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I know I've alluded to this story in my other quilting posts, but let me elaborate a little in this one, because my whole quilting journey started with one.simple.kit. (read more)
I never wanted to quilt, ever. My friend Jenny at Come Quilt had been quilting for as long as I could remember. Her mother was an amazing quilter; Jenny is no different.
Every time I'd go to her house, normally before we'd head out to dinner or a movie, I'd ask about her quilts, just to be nice. It was one of those things you do. Like when your friends have kids, you don't, and yet you ask, "How are the kids?"
You're being nice, showing an interest. I didn't understand quilting, but I like Jenny, so I wanted to know what was going on with something she really cared about.
One day, she told me her quilting guild was having a show. My mother in law loves quilts, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone by taking my MIL along to the quilt show and supporting Jenny at the same time.
The quilts were amazing, truly amazing. Even the ones done by the sixteen and under set.
I was intrigued.
I think it's human nature to want to leave something, some mark, on this earth that will last past when you're gone. We have kids, we do our best to foster positive change, we practice kindness, all in the hopes that we're making the world a better place.
To me, quilting snapped into place as one of these things I could do that would be unique, and would put something beautiful into the world.
Yes, it's just a quilt, but it's lovely, it makes people happy when they receive one, and it makes people happy when they look at it.
It's true. :)
I was scared though. I'd never quilted anything. I'd never done more than sew a button on a shirt or a patch on a torn pair of jeans, if that. I mean, if I could find an iron on patch, I'd go that route.
How could someone like me, with no experience whatsoever, make a HUGE quilt?
It was daunting.
The first thing Jenny did when I asked her if she'd teach me how to quilt was to send me a link. She asked me to pick out a quilt kit that I'd like to make.
I've done that search for this link, so if you click it, you'll see the beginning quilt kits on Amazon.
There are dozens of quilts to choose from, and all are beginner, so you won't be doing anything like Y-seams, oddly cut shapes, etc. These kits are designed for people with little to no knowledge of quilting, and they include everything you'll need as far as fabric and instructions.
I love them, they're incredibly easy to read and decipher. Even now, as a more seasoned quilter (I laughed when I typed that, because it's not something I ever thought I'd say about myself), I gravitate toward the kits.
They've just got everything I need!
Let's talk about that.
WHAT COMES IN A KIT?
A quilt kit comes with all of the fabric you'll need, aside from the backing, unless it's noted on the kit contents that it comes with the backing.
Note that it only comes with the fabric and instructions. If you need a list of what you'll need as a new quilter, please read my post "What Does A New Quilter Really Need?"
Back to the quilt kit. Let me show you one I have on hand that I haven't yet made.
The kit comes in the mail in a baggie that keeps it safe and dry, just in case you live in the country and your mail carrier drops packages over your fence.
When you open the kit, you'll see the detailed instruction sheet and ALL of the material, aside from the backing.
The material provided will correspond to the material listed in the kit. Each material will be assigned a letter, and you'll know which letter it corresponds to because the kit maker has conveniently shown you the pattern in the little square beside the letter.
Don't over think it when you read this. It's very easy, I promise.
It can look like you only have some of the material since the layers are stacked and folded, but trust me, they're all in there.
It can also look like you don't have enough material. I can't tell you how nervous I was with my first kit. All I could think was, "You want me to make this huge quilt, and all I have is this much material!?"
There's plenty, again, I promise.
As a matter of fact, without fail on every quilt kit I've made, I've had a little extra. I stick it in a scrap bag for a charm quilt I SWEAR I'll make, some day.
The scrap bag needs to become a scrap box, because this is not even half of the scraps I've now got stashed in my closet.
Anyhow, let's move on to instructions!
FROM A TO Z
The quilt kit directions flow seamlessly, start to finish, beginning by telling you what material you have.
I like to open up all of the material and check it off, one by one, just to make sure it's all there.
The kit instructions then tell you how to cut the material. Some kits have pictures showing how to cut, others just give you written instruction.
"From Fabric 1, cut: 6 each - 4 1/2" WOF strips. Cut those strips into 84 each - 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 rectangles."
It even tells you what the abbreviations mean. WOF = Width Of Fabric. You know which was is the Width because it has the frayed edge on it. That's called the Selvage.
So it'll always have you cut the material into strips first, which makes it very easy on you since strip cutting is going to be the simplest way to begin.
It's like taking a big math problem and breaking it down into smaller pieces.
If you've ever read a quilt pattern, it's the same for all of them (basically). The difference is that in the kit, you also get all of the material, so you don't have to worry about "creating" your own look.
Let's talk about that.
NO GUESS WORK
For me, having to decide which cloth to buy for a quilt was daunting. What if it it looked weird, what if it was ugly, what if it didn't match?
It was a lot to worry about, especially for my Type-A personality.
A quilt kit takes all of that off your shoulders. You look online, find a quilt you like, and know that the kit you get will look just like that, no guessing!
It's freeing. :)
The cost is going to depend on the kit, but I'm going to estimate you can get a quilt kit for $50 or less.
I'm also going to say I think it's more cost effective (especially as a beginner) to get a quilt kit.
If you've ever purchased material on line, you know how quickly you can get caught up in the, "Oooh, that's pretty!" loop. Suddenly, your $50 quilt kit has blossomed to a $200 quilt because you've realized you love Batiks. :)
A quilt kit helps you keep it in check.
If you love quilting, you can definitely make more without a kit, and you can definitely pick and choose your fabrics.
Quilt kits are just a nice way to let you make something beautiful with a little (a lot) less leg work.
QUILTS I'VE MADE FROM KITS
This is the first quilt I ever made. My baby!
I have it hanging on a chair in my room, and my husband regularly sleeps under it during the summer. Nothing makes a quilter feel as good as someone actually using a quilt you've made.
Side note - Every time I post this picture, I think people are going to think I've got a trash bag on the floor (in the upper left). It's not a trash bag, it's a comforter. One of my kids was all bundled up in it for some reason.
The second quilt I made was also a kit. It was for my mom. She loves it. I gave it to her for Christmas.
This is a quilt I made for my oldest niece. She picked out the kit. I love it when she sends me pictures of her sleeping kiddos, especially when they're all cuddled up in this quilt.
DON'T BE AFRAID
I love quilting. I love it so much more than I can say. It's therapeutic, calming, a good way to unwind, and you end up creating something so beautiful and rare.
I mean, how many people do you know who can quilt? How much would you love to receive a hand made quilt from someone?
It's truly a gift that says, "You are special to me."
It's also a gift that will be around for a long time, probably with a story that says, "My Aunt made this for me." while other people go "Wow, she made that!?"
So, if you want to quilt, but you've been doubting your ability, take it from me, you can do it, and a quilt kit is a great place to start.
Before you start, check out my post about What A New Quilter Really Needs, then move on to Glue Basting Vs Pin Basting. Those posts will both get you started as cheaply as possible, and help you with your piece work.
Once you're done with your quilt (good job!), these posts will help you get it basted, quilted, squared, and bound.
How To Glue Baste A Quilt Sandwich
How To Quilt On A Domestic Sewing Machine
How To Square A Quilt
Binding With A Bias Tape Maker
Have fun, you can do this!
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About The Author
I started quilting in June of 2018 after attending a quilt show in support of my
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