All quilters know it’s true: it only takes a few threads to knock a quilt block off its game.
Muddled cutting and sewing can quickly have a domino effect. One block is too small, another is too large, and all of a sudden no block wants to play nice! But here’s the good news:
When you learn to cut and piece with precision, you’ll clear the way for a lifetime of quilting creativity—instead of frustration.
Bestselling author Donna Lynn Thomas has taught quiltmaking since 1981. She’s seen (and fixed) it all. Now she’s gathered her know-how into a must-have book: Quiltmaking Essentials 1. In it, you’ll discover time-tested techniques for rotary cutting, pressing, and machine piecing—the trio of techniques that lead to well-behaved quilt blocks!
If you want patchwork blocks that promise to play nice every time, it’s well worth the effort to learn (or re-learn) the essentials. Today we’re thrilled that Donna is here as a guest blogger to tell us more about her latest book. Welcome, Donna!
I’m SO excited about Quiltmaking Essentials 1 and hope you will be too. Bet you noticed that little old “1” sitting at the end of the title, eh? As an astute reader I bet you noticed that subtitle too. Well, volume 1 is all about cutting, piecing, pressing, and block construction. And Quiltmaking Essentials 2 is on its way. It’ll be in your hands in early 2015 and takes you to the last stitch on your bindings.
Yes, I admit—I’m all about precision! Precision is getting a bad rap these days, dismissed as an obsessive thing. To correct this undeserved image, I explain to my students that precision isn’t about pleasing the quilt police. It’s about developing good skills and habits to make the piecing process more enjoyable.
After all, Van Gogh first had to learn how to prepare his canvas, use and care for his brushes properly, mix paints, use the right paints for the desired effect, and much more in order to create his masterpieces. Once his essential skills were mastered and became second nature, he could focus completely on the creative process.
By the same token, a quilter will enjoy creating her own masterpieces if she isn’t frustrated by pieces and blocks that don’t fit together properly. Her skills should be second nature as well so she can enjoy hours of frustration-free and happy sewing. This is where Quiltmaking Essentials 1 comes in.
Loaded with tip boxes (see right), the book will travel with you as you learn and grow as a quilter, teaching the basics but also delving into essentials beyond the basics such as cutting and sewing diamonds, set-in seams (they are NOT as scary as people think they are), and much more. And lefties are not forgotten either.
From Quiltmaking Essentials I: illustrations for righties AND lefties!
But of all the things we need to master, there’s one skill that’s often neglected or underplayed: pressing.
Pressing you ask? What’s there to know about pressing? An iron, a surface, some electricity, and away you go, right? Well, there’s more to know about pressing than you might think! How wonderful is it when all the seams meeting at an intersection end up pressed in opposite directions? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if strip sets didn’t curve and those half-square-triangle units stayed square? Ever wonder if you should press seams open as opposed to one side?
In Quiltmaking Essentials 1, mysteries of the quilt-pressing universe are revealed! You’ll learn how to make a pressing plan for all your seams before setting out on that trip. You’ll learn things you didn’t know you needed to know.
Beyond pressing, you’ll find so much information on all aspects of piecing packed into this 48 page book—oops, that’s wrong—it increased to 64 pages to fit everything in! You’ll want to keep it handy every time you set out to make a new quilt and try new skills.
My hope is that your copy of Quiltmaking Essentials 1 will become so tattered and worn over the years that you’ll have to buy multiple copies, thus ensuring my ability to retire some day… Well actually, I truly do want you to enjoy many years of happy sewing!
Donna, thanks for getting us fired up about adding smart techniques to our quilting tool belt!
A pressing plan: always, sometimes…or never heard of it? Share your answer in the comments
and you could win a copy of the Quiltmaking Essentials 1 eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.
Comments are closed for this post.
Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Riley, who says:
“I love patterns which tell you how to press. If they don’t, I fumble around pressing and undressing. I would love to learn how to develop a pressing plan.”
Riley, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!