Thursday, June 24, 2010

7 Rules for Quilting Success!

Liz and I are self-taught quilters. But over the years we have learned some simple rules for quilting success. Quilting has been an evolving art form, which has surpassed its critics expectations. For the past several decades quilters have developed the art into a science of success. There are seven golden rules of quilting that guide you to quilting nirvana. Some quilters can have a keen ability to learn from others, while some are like me, learning the hard way through experience. Liz and I hope that you can learn from our experiences, but if not please share your triumphs with us!

1) Sticking to the Numbers! Traditional patchwork relies on empiricism. If you stick to the numbers you will always find satisfaction. If you are making a 12" block you must make sure that your blocks are meeting your expectations. If your 12" block measures 11 3/4" your blocks will not add up to success.

2) Test Preparation! When following directions for a pattern you should test a block first to confirm that the pattern is accurate. When your test block confirms that the measurements are correct you are guaranteed success. Typically every quilt pattern is tested and the numbers are good, but every once in a while human errors are made and it can lead to frustration and despair.

3) Measure Twice, Cut Once! Some rotary rulers are hard to read and it it important to note which ruler you are using. Every once in a while I borrow Liz's ruler, which adds a 1/2" seam automatically and I cut my material too large. This is not so bad, until I go back to my ruler which doesn't and I cut my fabric too short. Now I always look twice to avoid frustration.

4) Slow Motion For Me! Have you ever rushed through a project and mixed up the placement of the fabric patches or block rotation? I have spent several hours seam ripping because I was hasty. Over the years I have befriended patience and recognized its virtue.

5 Got to Stack it Up! When foundation piecing I always stack my fabric pieces in the order they will be pieced. After every piece I am guaranteed to keep my patches in order and I can stitch along a little faster.

6) Stick to the Plan! When you start a new project it is helpful to make a plan and stick to it so make steady progress and achieve your goals. Proactive quilters are better producers and gain experience faster. Learning how to capitalize on your limited quilting time allows you to be the successful quilter you want to be.

7) Quality, Not Quantity! You can be an expert quilter, but the materials you choose will determine your true success. If you use lower quality materials for an heirloom quilt it should be no surprise if it doesn't last the test of time. Some quilters are impressed by the volume of progress and fail to see how quality quilts have more value and longevity.

Quilting is an art of love! We invest into the future with our masterpieces. Over time our quilts become cherished in ways that we never anticipated and we rejoice in the pleasure which grows from our seeds. Quilting success is ultimately determined by time, but we can take some small steps to ensure our immortality.

Share your ideas!

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