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Monday, March 21, 2011

Encouraging New Quilters

Hello, Stash Manicure friends! I'm Melissa from Under the Evening Star. I started blogging about two years ago as a way to share my quilting with family who lives about 4 states away. My mom and sister were the only quilters I knew at the time and it was a great way share and receive encouragement. Today I'm going to share with you some fun ways to support and encourage new (or future) quilters.


Share...
Ticker Tape Scraps
*Scraps*


We all know how precious scraps are and how much fun you can have with them. And how quickly they can get out of control in our sewing space. Why not put a few handfuls of your favorite scraps into a pretty gift bag for a new quilter? It takes a while before a new quilter has a nice assortment of scraps to work with, so a gift of scraps could be a real treat. You might even tuck in a list of links or a magazine that has ideas for using scraps.
March Stack of Books - close
*Books and Magazines*


For years before I became a quilter, I loved reading quilting magazines and books. I bought them at bookstores but it was so nice when my mother loaned parts of her collection to me. I could just soak in the inspiration and dream of one day making some of the quilts I saw. Raise of hands, how many of us have a big stack of reading material collecting dust, waiting for someone to take another look? My mom and I just stick on an address label somewhere so we can keep track of where it's home is if it needs to be returned.
Riley Blake +
*Fabric*


How many of us have more fabric in our stash than we'll ever get a chance to sew together (and still intend to buy more)? We could choose a few fat quarters or a charm pack or even yardage to pass on and inspire creativity in a new quilter. It may be a good idea to ask first. I've known a few quilters who get overwhelmed if they have too much fabric waiting for them. It's stressful for them to know they have another potential project waiting when they are trying to finish the current one. (Luckily I don't suffer from that kind of stress!)


I recently had a blogger offer to send me a yard of beautiful out of print fabric I commented on and now I'm inspired to sew with a color I'd never really considered before. And my wonderful sister cut into brand new fabric she'd purchased just because she knew I loved it and wanted me to enjoy it too. And I never leave my mom's without a new additions to my stash. I shared half of a new charm pack with my sister when we learned to make hexagons and I took over a stack of scraps to a friend who wanted to embellish some baby gifts. It's fun to pass on things you love and receive some new favorites.  So share the good stuff with joy!



Cheer...
*Finishes*


You know how we all get excited when we finish each step of a quilt? Make sure you show some excitement for a friend even when she's just finished cutting out a project. Each step along the way of completing a quilt is a huge milestone for someone just beginning to quilt. I still call my mom or email a friend when I finish a step. It's still all very exciting for me (and I hope it stays that way)!
Garden Friends
*Accomplishments*


Whether it's a small pot holder or a larger quilt, celebrate the accomplishment and focus on several positive things to say rather than pointing out unmatched seams or a crooked border. Nothing squashes enthusiasm like negative criticism. If someone wants advice on how to improve, they'll ask.

One of the things I love about my guild is that when a new quilter shows their 1st quilt, we give them a standing ovation. If you think about all of the things a person must learn to put that first quilt together, it's certainly a gigantic accomplishment. I like to seek that quilter out and compliment her personally. It's great to make those connections and get a closer look at her quilt.
Hexie Doll Quilt
Invite...


There are so many places to invite a new quilter, experienced quilter, or even someone who hasn't finished their first project yet. Guild meetings, retreats, quilt shows, shop hops, and classes are all lots of fun and provide opportunities to visit and see lots of inspiration.
Hoop full of Hexies
Swapping small projects like hoops, mug rugs, and doll quilts are a great way to try out new techniques and are small enough for a new quilter to enjoy without the demands of a larger project. If you both are feeling up to a bigger challenge, consider following an online quilt along together or choose a project from a magazine. You could each choose your own fabric and encourage each as you progress through the quilt. Perhaps even collaborate on a charity quilt together.
Lilly & Will


These are just a few ideas to help new quilters find the joy that we've all experienced since we became quilters. I'm sure you all remember ways you felt included or things you do to connect with new quilters. I'd love to hear some of your ideas here or at Under the Evening Star!


Thanks again Madame Samm for inviting me to be here today!

51 comments:

  1. I think it is so much fun to share our love of quilting. It gives one that warm and fuzzy feeling we all love.

    That hexi-hoop is fabulous!!!!

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  2. Great advice. Too many forget their stepping stones and who aided their path. We need to encourage and share. I love the hexi-hoop and would love for a tutorial on how to do one of those. Maybe you will come back and share that with us?

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  3. What a great post. . . thank you from a newish quilter.

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  4. great ideas for sharing the wealth of fabric, knowledge, and encouragement. here is my bit for you: Good Job! Thank You!

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  5. What a sweet and lovely post. I just finished my first quilt top and have had great support along the way. These are wonderful ideas!

