So...where did you learn to quilt?

Good question.

My mom taught my sister and me how to sew so that by the time we had Home Economics in 9th grade, we already knew how to sew. (photo from google images)

My mom taught my sister and me how to sew so that by the time we had Home Economics in 9th grade, we already knew how to sew. (photo from google images)

I already knew how to sew - long before I ever attempted what I would call "quilting".  I've been sewing since I was about 12.

Quilting never interested me when I was young. I was busy making fun things to wear - clothing especially- bridesmaids dresses, formals, dresses, shirts, etc.  I wasn't interested in home decorating - not at all.  I was a high school/college student - not a home decorator. I lived in FL. I didn't need a cozy quilt to cuddle up in.

Fast forward.  Got a Home Economics Education, and earned a graduate degree in Elementary Education while teaching  sewing to college freshmen and sophomores--specifically beginning and intermediate clothing construction and Tailoring to older students. I made mostly clothing items and a few crafty items. I worked with cottons, polyesters, wools, satins, thin fabrics and slippery ones.  After college, I got married and we lived "on the edge" in many ways, trying to get my husband through his PhD and starting our family. I didn't sew much at all during these years.

This is Pfaff Hobby 350 whereas mine as a 402. 

This is Pfaff Hobby 350 whereas mine as a 402. 

We arrived in Poland when I was 32 years old - I was pregnant with child number 4 and had number 5 about 3 years after arriving. During those early years I didn't sew that much - life was lived on a different plane. Kids needed schooling, I needed to learn a language and I had a family to feed and take care of.  After a while, however, I started looking for ways to make our home 'more homey' - less plain. IMO, Poland was pretty bleak back in the mid- late 90's.  I made a few cloth napkins from pretty fabric from the states and I loved how they looked. (My husband had bought me a basic but nice Pfaff Hobby sewing machine as one of the first few appliances once we arrived here in Poland.)

I can't really remember the year, but it was in the early 2000's when a ladies' group gave me some items for our ministry. I was supposed to either pass it on to others farther east (Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania) or use it ourselves.  I began to do some research on how to use some of that fabric - as some of it was rather ugly and unlike anything that people over here would normally find  - no, I don't really have a pictures and I can't really describe it.

It was at that time I started making quilts with this ugly fabric - to use to give away to local people who lost their homes in fires. It was really the beginning of my quilting life.

I made simple patchwork quilts - just squares - and some nine patch quilts.  I tied all of these charity quilts--I got all my kid to help me and we could tie one in a half an hour.  The sewing of the top was never difficult for me - not those simple squares. I learned via the internet that you were supposed to use 1/4" seams - I could handle that though I had a pretty good eye for a 5/8" seam -- that's the size normally used in clothing patterns, for those of you who are reading this but haven't used commercial clothing patterns.

At first. I was really just winging it when it came time to finishing the quilt - things like binding - I had no idea what I was doing -  I thought you had to have that store bought stuff.  Funny, now that I think back. My bindings were awful! I hadn't found any Facebook groups - oh  yes, I wasn't on Facebook yet. I hadn't found any quilting groups on line. I had found a few quilting websites. A few.

At the same time I was doing the charity ones, I began to desire to do something a bit more complicated and pretty.

I made a top for my niece and one for my nephew from beautiful fabrics. but I didn't know how to finish (quilt) them, though. One time when I was back in the US for some reason, I went into our local quilt shop in FL and told them what I was doing. The lady at the counter encouraged me to go ahead and finish it - I explained that I wanted to "quilt" this one but I had no idea what I was doing. I asked for a recommendation for a book that would help me. She directed me to Leisure Art's Complete Guide to Quilting.  (I'm linking to one that doesn't have the same cover as the one I have, but I believe it's the same book.)  I knew the name Leisure Arts due to the my cross stitch years and I trusted their "complete guide" to be very good. I had no idea of any "big names" in the quilting world - I was simply taking the lady at the quilt shop's advice and recommendation.  

That quilt shop is Quilts on Plum Lane in Dade City, FL.  I highly recommend it as well. They have super nice people there.

I swallowed hard, forked out the $25+ for the book, and walked out of the shop with lot of hope in my arms!

It was my first and only quilt book for quite a while. I brought it back to Poland with me, skimmed it, read it, studied it, over and over. I absorbed what I could and then went back and read sections that interested me again and again. 

Fast forward ....

I began to get "really interested" in this thing called quilting. I wanted to learn more - but I wasn't looking for patterns but rather, "technique" books - ones where I could learn more "in general".  I found a lot of pattern books I liked but they weren't what I was looking for.

I found a series that sounded intriguing - Quilter's Academy by Harriet Hargrave and Carrie Hargrave - at that time I'd never heard of them  - but I liked the title and idea behind the series.

I can't remember initially how I found these books, but I think it was by searching Amazon under quilting.  I bought number 1 in the series just to check it out - Quilter's Academy Vol. 1 - Freshman Year.

I liked book 1, so of course, I wanted to advance to the sophomore level, so eventually I also bought Quilter's Academy, Volume 2 - Sophomore Year.   They deal with different things in each book, teaching you how and why things work. They have you design your own quilts beginning with the first book, and figure up yardage and measurements. 

I can't say that I have absorbed all the information in these books, but I found myself loving their style, the amount of material and their illustrations and patterns. I like that they have a test at the end of each book to see if you've really gotten it.

So, I eventually bought Quilter's Academy Volume 3  - Junior Year . The Junior year deals a lot with making and working with triangles - something I avoided at almost all cost!

Then, since I was so close to finishing up the Academy, I bought the last one as well.  Quilter's Academy - Volume 4 - Senior Year. Who doesn't want to "finish" school?

The Senior year deals with things like making designs using 60 degree triangles and more complicated designs. And as always, they teach you how to figure it all out and design  your own quilts. There is a lot of information here that I have yet to really make my own - but I've got the books and can study at my leisure.


I wanted to get the whole series while it was available.  (They are all still available - and I've given you the links to make it easy for you to find them.)

Then I read somewhere on a forum that they were wrote  a "Master's Level" book - so I bought it as well. Quilter's Academy - Volume 5 - Master's Year. I've not absorbed all the information from it yet, either, but I did buy it and bring it back to Poland with me so I can gain from it as much as possible. It focuses on making Medallion quilts - something I've not done yet. It's not been out all that long.

I've also bought 2 Craftsy classes, but I've not actually watched them yet, so I can't lay claim to them helping me at this point in my quilting life.


I've spent time on the 'net looking at certain people's designs, trying to take them apart, deciding why I like or don't like them and trying to figure out my own style.  I've watched some youtube tutorials (esp MSQC), but I've not actually "learned as much" from them as I have the books referenced. I've enjoyed them tremendously, however, - as especially. MSQC does a good job with editing and keeping things moving. 

I've tried to watch various people's videos and many I cut off as they spent too much time advertising themselves and not enough time getting down to the pattern at hand. (I'd rather read than watch a video most of the time as I can read faster than most people "show".)

I'm still learning - there are many things I want to learn to do.  I want to learn to do more 3D stuff and Medallion quilts and....and.... I think you get the picture.

And now you know - possibly far more than you ever wanted to know about how I have learned what I've learned in this big adventure called "quilting."

While you are here, feel free to check out my sister's good deals for you in the fabric department. She still has all orders as $5 shipping. That's a good deal!

The links given may be affiliate links, meaning if you were to happen to buy a book following a link, I'd get a tiny bit of commission from it. :) Obviously the quilt shop isn't an affiliate link - though I  could wish they'd give me a gift certificate for mentioning them! --they don't - they probably have no idea I've even done it and may never know.