Basic Quilting Tips

Use these tips and tools to make your first quilt.

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If you're a beginner at quilting, here are the basics you'll need to know to get started, including a design for a simple ribbon star block:  

Tools
A rotary cutter is probably the most important tool you'll use as a quilter. It features a sharpened, round razor blade with a plastic handle. Rotary cutters should be used in conjunction with a self-healing surface mat and some sort of measuring tool that helps you cut accurately.

Other useful tools are scissors (to snip threads), pins, a seam ripper, a sewing machine, a regular steam iron and a pressing surface.

Fabric
Most quilters have a stash that they add to periodically. Depending on your quilt, you could need three fabrics or 50 fabrics. Scrap quilts can be made of many hundreds of fabrics. Most seasoned quilters choose 100 percent cotton for consistency. Cotton handles well, wears well and dyes easily. It also presses easily, which is important in quilting.

It's a good idea to pre-wash because fabrics can shrink and fabric dyes can bleed. Also, if the quilt is going to be used rather than just displayed, you want to wash the fabrics just like you'd probably do before wearing new clothing or using a store-bought blanket.

Quilt-Top Designs
When just beginning, choose simple patterns. You can find patterns and books at local quilt, craft and book stores and online.

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