Saturday, 8 May 2010

Quilting Bee - Preparing your Bits and Bobs


I got a bit waylaid by a tele marathon yesterday as our election results played out so - a day late - here is Installment One of our MakeClub Quilting Bee.

Now first things first, you need to go and get a cup of tea and a slice of cake, or at least a choccie biscuit or somesuch as MakeClub is very fond of getting the background conditions right before strenuous crafting begins!

This Bee is a little program I am putting together for my Club, but as I know many of my readers are new or almost quilters, I thought I'd share my instructions here too if you would like to join us too?

The most important thing that I wanted to show my MakeClub Bee-ers is that quilting need not be complicated, or fiddly, or any kind of stress. It can be done with the bare minimum of equipment ( needle, cotton, scraps) and with basic skills (sew in a straightish line? you're in!)., you don't need lots of space or lots of time. This is a craft that has its roots in poverty and hardship, done by women in the cracks of time and space in their lives, built around cramped living conditions and labour intensive lives. If women could make beautiful quilts in wagons on the American prairie, or in squalid dark miners cottages in County Durham or Wales, then I'm pretty sure we'll all manage! In a very busy and complicated age, quilting offers a simple pleasure.

Now having said that I am now going to write a bossy list!

We will make 9 blocks (12" x 12") over 5 or so months which can be made up into a quilt approx 1m20cm x 1m20cm (47" x 47").

Each month the block that we make will introduce a new skill so that by the end of the 5 months although you will have made 9 blocks, you could confidently make hundreds of others , the principles are transferable.

This quilt can be made completely by hand, and you don't need lots of whizzy equipment.

To participate you need 8 - 14 different, but co-ordinating cotton fabrics to make approx 2.5m in total and approx 1m of a neutral background fabric that works with all of your choices. This may or may not be a plain solid colour, but should definitely work as a background for your other colour choices. These amounts are approximate, you will cut your cloth to suit your means as you go along, but you should have more than enough with these amounts.

You will also need a neutral cotton thread to match your colour choices, sewing needles (longer and thinner is better but just make do with whatever you have to hand, its not at all critical).
If you have a rotary cutter and mat it will make things quicker, but it's not critical, a little pair of sharp scissors will do just as well.
Next week I will talk about fabric choices. It's one the most scary bits of making a quilt when you start out, I know that the fear of making a 'wrong' decision was enough to stop me making my first quilt for months! I promise my Painting By Numbers approach will take the fear away!


  1. I'm glad you're doing fabric choice next week as it really is this bit that stumps me! I'm thinking modern with browns, reds & pinks for my living room! Justine xxx

  2. Sounds lovely! In fact, sounds like a quilt in my living room!