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Thread: beginner's quilting class

  1. #1
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    There was a long discussion recently about what an instructor should (and should not) do when teaching a class.

    Looking back, what were the most useful things you learned when you took your first hand-piecing class?

    Or, what do you wish you would have known "then," that you've since learned?

    Useful things I learned:

    How to make/tie a consistent knot.

    If you were a beginner, would these things be useful/informative to you?

    Fabric - fiber content, grain lines

    Needles - differences - any brand preferences


    How much "technical" information is enough and when does it get to be too much?

    I have found I'm not a very good gauge of some things, because I've been told that my mind processes things "funny/different"

  2. #2
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    well, Big, I don't think I'm one to answer, the when is enough, enough, thing, lol...but the stuff you mentioned, in my opinion, just what a newbie needs, especially that knot tieing stuff.
    Well, the other stuff is just as important, but seems more readily available info. Great for a class.
    How to get things "squared", accurate 1/4" seams on machine,...all the info on how to get accuracy is what newbie's need.
    How to keep rulers from slipping. It took me a while to get up the courage to cut my fabrics with rotary, bc I was afraid I would ruin it, with slippage. I put sandpaper on my rulers. I had bought this clear stuff, and it didn't do it, for me.

  3. #3
    Super Member quiltwoman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    North Carolina
    I think you can "recommend" certain needles, thread etc. but it will eventually be a personal choice based on many criteria.

    I'd love to know about 1/4 foots on machines--used to draw the line in pencil. Grain of fabric--HUGE to know about, especially when it stretches.

    I would have also liked to have had a bit of a discussion about lights, darks, and medium color fabrics. I'm a fan of darks and to actually buy light and medium colors KILLS me, but sometimes in order to get the look you need to understand color value. I still stuggle with this.


  4. #4
    sunnyhope's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Oslo, Norway
    I am a newbie and all this i would love to learn , especially anything that has to do with accuracy :)

  5. #5
    Super Member Lisanne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    East Coast
    As a beginner who finished a beginning quilting class only a few weeks ago, I don't know enough yet to say what the class missed.

    You asked specifically about a beginning hand-piecing class, and I really wish mine had been a hand-piecing class, but it was all machine piecing and quilting, except that the binding was done by hand. I wish I'd been able to find a longer, more comprehensive class that covered the hand techniques and offered comparisons between hand and machine.

    OTOH, for what it was, a 5-session machine-based class where we made a table runner, it was quite good. We learned about color combining, color value, etc. We learned about tying knots, rotary cutting, getting our piece corners to meet at the same place, differences in fabrics and battings, etc.

    There were no triangles in our table runners. That's one thing I wish could have been added that isn't as extensive as adding hand techniques.

  6. #6
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I have not taken a hand piecing class, but if I did I think I would like for it to cover English paper piecing as well as traditional piecing.

  7. #7
    Power Poster RedGarnet222's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Reno, Nv
    I think if you are in doubt, read a book table of contents/format on the subject. That will give you a good order to base your lesson on. I have taught individuals to quilt (not a class). It helps you to remember the things that newbies need to learn. I am thinking that it is a beginning class, and the information sheet should include pictures of the hard to remember, small but important things. Hand piecing does use different thread and often templets are marked, which is what you use to make sure your stitches are lined up right.

    I think if you make up your project first, that it will be a good help to you and your students. I like to see a large scale diagram on a storyboard. It helps me a lot.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    If I were taking a beginner hand piecing class I would like to learn the things that will make my first projects successful and fun. I think too much technical info at this point would be a turn off for me. The things I would find most useful are:

    How to make/tie a knot.

    Fabric - More about grain line than fiber content.
    A short discussion about Color/Value (lights,mediums,darks)

    How to cut accurately.

    How to sew intersections so that I won't end up with gaping holes.

    How to choose suitable beginner patterns.

    I would find reference sheets and diagrams very helpful also.

    Good luck with the class.

  9. #9
    MNQuilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    I wishmore beginner classes were longer and would actually cover quilting! Both beginner classes I attended only covered piecing and never got to actual quilting. It would have been nice to complete thewhole project.

    Oh and I guess that by not getting to quilting, I've been winging it on the binding piece too! So far nothing has fallen apart! :-)

  10. #10
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Maryville, Tn
    I've taught a lot of beginners to hand piece.
    Most of them have not been in a formal class, but 1 on 1 so, I find out if they have ever sewn at all before, if not I cover fabric basics, Equipment basics, etc. I never really did a lot with color, because I'm a bit of a "color rebel" and encouraged them to buy something they like for a first project. Tons of info on color and that can get pretty in depth for a beginner. I never teach knot tying, as I don't use knots in hand piecing. ever done any hand quilting and hit a knot? it's a booger.. I teach backstitching. I do teach beginning piecers to mark all of their seams and cut with scissors. To me those are the basics, and usually it's a smaller project in a basic class. And after marking seams and "seeing" a quarter of an inch enough, it helps train their eye. also makes the beginning project more accurate and satisfying.

  11. #11
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Like Tippy, I prefer to start with a "Traditional Quilting" class - using templates, scissors, hand sewing, etc. I teach it as a 9-block sampler class, with different skills in each block. It's so good to start with real basics and not just jump into rotary cutting.

    I used to teach it in a six-week class. The problem, as someone said, is that you often don't get to the quilting stage! That is why I stretched it out to 8 or 10 weeks, meeting 6 times with breaks between sessions so everyone could get all their blocks done in time to be ready for the layering-basting-quilting class. Again, we don't really get to the binding. I demonstrate it and give them handouts and make myself available, if possible, when they are ready to bind.

    I don't use knots in hand-piecing, either, Tippy. I teach the method where you start about 1/2" from the end of the line, sew to the end, backstitch, turn around and go back the length of the line, backstitch at the other end and then turn it around and sew back toward the center again. It's so nice and strong and flat! (and easier to do than describe! LOL)

  12. #12
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    rural Maryland
    I have been sewing since I was 8 and quilting since I was 16. One of the most important lesson I learned was good sewing basic information like straight of grain. I have taught a few small quilting classes. I like to start off with a small handquilting project with a square of solid fabric marked for a simple quilt design. If the person enjoys or masters that small project they will go on to learn the rest of the techniques involved. In my mind it is not a quilt until it is quilted. I have seen so many UFOs that were peiced or even appliqued beautifully but never quilted. I am assuming that most of you who have items longarmed do it because you are not interested in the quilting part. That is fine but that is not the way I feel. I recently had a king sized top longarmed. I actually purchased the top from a vendor at our guild show that sold tops made by poor woman as a fund raiser. I am going to give the quilt to my step-daugher for her 20th anniversary. She is a nurse and literaly washes all of her bedding with the sheets. A handquilted item would not survive her attempts to sterilize everything in her house.
    I use handquilted items in my house constantly and I machine wash and dry them when necessary but not everytime I change the sheets.

    Most quilting classes I have seen offered stop before the sandwhiching and quilting process even starts. It is not my favorite part but like food prep and clean up it is part of the process that is necessary to a meal or to a quilt.
    To me quilting is a relaxing passtime. A good excuse to sit and watch a movie or TV program and not feel quilty because my hands are busy.

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