That said, I've learned a few tricks over the years and thought I'd share some of that today:
- I always start my quilts with a scale drawing on graph paper. While I am certain that there are higher tech ways of doing this, I stick with paper and colored pencils.
- After the drawing, I figure out how much fabric I need based upon the number and size of the blocks (accounting for seam allowances). It's more geometry than anything, and while I sort of enjoy dorking out in this regard, it also can be a bit mentally exhausting. I always err on the side of too much and donate leftover yardage. I love The I.D.E.A. Store for their willingness to take what I don't need.
- I use a rotary cutter when I can. Sometimes scissors are just easier, though.
- I recently purchased a great big cardboard sewer's mat. It turns my dining room table into a really big sewing table, and the measuring lines are very handy. Since I don't have a designated sewing space, I like that I can lay out my quilt then move the board if we need to use the table.
- As for the actual piecing, I chain piece as often as I can and keep an ironing board at the ready. The piecing is most often done in batches, because I'm generally working with small chunks of time. It is also often done with my trusty pin assistant at the ready.
- Once I'm pieced and pressed, I buy the batting, backing, and edging. It's a rule of mine, kind of like not purchasing plants until the soil is prepared. Too many times I've purchased everything and not finished the quilt.
- I machine quilt using a walking foot. I like quilting a bazillion times more since I got a machine that is able to do this. And I really like using quilter's safety pins to hold my layers together. I quilted Charlie's quilt with a basic diamond design in keeping with the baseball theme.
- As for finishing details, I almost always use double fold bias tape to finish the edges. It's so user friendly, and by the time I get to that point, I just want to be done.