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  6. Great post! A bit of encouragement can make all the difference in whether someone continues to quilt (or do any other hobby for that matter). I love to encourage new quilters of all ages. I've encouraged them through a little beginning quilt class that I have taught in our county libraries. I volunteer my time and share lots of fabric (cause I have way too much and friends and my mom keep giving me more!). It's a way to "give back" because it was through the libraries that I had access to lots of quilting books when I wanted to learn more about quilting. I had plenty of encouragement from my mom and the women in my family but I always lived many miles away. Through teaching those classes, I gained many new friends and started a couple of quilting groups and I just keep spreading the encouragement. :-)

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  7. Sharing scraps with a new quilter....what a great idea! We have a very new quilter that joined our bee recently -(the perfect candidate)!

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  8. Melissa, what a wonderful post. Inspirational. I love all your insights and definitely want to try some of your hexie designs. But your are so true about the importance of quilters reaching out to new quilters to encourage and invite them to join in. New quilters also bring such wonderful contributions, with new ideas, use of color, willingness to look at designs from a different perspective and try new things, that they add more value than many realize.

    Again, great post. Thank you so much for sharing.


    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

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  9. Love the ideas you have shared! I am a new quilter who is finding that many of my friends are interested or becoming re-acquainted with their own quilting skills because I'm chattering on about this new passion of mine! I think I will take inspiration from you and share some charm packs... kind of like those little friendship heart charms that you break in two and keep 1/2/give 1/2 away! Great idea!

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  10. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and so the making of your first quilt begins with the first stitch and like every journey there is a lot of preparation before you set off. Thank you for sharing.
    Shirley.

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  11. What a great post... I'm feeling quite reflective now : )
    So often I find myself getting hung up on perfection instead of focussing on the enjoyment of the process. I think we're all still in the process of learning and are always beginning at something. Learning, sharing with others, the evolving friendships with other quilters, the laughs we have, bringing someone else joy ... these are the important things.

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  12. What a lovely collection of thoughts and ideas! The small quilt with the gnomes is such fun, and as for the quilting in the blue one with the hexies--J'adore!! I aspire to quilt that way one of these days!

    I know of only one person in RL who shares my interest in fabric and patchwork/quilting, and we met by accident. She is my go-to if I need advice or a second opinion on my project. She is now a good friend and shares her stash and library (and I do mean library!) of books with me. She is always encouraging and interested, and that means a great deal to me.

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  13. Hi Melissa. What a fabulous post your wrote with some grat ideas. I love the hexie and the gnome quilts. I pass my craft magazines on to the local high school. My scraps often end up in my classroom for the students to use in art and craft projects.

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  14. Another great post, definitely always say positive things about someone's work, there is so much to learn and it does take a while before points are sharp and seams are matched nicely.

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  15. Wonderful advice... we all need to spread the love of quilting!

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  16. Thank you for a reminder (and a few new ideas). It is hard to measure how much a little kindness and enthusiasmm can accomplish in a person's life.

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  17. Good Morning Melissa. What a lovely start to a great week. You are our future. You - the new quilters who get it. Who put the craft above all, who understand the importance of sharing. Who inspire, excite and constantly see the beauty of it all. You certainly are a great reminder of why many of picked up that first piece of material and began quilting. Thank you for your wisdom and sharing it with us this morning!

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  18. We're on the same wavelength! To encourage people to keep on quilting or to begin, I'm giving away four beautiful, springy fat quarters and a quilting magazine to celebrate my 100th blog post. Please visit http://www.rocknquilts.blogspot.com to join in on the fun! The drawing will be held on Sunday, March 27th at 9:00 p.m. Central Time. Good luck!

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  19. Thank you for the lovely post! I am a new quilter and everyone is very helpful in the quilting community!

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  20. Melissa, what a thoughtful post! I have just had the pleasure of passing on my love of quilting to a dear friend who decided to make her first quilt. We worked together in my studio and to my surprise she decided to hand quilt her top. She is so enthusiastic...excitedly buying her mat, cutter, rulers, and even when she was piecing her first top, she had her second project already in mind. Your suggestions will help us all encourage others as they enter the wonderful world of quilting!

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  21. Beautiful post and wonderful message!

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  22. One of the goals of my quilt guild is to encourage new quilters and you've just given me lots of ways to do that. I'll be passing this on to others - thank you. blessings, marlene

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  23. Great advice! I remember how I started with nothing. It usually takes an age to build up a stash and sometimes when you really start to know what you're doing, you can't stand the original fabric the you bought anymore. LOL

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  24. This was a fantastic post...so many great ideas! Thank you for reminding us of when we were starting, and how we were helped. Now many of us need to mentor others in this wonderful community.
    Jacque in SC
    quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  25. i do love encouraging other quilters! how fun to give them a little stack of fabric-y goodness! everyone needs to have a little stash to choose from! :)

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  26. A really wonderful post - I have picked up a few really good tips to help me pass along the knowledge and inspiration. Thank you. Judy C

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  27. How very sweet! I love the things you said about not pointing out the flaws in a finished project.. gosh I pick myself apart enough! I love the ideas of helping new quilters, I think that quilters are just so kind, and it makes coming to these blogs the highlight of my day! I don't belong to a quilt guild, so in a way all of my blogging buddies ARE my lil guild, and my quilting partners. It is just me.. here at home... I have my blog friends to share with and talk to. I can't be the only one..

