Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Beginning Quilting

These are some of the things I learned at my first quilting class:

- Don't iron your fabric in a back and forth motion. Instead, press your fabric in an up and down motion because this means you won't make the fabric fibers move around in funny ways.

- Don't reverse stitch your seams, because in quilts it doesn't matter anyway.

- It's Ok to start with the needle of your sewing machine in the 'down' position without it being in the fabric, but have your fabric right up against your needle.

- Press your stitching before pressing your seam open because it helps 'set' your stitches.

- Apparently it's not always necessary to wash your fabrics before cutting. This seems a little gross to me, though, so I'll just keep washing my fabrics first. It makes for more intense pressing with the iron.

- When using a rotary cutter make sure the blade is sharp (I didn't know they were easily replaced, but it makes sense) and make sure to cut slowly and "inch" the hand holding the ruler/straightedge as you cut. Watch your fingers, 'cause blood on your fabrics REALLY means you gotta wash 'em first!!

- People have amazingly different taste in fabric colors, patterns, etc. It's probably the most amusing part of my class so far.

- Fabric guilt: gotta learn to fight it when it's too late to change your choices (but there's SO MUCH to pick from!!).

- Fabrics when they're cut down to size for the blocks sure do look different together than when they're by themselves on the big bolts.

Obviously, this might seem like a bunch of randomness. As one of my classmates asked, "So what do you do?" "Oh, I'm in grad school." "What are you doing taking a quilting class?!" Honestly, it might not be the most effective use of my time, but as a grad student I struggle with abstract learning goals and hazy benchmarks of understanding so it's nice to come away from three hours of a class where I have used my brain and my hands and I can say, "Today I learned how to properly use a rotary cutter and sew a seam." That, my friends, is progress I can set my watch to. I've got five more weeks and a sample quilt on the way!!

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