quilt, quilt shop, quilting

Doing the (Prep) Work

The conversation usually starts this way, “I’m a newbie quilter, and I don’t want to mess this up. Help me, please.” Of course I’ll do what I can to help you. To the best of my ability, I will walk with you through choosing a pattern, fabric, and tools. I will watch you go through the same overwhelming decision making I went though years ago as you choose just the right fabrics, and tools. Some decisions will be made because you like this color, or the person  you are making this quilt for likes this pattern. Some decisions will be made on budget, and because “I’m not sure if I will like this quilting thing.” Quite frankly some decisions will be made because, “I’m not sure if I’m worthy of spending this much money on myself”. You are, but that’s a conversation for another moment, another blog post. Yes, another blog post.

fabric from danaAs you choose fabrics I’m doing my best to give you a crash course on color. “What are the colors you see?” I say. “Yes, this color is in here. What else do you see?” The colors you tell me are the ones you like, giving me a good place to start. As I point to shades of color, outline color, and colors not mentioned, which will all work together in your quilt. Secretly I’m all giddy about this, as I watch your face light up as you see it. We have to move quickly because there are other customers in the store.
Then we talk tools: rotary cutters, self-healing mats, rulers – choosing carefully. Some purchased made because of budget, or space, and some made because of a suggestion I make. You choose rulers after looking through them to see how you see the fabric. Given time I show you how to use the lines on the ruler to cut the fabric. A rotary cutter is chosen after I ask if you have hand or shoulder issues. You also listen very carefully to the time when my finger and the rotary cutter me, line, in person. It’s a cautionary tale, told simply to instill a healthy respect for the power tool. The facial expressions with the minimal words used have the desired effect. I know you’ll be careful. You choose the cutting mat based on your space and budget.

protractorI am very much invested in your quilterly choices. I want you to be successful. I want you to love quilt making as passionately as I do. While I know that ultimately I can’t control this I’m going to walk with you, next to you, whispering in your ear that you can do this. I’m going to help you make choices, but not make them for you.

We choose thread, needles and a few other things that you’ve seen out there on the internet that are necessary for good quilt making and off you go. As you walk out the door I often wonder if I’ll see you again. I do hope that we’ve worked well together.

Coming up: a machine quilting teacher tells all as she does prep work for a class.

Happy Quilting!




1 thought on “Doing the (Prep) Work”

  1. How right you are! Help is there, but the person doing the quilt has to make the final decisions. I followed my bff for sooo long–if she bought, I bought the same, etc., etc., I am finally picking and doing by myself! 🙂

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