Handmade, Patchwork, Quilting, Sewing, Teaching

Learn Something New!

20th July 2017
My First Quilt – Made at Millie Moon

I love reading creative blogs, and listening to sewing and gardening themed podcasts.  Not only do people share their current works and interests but many also weave in the stories of how they took up a craft.  I am constantly surprised by how many people say they first started quilting with no tuition and ended up with a fabric disaster.  My first go at quilting was quite the opposite experience – and I thought I would write a little about it and offer some reflections.
I had done the odd bit of sewing at school but at that point had tended to lean towards paint as my art form.  I vividly remember making a skirt in our textile class, which although turned out pretty well was not a great pattern and I didn’t really wear it.  Then, in 2011 I decided to hand-make a couple of gifts for a forthcoming celebration with friends.  It was at this point that I became familiar with Millie Moon in Frome, my then local haberdashery.  I got to know the owners Rachel and Becki and became inspired by all of the beautiful fabrics.  At this point I knew how to use my 1970’s sewing machine but lacked confidence.  During the approach to Christmas 2011 I looked at the list of workshops that were on offer for the New Year at Millie Moon and was attracted to the beginner’s quilting one.  It was a six-week course starting in the January and there was a lovely sample in the shop of the quilt that participants would make.  I proceeded to ask for some money for Christmas from a few relatives and soon booked myself onto the course.  Just before the start of the course I spent an agonising hour trying to choose my fabrics in the shop and the following week I nervously turned up for my first ever class. 
My tutor was the wonderful Caroline Francis-Payne who expertly guided our small group through her pattern over the coming weeks.  The quilt was really challenging but I learnt so much and came away with my first-ever finished quilt.  That quilt still sits in my living room over 5 years later and I am still very much in love with the design and the Tilda fabrics that I chose to use.  Caroline’s tuition and support gave me the confidence to move on to another quilt soon after my first and as they say, the rest is history. 
Trying something new can be scary and having a disaster can be heartbreaking and possibly enough to stop you from ever trying that craft again.  Therefore, I would encourage anyone wishing to learn something new (quilting, sewing or otherwise) to find a workshop, a course or a generous friend to walk you through the early steps, to hold your hand and help you gain confidence.  This in turn will lead to success and you never know, maybe even a new passion.  Over 30 quilts later I am still very much in love with quilting and patchwork and the confidence that I have gained has also helped me to develop other areas of sewing. 
Go on, have a go at something you have wanted to learn! And if you fancy having a go at a smaller patchwork or quilting project why not join me on my forthcoming workshops at Millie Moon.  My August workshop is a Quilted Cushion Cover and then in the autumn there will be an introduction to English Paper Piecing, a Patchwork Drawstring Bag and a quilted Christmas Stocking.  Follow my Facebook page to keep up-to-date with my class details as they become available. 

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