In this time of social distancing and self-quarantining, the Brooklyn Quilters’ Guild is hosting a virtual quilt-along. Watch the video below to learn all about it, and please join us! As you start putting your blocks together, be sure to post pics on Instagram and Facebook and use the hashtag #BrooklynConnectedQAL. And follow that hashtag so you can see everyone else’s posts. Find the written pattern instructions on Barbara Danzi’s blog. I’ll be posting demo videos throughout. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of them!
When I started my quilting journey back in March of 2017, I did what I always do whenever I have no idea where to start. I Googled. I quickly found Craftsy.com (now mybluprint.com), and saw what a rich resource of all things crafting it was. Because I’m still somewhat new to the quilting world, I still use the Internet all the time to find out more about techniques and patterns, to shop, and just to get inspiration. In this post, I’ve listed a bunch of resources that I use on a regular basis. I’m sure this list will continue to grow over the years, and I welcome any input you would like to see added. I’m always eager to learn as much as I can about all things quilting!
YouTube — Go to youtube.com and search for the names listed below. If you like the videos, be sure to click on the thumbs up icon and also Subscribe so you don’t miss out on any upcoming videos.
Missouri Star Quilt Co. — Jenny Doan is an inspiration both as a quilter and a businesswoman. She and her family have built a true quilting empire in Hamilton, Missouri, and I love how she is able to come up with easier ways to create traditional quilt blocks. If you like working with precuts, this is definitely the channel for you!
Midnight Quilt Show — Angela Walters is the free-motion quilting queen! She also has a great sense of humor, and I love her quilting philosophy of how finished is better than perfect. I particularly like these videos because they’re short and very well produced.
Man Sewing — Rob Appell has A LOT of energy and enthusiasm for all things sewing, including quilts. He gives great advice and offers a large range of different sewing techniques and projects.
Mr. Domestic — Mathew Boudreaux has an infectious joy that comes through in all of his video tutorials. He also has incredible technique. If you’re looking to hone your skills and get ready to show your stuff for juried shows, you should definitely check out his videos.
Fat Quarter Shop — Kimberly Jolly has created an amazing business with Fat Quarter Shop. Not only is she a great retailer, but she produces so many informative videos on a regular basis that run the gamut of all things sewing. She also has block-of-the-month clubs and other sew-alongs that help you feel like you’re part of a big quilting family.
MADE Everyday — Dana Willard’s YouTube channel has tons of very highly produced sewing tutorials. Only a handful are quilting related, but this is the first channel I go to whenever I need to learn a technique such as sewing piping around a pillow or inserting zippers or making a vinyl bag, etc., etc., etc.
Social Media — Before I started quilting, I was not that much into social media. I originally joined Instagram as a way to chart my quilting progress, but I quickly discovered the enormous amounts of inspiration that can be gained from following all the amazing quilters through social media. It’s a great way to become part of a worldwide community without leaving your sewing room.
Pinterest — This is the place to go when you just want to scroll through pretty pictures of whatever you’re interested in. You can create your own folders and save the pictures as a reference whenever you need inspiration.
Instagram — I’m totally an Instagram convert!! I love following the many awe-inspiring quilters all over the world and seeing what they are producing every day. It gives me motivation to keep producing my own work so I can show off what I have to offer, too.
Facebook — Facebook is a little trickier when it comes to following quilters because you have to request to be their friend unless their account is set up so that you can follow them. However, pages can be set up on Facebook which you can join and share photos, thoughts, and compliments about whatever your group is focused on. When I was working on a mystery quilt challenge through National Quilters Circle, I joined their Facebook page, and it was such a great way to chart my own progress along with everyone else’s.
MeetUp — This is a great app when you’re looking to actually meet people in real life. Gasp! Yes, people actually still want to hang out in real life together these days. I haven’t actually used MeetUp for anything quilting related … YET … but I have used it for other purposes and it’s been great. If you’re having trouble finding a local quilters guild or a group of like-minded craft enthusiasts, I highly suggest you start your own MeetUp group and see who wants to join you.
Local quilt shop/sewing/craft store — I’ve traveled all over the country, and it seems like there’s a quilt shop just about everywhere I’ve gone. Not only do the people who run these shops have great knowledge to share with you as a customer, they also offer classes and bring in professional quilters for trunk shows and lectures. I have yet to go to a quilt shop where the staff hasn’t been incredibly friendly and generous with their time.
Local/national quilters guild — When I realized I was actually a quilter I decided I needed to meet other quilters. At some point I heard the term “quilters guild” and did an online search to see if there were any in my area. Sure enough, there were several. I went to a Brooklyn Quilters Guild meeting and immediately joined. I’ve been a member since the fall of 2017, and it’s been so wonderful being part of a quilting community. Not only do you get to share your love of quilts with like-minded people, but most guilds do a lot of charity work and that is good for the soul.
Websites/blogs — Sometimes I don’t necessarily want to sit through a YouTube video to learn a simple technique, so I just do a quick Google search for blogs. A lot of these blogs are also retail sites, so you can do some shopping while you’re browsing online. If there’s a blog that speaks to you in particular, you should subscribe to their newsletter so you stay up to date with their regular posts.
Local colleges — A lot of the local colleges offer classes for non-enrolled students. I took a basic sewing class at the Fashion Institute of Technology several years ago that helped me get over my fear of my sewing machine. Learning from an actual live person and having a structured curriculum worked really well for me.
Books/magazines — Honestly, I don’t really buy many craft books or magazines these days. I pretty much find everything I need online. But there are still lots of amazing books and magazines being published today, so if you’re someone who loves filling their shelves with crafting books to show off to your visiting friends and families, go out and get some. What I like most about crafting books is that the authors usually mix technique with their own personal stories. There are also great coffee table books out there if you just want to look at high-quality photos of pretty, pretty quilts.
If you’re looking to step up your quilting/crafting game and go beyond following someone else’s pattern, I suggest you start thinking like an artist. I’ve had the fortune to sit in on a lot of art classes over the last several years, and I’ve seen how much students grow and evolve over their college years because of technique and theory classes as well as structured critique from their professors and peers. I’ve listed a few things to consider if you want to think outside the box. It can be so helpful to let ideas and techniques from other artforms influence your own work.
Color theory — As a crafter, you probably have a natural sense of color theory, but learning the science behind color can really boost your crafting game. One of my favorite aspects of color theory is the idea of transparency. There are some really great guidelines out there if you want to create the optical illusion of overlapping colors in your quilts.
Worqx.com — This website has TONS of color theory information at your fingertips. I highly recommend taking a glance through it.
Interaction of Color by Josef Albers is the go-to color theory book most art students have to read in college. These color theory principles serve as the foundation for your work with color.
Art history — Looking at what artists have been doing over the millennia is so inspiring. As a quilter, I’m not looking to mimic any artist or their work, but I love seeing what they do in their own medium and thinking about how I could maybe apply one or two elements into my own work.
Other creative arts — There is inspiration to be found everywhere! This is just a tiny list of areas that might spark an idea in your own process.
- Commercial design
- Textiles and patterns