[Please note this giveaway is closed. See bottom of post for winner's name.]
Yes, I’m talking to you.
I’ve seen your boards on Pinterest and the comments you leave on blogs and on Facebook. You say things like, “I don’t quilt, but if I did…” or, “someday I’ll learn ….” Or maybe you don’t even comment, but you lurk on Etsy or linger over the quilt magazine section of the newsstand, your head full of all the beautiful projects you’ll make when you finally learn how to quilt.
So what are you waiting for?
No, seriously — what are you waiting for?!
More time? Don’t worry, once you get hooked on quilting you’ll feel like you never have enough time anyway, so you might as well get used to that feeling sooner or later.
The right equipment? All you really need to get started is a needle, thread and scissors. It’s called hand piecing the old-fashioned way. To upgrade to more modern tools, you’ll need a rotary cutter, cutting mat, acrylic ruler and a basic sewing machine. And maybe some straight pins.
More money? Quilting doesn’t need to be expensive. Remember, quilting is associated with thrift and “making do” for a reason. You can start small. Check eBay, craigslist and maybe even Freecycle for sewing machines. Shop fabric sales and thrift stores. Yard sale season is gearing up — hit one or two first thing on a Friday morning. While it’s easy to drop a pretty penny on quilting supplies, it’s also very possible to quilt on a budget.
When I started quilting waaaay back in the mid-1990s, I did so before I got a sewing machine. I guess I wanted to make sure I really liked it before I invested in a large piece of equipment. Our family friend Kathy lent me her copy of Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes, and I slowly worked my way through it. The first block I ever made was one of the first blocks in the book, a fence rail. My seam allowances ended up being closer to 3/8″ and I think I was getting maybe four or five stitches per inch — I don’t recommend a strip-pieced pattern if you’re sewing by hand. But I kept at it until I had nine blocks, which I put into a sampler that I hand quilted and gave to my grandmother about two years after I’d started.
If the blocks look like they might not all be the same size, it’s because they’re not. I sashed each one individually to make them uniformly square (again, I don’t recommend that approach). And about the sashing — yeah, that was an interesting choice of fabric. What you can’t see is that because I thought quilts were supposed to be poofier than the cotton batting I bought, I used two layers. Hand quilting it was an experience to say the least.
I’d like to add that in the two years I worked on this quilt, I also read lots of quilt magazines. There weren’t as many different titles then as there are now, and the Internet was a brand-new thing to most of us, but quilting had resurged and was about to boom. Even though I was an absolute beginner, the one magazine I subscribed to was Quilters Newsletter. It’s no small thing to me that I work here now.
But anyway, I finished the quilt and gave it to my grandmother. And now I have proof that I’ve made a 54-40 or Fight block.
I share all this to say, your first quilt won’t be the quilt of your dreams. Don’t worry about it. Just start sewing.
If you’ve read this far, I think you deserve a reward.
That’s right, it’s free fabric giveaway time! We really, really want you newbies and novices to take the plunge and start quilting, so we’re giving away some lovely, springtime fabric to help you get going. Well, more than just some fabric: two bundles of eight fat quarters each from Maywood Studio; eight fat quarters and one panel from Mary Fisher’s Earth Dancing collection for Troy Riverwoods; and three 5″ charm square packs of Kona Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman Fabrics in bright, pastel and white. We’re also including copies of our 2010 Best Weekend Quilts and 2011 Best Fat Quarter Quilts special issues, as well as copies of the two most recent issues of Quilters Newsletter. With this prize package, you’ll have inspiration right at your fingertips.
For a chance to win this free giveaway, leave us a comment before 11:59 p.m. MDT on Sunday, April 15. We especially want to hear from those of you who are new — what have you been waiting for? Why do you want to quilt in the first place? What inspires you? Talk to us, and you may just win this great package. One comment per person, please. Those who’ve won something from Quilters Newsletter in the last 90 days are not eligible. And remember, the best way to learn about our fabulous giveaways is to Like us on Facebook.
UPDATE: We have a winner! The random number generator chose #103, Melanie S. Congrats, Melanie! Thanks to all who entered!