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  28. Great post! It is sew important to continue to encourage new quilters to try new skills and improve old ones. You have wonderful ideas on how to do this. Thanks!

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  29. Good morning Melissa...great post and great advice. My daughter-in-law, sister and two nieces have taken up quilting. They all live in Canada and often take the 4+ hour road trip to Michigan to spend a weekend quilting with me. I luv to share and encourage any new quilter with my passion of quilting. They are coming in early April for a...quilting retreat in my basement. Luv your hexie hoop, your fabrics are adorable...Heather Ross has some sweet sweet fabrics...darling gold fish, bicycle and the Lily and Will bundle is...gorgeous. Thanks for sharing and caring........lol

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  30. A truly wonderful post. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

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  31. These are some great ideas. I gave some old magazines away this weekend and then went and got some more from my mother's stash!

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  32. I just loved this post. You had so many wonderful ideas in there! I'm trying to get my own sister more involved in sewing and quilting. Your stories have given me some ideas! Thanks!

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  33. A VERY inspiring post! And, VERY well written...easy to follow and organized...Thanks for reminding us how and why it's so important to care, share and encourage!

    hugz,
    annie

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  34. Great article! You've inspired me to take a couple of the steps you mentioned. :D

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  35. Aaawww I love the little gnomes:)

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  36. Great post, Melissa! I particularly love your comments about celebrating each step! This is near and dear to my heart - I have a linky-party on my blog called "Can I Get A Whoop-Whoop Friday" where people can post anything they are excited to have done that week - not just finishes, but any accomplishment! Some people just don't have time to finish things quickly - but still need encouragement. I'm so glad to see others of the same mindset!!! Come join us sometime!!

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  37. I'm with you completely. There is no room for criticism when it comes to the joy of creating. I think giving ourselves and others permission to "just do it" is what fules more creativity and ideas.

    Thanks so much for your post...a pleasure to read for sure....and the pix....well...I've been drooling a bit...gotta get up and wipe my chin now.

    Smiles,
    Kelly

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  38. Great article and not something I'd ever thought about. I learned to quilt by myself. I had a friend who quilted but she was an up tight, everything had to be perfect person so I never asked her anything. I now quilt regularly with 3 other friends - all of us are at different stages in quilting expertise and taste, and all of us learn from all of us. It's great!

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  39. I know blogging has certainly made my quilting world a whole lot bigger! The encouragement and inspiration received is amazing.

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  40. Good Morning! It is so nice to come here and share my morning coffee and time with you wonderful quilters! The 'tips' you share are so great! I am in great company!

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  41. Great ideas. I wish I had more quilting friends. So far I have only one and she is always sharing with me. She inherited a bunch of plastic containers of fabric and if I need something I call her first.

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  42. Thank you so much!! I so enjoyed your post! Love your fabrics and you hoop of hexagons and your block with the cute center. Wow, you have all fabrics anyone would love to have! thank you again for all the kind ideas!

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  43. Whatever it takes, encourage others to become excited to be part of our wonderful world of quilting. It pleases me tremendously when I see something "click" and they're suddenly a quilter :-)

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  44. Myself and my best friend are experienced sewers but still pretty new at quilts. She is taking classes in the city when she gets out of work and then gives me some tips that I would not have known.

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  45. I am one of the 'newbies' and I think your suggestions are wonderful. I love the fat bundles at the end of your blog.

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  46. Thank you! I know I definitely need to do a little more of this. I don't want to pressure my friends to join in on my hobby (because I'm obviously biased that it is the greatest hobby around) but I think I can do little things here and there to encourage them to do little projects! Thanks!

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  47. I adored the form as you placed the subject. I am quilter begginer and know how much is difficult to choose the fabric inside correct the few that I have. Thanks for showing that the generosity exists in the world of quilt. I am starting to make Mug Rug that is small parts and can makes them with my fabrics. Thanks again
    Marlene from Brazil

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  48. Thank you all so much for your kind comments! I'm having fun reading them. I've always said quilters are the kindest people and the wonderful interaction and inspiration of quilters online are really what kept me hooked.

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  49. Melissa, I wish I had known you when I started quilting over 20 yrs. ago. One thing that made me leave a quilt guild after my 2nd visit was the feeling of intimidation and never being worthy of showing something I had made. In fact, they were what I called "quilt snobs" and I never went back. They were so full of themselves! Show & Tell was more like Brag & Boast. My mother and I felt so left out! It is so important to encourage a new quilter and not expect perfection...learning should be fun and learning to quilt should be even more fun through encouragement, being lifted up, and given little "goodies" along the way. I hope all quilt guilds will heed your excellent advice
    Blessings
    GMAMA Jane

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  50. What a beautiful article! I am a little biased as your sister! You are a great encourager to all new quilters. My favorite idea is the sharing of fabric! I would just like to say posting a picture of that fat quarter bundle you know I covet is torture...lol....I know you would share it with me if I asked....I am still holding out for my own bundle though! I think you should do a tutorial on how to use those pretty scraps...lord knows I have enough I just can't throw away...and that hexi hoop...I die as Rachel Zoe would say!

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  51. I was very surprised to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.How do you do??

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