Wednesday 13 January 2016

Quilting by YouTube

Like many quilters, I’m often asked “where did you learn to quilt?” Unlike many quilters, I wasn’t taught by a wise matriarch in the family. My nan knitted a lot, and sometimes embroidered, while my mum made clothes for me and my sister when we were young, and then later on knocked up the odd pair of curtains… both miles away from quilting! They did however teach me the basics in sewing, from hand-embroidered tapestries to sewing dolls clothes on mum’s old and extremely heavy Jones sewing machine.

I was introduced to quilting in my teens by a friend, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that this new addiction took hold, the more fabric I saw, the more I wanted for my stash, the more techniques I heard about, the more I wanted to learn – hence the size of my book collection! 

However, after all a while, buying a book for every new idea soon becomes expensive, so where else could I go? Then I discovered YouTube!

Now for the uninitiated, rest assured YouTube is not just videos of kids being drunk, or nutters doing strange stunts of their bikes, or weird music videos by performing arts students. Yes, there are plenty of those, but YouTube really has developed into an amazing teaching vehicle, and what’s more, it’s totally free! So these days you can learn anything, from how to apply your make-up, and get into (and out of) a million yoga poses, to how to play a musical instrument - and even how to make enough handmade quilts to keep you stitching for a lifetime.

If you visit and enter ‘quilting’ into the search box, you will come up with nearly 200,000 videos - that should keep you busy! Let’s face it, no quilter has the time to trawl through all these, so try entering ‘quilting tutorials’, or ‘quilting for beginners’. With still so many to choose from, I thought I would share some of my favourites, starting with the Missouri Quilt Company.

Those of you familiar with Twitter or Facebook may have come across these short and concise films already, click here to view their YouTube home page. Owner and master quilter Jenny takes us through all kinds of quilting projects, including beginners’ classes, simple quilt blocks, tutorials on different skills and techniques, and features on the latest tools and gadgets. These mini-lessons are well filmed, easy to hear and understand, and are the perfect length for a coffee break!

Another company that produces similar film tutorials is the Fat Quarter Shop.

Again, there are so many tutorials to choose from, including using short-cuts to create beautiful quilt blocks, and how to use new notions on the market. Quilting expert and presenter Kimberly is often joined by guests from the quilting world to show off their patterns, techniques or to just chat about their creative lives, so if you’re looking for some inspiration from the experts, this is the place.

Another of my favourites is Cozy Quilt Designs, in particular their monthly ‘Strip Club’ . Addicted quilter Daniela Stout owns the Cozy Quilt Shop in San Diego (where I plan to visit one day) where she developed this great idea of making up strip packs from her bolts, and then designing patterns to go with them. Once a month she presents her latest pattern to her group and films the demonstration. Not only is Daniela pretty inspiring, but she’s also entertaining to watch!

So if you have exhausted your book collection, and that of the local library, why not have a browse on YouTube, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

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  1. I am right with you, I have learned how to quilt through You tube (One of Jenny's tutorials was my first quilt). So many wonderful ideas out there and I am such a visual learner the videos make it easy.

    1. Yes, you're right, we all learn in different ways, and sometimes a book just isn't enough!! I don't think I would have finally got my head around foundation piecing if it wasn't for these films!

  2. Visiting from let's be social
    Always forget to check out sewing videos on YouTube thanks for the reminder

    1. You're welcome, though they do get very addictive! :)

  3. I haven't tried a You Tube video yet, but know there are many great ones out there! It's such a great resource and one that needed to be pointed out! Thank you!

    1. You're welcome, enjoy, but mind they don't take over your life! :)

  4. Thanks for the info on Cozy Quilts video. I've actually bought a few of their patterns and a book. Now I'll have to check out the videos. Thanks.


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