Fact: the nicer you are to your sewing machine, the better it will behave. And if you want it to stay in tip-top shape, it's important to give it a good cleaning. Here's what you should be doing about every eight hours of use.
Half-square triangles, or HSTs, are fundamental quilt units used in many classic block designs, from the pinwheel to the friendship star. Learn to make them two-at-a-time for double the fun in half the time.
Pressing seams helps keep your quilt top flat for easier quilting. While you'll use a bunch of different methods throughout the quilting process, this one helps control bulk when a lot of them intersect.
As a newbie quilter, nine-patch blocks are one of the first you'll learn to make. It's easy to pull together, and learning this technique will give you a design that's versatile, traditional and trendy all at the same time.
Stitch in the ditch is a beginner-friendly technique for anyone just learning how to quilt. And when we say easy, we mean it: All you do is sew along the seam lines that join your quilt blocks — aka the ditch — so you have a clear (and usually straight) path to stitch! Bonus: stitching in the ditch adds extra stability to your quilt, it can be done before you add decorative quilting, or you can leave it as a design all its own. Hello, triple threat!
We can't get enough of this fresh and funky pixelated heart. It's easy to make if you know quilting basics, and it's gorgeous in traditional Valentine hues... or whatever color scheme you dream up (or find in your scrap pile!).
We get it: To a beginner, maneuvering a needle up and down through all the layers of a quilt sandwich sounds a little scary. But the truth is that hand quilting isn't nearly as challenging as you might think. In fact, all you need to know are a few simple stitching techniques. Nail 'em and you'll be turning out heirloom-quality quilts in no time.
Hands up if you'd LOVE to be able to skip the fabric cutting and fast-forward right to sewing your quilt. (Tell me I'm not the only one!) That can't always be a reality, but there are a lot of tricks that can make cutting so much more efficient. One favorite hack: The magic 8 method, which will help you cut and sew 8 half-square triangles at once. Win!
The great thing about these blocks is you probably have all the supplies you need right in your scrap bin. Of course you can go big and make a whole quilt of 'em if you're feeling ambitious. But these simple trees are a cool foundation for a pillow or modern table runner, too.
The log cabin quilt block is one of the most iconic quilt designs around. It's a traditional block that's built from the center out, adding longer pieces with each step. It's truly a must-know in the quilting world, so if you haven't quite mastered it yet, now's the time!
While stitch in the ditch will never let you down, it's not the only move your walking foot can make. Whether you want totally straight or gently curved lines, these designs add visual bang to your quilt that'll get everyone talking about your mad skills.
Y-seams can strike fear into the hearts of even veteran quilters. The dreaded seaming situation occurs when you have three fabric edges that all meet at one point (like when you’re sewing hexagons together). Once stitched, the seams form a Y-shape. You’ll also encounter Y-seams when you’re working with eight-pointed stars or if you're creating a tumbling block design in your quilt.
Before you dismiss hand quilting as something your great-grandma might have done, here's something you should know. Sewing your quilt by hand provides a soft finish that really can’t be achieved by machines. And nothing beats the zen of sewing something with needle and thread.