Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Week One, Introduction

So much to take in on our first lesson!

It's important that we understand the language of patchwork and quilting and so we introduce the Anatomy of a Quilt. We talk about blocks, sashing, corner stones, binding and all the other elements that make up a quilt.
We also discuss colour and value and their important role in quilt design. Keeping your colour choices to the colours found in your preferred print fabric is an easy way for beginning quilters to select their palette. Have a good variety of fabrics, one or two stars and a supporting cast!

Different fabrics have different strengths within a patchwork design: plain fabrics, large and small scale prints, scattered patterns, stripes and florals. By moving around our cutting templates we can create a different effect within a quilt block, this is called "fussy cutting". Remember to cut fabrics "on the grain" as much as possible, place straight edges of any square shapes along the length of fabric threads. Diagonal edges should be cut on the bias. Following this simple rule allows your blocks to lie flat and ultimately your quilt also be straight.

A quick introduction to the common tools that quilter's use: needles, fine glass head pins, 100% cotton fabrics and cotton thread. Cutting patchwork pieces with scissors is very time consuming, a rotary cutting system can really speed things up. You will need a rotary cutter, a self healing cutting mat and a thick acrylic ruler. Be careful with the rotary cutter, keep it out of reach of children and always engage the safety latch.

Finally, we get to cut and stitch together our first block. We are working on 12" blocks for this sampler quilt. The larger size allows us to complete enough blocks in 8 weeks to make a small quilt. Individual blocks can also be used to make cushions, mug rugs, pot holders and little wall hangings. When stitching together our blocks we use a scant 1/4" seam. All pattern pieces are cut with the seam allowance included.

This week we focus on "nine patch" construction, a simple 3 x 3 grid. Chose from a simple Nine Patch, or the more complex Shoo Fly, Card Trick and Ohio Star. The last three incorporate triangles.

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