Savvy Tips and tricks learned along the way...
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Quilt Kits make beginning quilting easy
Last summer I got into quilting but started out with baby quilts. And actually, I haven't quite graduated from baby sized quilts, but I have advanced to fancier techniques. I found that an easy way to get into quilting is to buy baby quilt kits, which I got from Joann's Fabric and Crafts. The retail price of the kit was $35, but I used a Joann's 50% off coupon. The kit came with everything I needed except the batting, thread, and of course the sewing machine, needle, and safety pins. But that way I didn't have to hunt around the store for coordinating fabric or fat quarters to put the quilt together.
The inspiration was that one of my college friends was having a baby and I wanted to take that opportunity to learn something new and make something special for her baby. When I finished that first quilt, it really spurred my confidence in quilting. I made it in about 3 days, and it was beautiful. My husband and I also embroidered the baby's name on the quilt. My friend loved it, and from then on, I've been making baby quilts for every friend or relative that got pregnant.
Here is a web site I found that sells cute quilt kits: http://www.weekendkits.com/quilt-kits.html
Picking out your own fabric can be fun and creative
After you make your first quilt from a kit, you can use the same pattern for future quilts. You can then go and browse through the vast variety of quilting fabrics and fat quarters. Now that you have the measurements you need for each fabric, just go out and buy each of them separately, using your own color coordinating creativity. I continued to buy baby quilt kits whenever they were on sale or if I had a coupon because they each had a different pattern and seemed to have such cute mixes of fabric. But I began to switch out some of the fabric quarters that came in the kits. I would choose a different color or a fabric with a more plush texture.
Appliques adds interest and texture
I started choosing quilt kits with patterns that looked a little more advanced and had features like circle appliques. I also bought some cute, fuzzy Fabliqués that I sewed on to the quilts. I'm now going to start making my own appliques using some designs we got from Embroidery Library.
Ruffled binding makes the quilt look soft and pretty
I went baby gear shopping with my friend, and she took me to a posh store that had gorgeous, and very expensive, baby cribs, beddings, moses baskets, and such. I noticed that many of the baby comforters and quilts had ruffles around the edges. It gave them a very soft and delicate look. Neither me nor my friend were going to pay those prices for those items. But I saw one that she loved and decided to make her a quilt with a similar look. Back at Joann's, they had a nice selection of ruffles, including ruffled quilt binding. So I got some of that to make a lovely posh quilt for my friend's baby.
Stipple patterns give the quilt character
I got bored of quilting diagonal lines across my squares, and my wavy patterns never came out so nice. My husband took me to a quilting show, and I saw all kinds of cute stipple designs. My favorites were the butterfly and dragonfly designs. I found a cute dog stipple design at Embroidery Library. And I'm going to use this on a puppy quilt that I am making instead of doing the run of the mill straight line quilting patterns. I'm also adding a puppy Fablique on this quilt :-)
Quilts I have made
Peek-a-boo Puppy Patches Quilt
I still can't believe I was able to make this quilt for our son shortly after he was born. I still haven't made our daughter's quilt, and she's almost 3! But I had a purpose. I needed a quilt for the baby class I was going to take him to so that he could lie down on it. So with a little bit of help from hubby, as usual, I was able to finish this quilt in two or three days.
I cheated again and used a prefabricated quilt panel. It's the only way I can get anything done these days. I used the Peek-a-boo Puppy Patches Quilt Panel. It was a beautiful pre-quilted panel with cute flannel fabrics patched together, a plush border, and fuzzy puppy appliques. There are also a few other coordinating fabrics available if you want to do a nursery in a whole theme.
My husband embroidered the name and birthdate on the quilt panel. I bought the Peek A Boo Puppy Flannel Bones & Puppies Sky Blue Fabric to use for the back of the quilt. I sandwiched some batting in between, stitched in the ditch around the squares and borders. And put some baby blue satin blanket binding around the quilt to seal it all in.
It looks great and works great as a nice little quilt for him to lie down on at class. I've gotten a lot of compliments on it. I washed it several times, and it holds up well!
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