Christa’s Soap Box – Teach a Friend to Quilt….

Teach a friend to quilt… and you’ll have a fabric-friend for life.  My longtime friend Janice popped in over Christmas and she asked the best favor that any friend could request – she asked me to teach her how to machine quilt!

Janice Quilt

Janice and Her Quilt

First a little backstory – Janice and I have been friends since just after I got married and she’s always been crafty. In fact, I’ve mentioned her on my blog before and we’ve swapped a few artistic creations over the years. Way back in those days when I started quilting I told her I’d make a quilter out of her someday… and now that day has finally come!

Janice reads my blog on a regular basis and recently told me she was inspired to learn to quilt because of my quilt alongs. Living across the country from me, she sought out her local quilt shop and signed up for a class. Although her beginner’s class only focused on piecing the top, she proudly showed me her beautiful piece. (Why, oh why, do shops not teach how to make the entire thing from start to finish?? That’s another soap box post for another day!)

Minky on the back

Minky on the back is super cozy!

She backed it in soft minky and had the shop quilt it for her in a pretty swirly design. Then she promptly sat me down and asked me for a lesson in free-motion quilting. Yay! 🙂

So I started her off how I usually do when introducing machine quilting to my students, with a paper and pencil, and we set to sketching out some interesting designs.

Quilt Doodles

Doodling on paper is so fun!

First she filled up a page with some simple stipples…

Janice Quilts

Practice on paper first!

Then we went to town trying all sorts of fun motifs like pebbles, swirls, geometrics and loops. After a few pages, she had the rhythm down and started to make that muscle memory connection between her brain and her hands. After all, the hardest part of machine quilting is knowing where to go next!

Next, it was time to hop on my machine and try out what she’d learned.

Janice Quilts

FMQ can be fun!

While she practiced, I made sure to tell her all about my favorite FMQ tips and I gave her a mini tutorial on binding by machine. I mentioned that it may take awhile to get the knack for free-motion quilting, but she can feel proud of doing it herself!

(These pictures remind me that I really should pretty up my hands when I quilt, LOL!!)

Janice Quilts

By George, I think she’s got it!

I fully expect that when Janice comes out for her annual visit next time, she’ll have completed her next quilt completely – from start to finish. I can’t wait for the show and tell!

24 thoughts on “Christa’s Soap Box – Teach a Friend to Quilt….

  1. Gretchen says:

    I have been fortunate to have a quilt store a block away from me called Quilting Divas. Although they do quilting for clients, they also offer free motion quilting classes! I have learned many tips from them but practice, practice is the best. I do my doodling on a large dry erase board. I am lucky to have the best of both worlds! Just finished making your quilt along Christmas quilt. It was so much fun. Thank you for sharing your love of quilting with everyone!

  2. Elizabeth E. says:

    Fun to meet you yesterday and to have a chance to sit down over lunch and enjoy some quilting shop talk. I hope the rest of your Road experience was beneficial, and wish you safe travels!

  3. Sarah Jeffries says:

    Love it! My machine is a very basic machine and it does not have a drop feed. Sooo I’ve only done straight line quilting. Please let her know that she as well as you are an inspiration. Thanks, Sarah

  4. Susan says:

    What a wonderful thing for you to do. I would love to have a friend to show me how to actually do quilting. I started quilting — no piecing quilts — about 9 months ago and am trying to learn from free online videos how to make quilts from precuts. I have one of your classes downloaded. Since I have no friends who quilt I took a class at a shop but, as you said, they don’t teach anything beyond cutting and sewing the pieces. I’m joining a guild to see if I can find a friend to show me how to “quilt”.

  5. Karen says:

    i was so excited to see your “String of Pearls” on display at Road to California – I love it and was so proud to tell my friends it was made by one of my blogging friends. Congrats to you!

  6. Wendy Rubbo says:

    Congratulations on another convert! I love your patterns and piecing the quilt, but no matter how many times I try, the FMQ always looks terrible (I have a Bernina 1130). Tried all your tricks and tips, but just can’t make it work for me. We can’t all be talented in the same way, I guess <>. Just finished piecing your String of Pearls and can’t wait to show it off! (renamed it Kaffe Klatch for obvious reasons :^)) Love reading your blogs and your tips. Thanks for all you’ve done to promote quilting!

  7. Pam says:

    You make it look so easy and so enticing. You rely have me inspired. I make all my quilts from start to finish but quilt by hand. Pls could you tell me what the setting of the machine is. Thanks for a great blog

  8. Lani says:

    Congratulations on teaching another person to FMQ! I know that by participating in your Modern Trees QAL, you gave me the confidence to quilt my own! It’s not perfect but nothing is in life anyways! Thanks Christa!

  9. Adele says:

    Evening! I saw your String of Pearls on display at Road today. Felt good to recognize something that I saw the quilting process. Well Done Christa!

  10. Susan Sparks Michael says:

    I love teaching beginner classes – I’ve taught at community centers and at Quilt fabric Shops – oy vey pet peeves at the shops for sure, ha ha. I’ve thought about writing those out – but I might want to teach at a local shop again. =)

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