see how badly you messed up." Me: "Oh, really? And I can use my walking foot for that?" Little old lady: "Mhmmmmm." Yes, those awesome squigglies that you see on those beautiful quilts are totally done with a walking foot... NOT a darning foot. Please don't get confused.
10. Make sure your quilt top, the batting, and the backing are all the same size before you start quilting. Doing this ensures that you will probably need to hack off at least a row or your quilt. I always love wasting things that I've spent a TON of time on.
11. Don't start quilting in the middle of the quilt. You should start on one end and finish on the other. Especially if you've made your top, batting, and backing all the same size. If you do this, not only will you need to hack off a row, but also a column. What fun!
Don't laugh. Okay, you can laugh. YES I ACTUALLY DID MAKE ALL OF THOSE MISTAKES! But I have an excuse...
I just had a baby and I have a serious case of the mom brains! Can you blame me? Not to mention, who has time to pay really close attention to quilting details when you've got this awesome face to look at!?!
All kidding aside, though, there are a lot of great quilting resources out there for free. I would really suggest reading them every step of the way when learning to quilt. And, even though I've royally failed at making this first quilt, I am definitely in the mood to persevere.... with a much smaller project. And then of course, I'll be attempting to make twin sized quilts for my nieces for Christmas. Yep...
Until next time,