Disclaimer: I am not a master quilter - but I have made a bunch of quilts and I consider myself an experinced quilter. Being experienced just means I messed up along the way and found new ways of doing things which work better for me. These are the tips and techniques I have learned in the past few months that have helped me become a better quilter. This is how I sew and quilt and I hope these tid-bits will help you in your quilting journey.
1. Color choice is endless so look for patterns you like and hold onto them until the right set of fabrics come along.
2. Experiment with pattern and color in your blocks, sketch them out or use a software program to try before you commit. That way if you don't like it you haven't spent a month working on it before you realize it.
3. Practice precision when cutting and sewing. Squares and strips that are cut just a little off add up when you sew a row of them together. That goes for sewing pieces together too. My best tool for this is a 1/4" piecing foot - or a well marked sewing machine plate and rotary cutter, grid ruler and mat.
4. Ironing is worth it, set your seams before opening them up or pressing them to the side. Study the design before ironing so you make the best choice for the situation. For example if you are sewing black and white fabric together press towards the black or if making a pinwheel block press open so that there isn't a wad of seams at the end.
5. When quilting the top to batting and backing check your thread line from the spool to the needle every time you move your quilt. More often than not this is where problems originate. Sloppy thread leads to sloppy tension which means sloppy stitches.
6. Don't be afraid of the seam ripper it can be your best friend. Embrace the process and rip it out when you are not happy with it.
7. When sashing or binding cut the strips a little longer than measured; ending up with not enough is always worse than a little too much.
8. When hand sewing your binding down use threads 1' - 2' long. Any longer and it takes forever to pull a 3' long piece of thread through each time - not to mention the tangles and knots it creates.
9. Use a longer stitch setting when quilting long rows, sewing binding on or doing continuous line quilting. The long stitch makes the thread stand out more when quilting and it goes a bit quicker.
10. And we all want to go little quicker, right ; ) But that leads me to my newest motto: take the the time to make it right. This goes for a lot in life but let's start with the quilts.