How To Make An American Quilt

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I have been quilting seriously since my early twenties.  I remember having a class in school the old traditional way, where you cut out paper piecing, wrapped your fabric around it and hand sewed all the pieces together Even though this was labor intensive I remember it being very soothing and I still like to hand sew the binding which is the final step of the quilt.

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Fast forward arriving in the States in 1994 to have the absolute glee at finding lots of quilt stores.  I discovered beautiful fabrics, still my weakness, if I see something gorgeous I will buy it even if I do not have a project in mind (yet!). Quilters are known for having a stash, this means a pile of fabrics by the yard …. just in case! These quilt stores also had lots and lots of lovely patterns but best of all they had classes.  At this stage, I still considered myself a rookie quilter but enrolling in classes taught me new skills and a whole new outlook on quilting.

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Then I discovered sewing machines.  I know this sounds a little crazy but before 1994 and the grand age of 28 I had never even considered owning a machine.  It opened my eyes to chain sewing and piecing without those labor intensive little pieces of paper.  Now I could (with classes and close supervision) make those wonderful quilts in days and weeks rather than in months.

This is my 3rd or 4th machine in 25 years because after miles and miles of sewing that sweet hard-working machine gives up the will to live and crosses the rainbow bridge to sewing machine heaven. Now you can buy sewing machines just for quilters, I love this one, lots of space to feed through large pieces of fabric, many many different stitch styles.

Here are the stages of a quilt that I am working on right now.


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You start off with fabric.  This is called a jelly roll (don’t ask me why!).  I love these because you get precut 2 ½ inch coordinated strips, because cutting and matching fabric can be the most fun but also the most challenging.


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Roll out your jelly roll and separate the darks from the light.

 

 

 


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Cut the strips into 2 ½ inch squares, organize a pattern and sew together.  I prefer to just go haphazard with no particular order, that way you get a really scrappy quilt which is kinda fun.


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Sew triangle on each corner then you can rotate the block into various ways to optimize the overall affect.


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Put on some borders and you are nearly done.


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Every part of the process is very soothing to me.  I usually have a person in mind when I start a quilt.  I think of them all the way through and stitch love hope and courage into the quilt or whatever they may need at that time in their life.

 


Here is one of my favorites, a throwback to where I came from!

 

 

 


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Here is one I just finished, I already have someone in mind for this one.

 

 

 


It’s about finding your joy in whatever way that may be.  For some, it's baking or reading or walking or climbing mountains or gardening. And for me, it’s all of these but nothing feeds my soul like making a quilt.

Be/Stay Happy!