It’s no secret that my favorite part of any hobby is thinking of all the pretty things I can buy. Pretty yarns, pretty thread, pretty fabric, etc. So when JoAnn’s fabric decided to leave their awful location at a super busy intersection and move in just down the street from us, it would have been wrong of me to not go in and check it out.
I’ve wanted to learn how to quilt for awhile now and this was actually the ultimate end goal of those sewing classes I took back in April. Turns out the principles are pretty simple, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start. So if you’re interested in learning how to quilt, I can now say that I have selflessly slogged through millions of YouTube videos to find you the best information. And after all that time, I am now an expert in exactly zero aspects of quilting. That being said, I have made a thing and it kind of resembles a blanket of some sort so you now have to take advice from me.
Lesson 1: Things that matter and things that don’t.
Things that matter:
- The accuracy of your cutting and measuring and sewing. (Ugh math…)
- The sharpness of your scissors
- Apparently also how much you spend on your scissors/their brand. Ever had scissors fall apart in your hand? It’s weird and discouraging.
- Having the right tools. This will include: a cutting mat, a rotary cutter, a clear ruler for using with the mat and rotary cutter, a walking foot, a free motion quilting foot, quality fabric, quality pins that don’t leave a mark, curved safety pins, and a relatively powerful sewing machine (aka not the one I own). Oh and fabric scissors (see above).
- Having a good iron with steam (aka not the one I own. again.)
- The direction in which you press/iron your seams.
- The size of your kitchen table.
Things that do not matter:
- The color of the fabric? I guess?
Lesson 2: Quilting is an expensive hobby but not for the reasons you think.
So based on the information above, it seems like quilting takes a good amount of investment up front in the proper tools. And I won’t lie to you because it definitely does, but all told, that part isn’t actually that outrageously expensive.
The MOST expensive part is that every time you run to JoAnn’s or your local fabric store for a spool of thread (or new scissors to replace the ones you just bought), you are forced to walk by rows and rows of beautiful fabric prints. Some of which are ALWAYS on sale. So you inevitably are obligated to treat yourself to a few fat quarters or maybe a couple bundles of fabric on clearance. You never know when you might need it!
Coupons are your greatest asset.
Lesson 3: Don’t be on a tight schedule
Every time I thought I was about to start powering through, something happened. First my machine was missing the right foot and I had to order it on amazon (even though I ended up not needing it. Thanks mom!). Then my machine started making this terrifying squeaky noise and I had to turn it offer for awhile. Then I ran out of the right color thread. Then I discovered I bought what I thought was binding, but wasn’t really. Then a cat knocked over a hot iron right onto the floor.
And finally my sewing machine broke. Like just quit out of protest. So now I’m waiting for a new one to ship from Amazon while I contemplate what to do with the suddenly useless piece of plastic on my desk. (And wondering how to explain to Adam why $150 is a totally reasonable amount of money to spend on a Wednesday night.)
Lesson 4: It’s really pretty easy to do.
Despite all this, I can’t believe how quick and easy quilting is. It took me 2-3 hours max to complete my quilt top (using the Jelly Roll Jam pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop) and the quilting part shouldn’t take too long either as long as you become completely submissive to the whims of your cranky and emotionally unstable machine. I also highly recommend the Missouri Start Quilt Company videos. Super informative and they have a video for literally every quilting and sewing question under the sun.
So despite the fact that I don’t have a finished project to show off yet, quilting is definitely a new hobby I’ll maintain for awhile. Plus now I get to go by all the fabrics. Literally all of them!