Beginners · Creative · Music · Tips

Tips For Learning How To Play Guitar

All of us would want to learn something new once in a while. It could be just a hobby or, like my once-amateur quilting hobby, it could be something we work hard enough at to make an income. No matter what the case is (and in mine, it’s just a hobby), it will certainly not be perfected on the first try. 

One of the most common hobbies that people learn or at least take a stab at is playing musical instruments, and guitar is definitely one of the more popular choices. Learning guitar is not as hard as people may think, but it does take a lot of patience and practice. Are you considering learning how to play? Here are some helpful tips for a beginner. 

1. Pick a guitar

The first step is to have the instrument. Some borrow from their friends or family, but if you are really interested and want to invest in your own instrument, there can be many advantages to having your own. It will be up to you to decide if you want to start off with a cheaper model or purchase a more expensive one. Another thing to consider is what type of guitar you want. Will it be acoustic or electric? Most people start with acoustic guitar since it is larger and has thicker strings, therefore more challenging to play and better for first training your fingers. It’s often advisable for beginners to start with an acoustic guitar and then transition to electric guitar when you’re ready to learn more riffs and other advanced techniques.

2. Learn the chords

Some of us have our favorite bands and guitarists. We get inspired by the way they play, but do not let their high level of skill intimidate you. Even our favorite guitarist has to start somewhere. When learning how to play guitar, knowing and learning how to form and play chords is a good place to dive in. Start out slowly. The secret to having a good technique is proper placement of your fingers when forming chords, so it will better to start out slow and with proper technique than dealing with the consequences of rushing later on. A nice way to practice is to have some songs to play. It will help your fingers form strength with adjustment and transitions. There are some easier songs for beginners for you to start practicing on.

3. Do not avoid the difficult chords

Not all chords will be easy, even some of the basic ones. Remember that all chords are important and need to be played from time to time. This will be a nice reminder that learning guitar is not an easy process. There will surely more difficult moments once you get past learning the chords, but they will come to pass with just a little patience.

4. Practice

Whether the chords are easy or difficult, it is important to practice. Even skilled professionals need practice because it improves their skills and techniques. As a beginner, that will be also the case. You do not have to practice for full days at a time. Even just 10 to 30 minutes can be enough to refresh you. This will also help you develop good playing habits and you’ll get used to it before you know it.

5. Take a break

Of course, it is also important not to pressure yourself too much. Have a break and once in a while and either listen to music or watch videos to get inspiration. This will not only help to get your mind at ease, but it will be also a great way to keep your technique in check.

Practice makes perfect, but sometimes it is easier said than done. Always remember that to learn something new requires patience and determination. It will be over once you give up on it. So, always be prepared and you will be great before you know it. 

How To · Quilt Making · Tips

How To Give Quilting Fabrics a Worn Appearance

Fabrics with a worn appearance have been highly desired by consumers and fashionistas alike for over a decade now, and it doesn’t look like the trend is going away any time soon. When you’re in need of some worn fabrics for your next quilting project there are a number of approaches you can take. Today I’d like to discuss a few of my favorite techniques that I use in my own quilting projects.

It’s important to keep in mind that the amount of wear that you desire can vary greatly from project to project, so you’ll have to gauge this when you embark on your very own journey. Before I get on rambling, let’s jump into some of the better ways you can incorporate worn fabric into your quilting.

It May Seem Obvious, But…

If you have an assortment of heavily used clothing that you’ve been saving for a project of a future day, then this can be an absolute goldmine. Torn jeans, heavily worn flannels, and well-loved corduroys can be a great source of linens for your upcoming project. If you can’t come up with your own there are still a few options you can work with.

First, try reaching out to some of your friends who are also quilting hobbyists or professionals. They may have some worn fabrics on hand that they are willing to part with for a reasonable price – or, if you’re lucky, completely free. It’s always good to get help from a friend when you can, and this is why it’s important to always help others when they are in need as well.

If this turns up empty, your next best bet is to check out used clothing centers such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill. The benefit of these outlets is that you might have a better selection of fabrics to choose from. You’ll have to pay a bit of money which may seem annoying when compared to free fabrics, but it won’t be too bad.

What About Making Your Own?

There are any number of reasons why you might want to make your own pre-worn fabrics instead. By going this route you’ll have full control of the fabrics being used – including the materials, the thickness, the colors, the patterns, the whole nine yards. You’ll also have the peace of mind that the fabric you’re using will not have been worn by anyone else, which is almost a must if you’re selling the end product to someone else. You’ll have to pay significantly more in most cases, but most likely it’s going to be worth it.

The main thing you’ll need to do once you’ve chosen your fabrics is to simulate wear and tear. Conceptually you can think about the different ways that clothes would wear out simply from natural use.

One of the primary mechanisms of wear is actually a result of washing and drying the linens in washing and drying machines. You can start with this to get a very light wear, but to get a more aggressive wear it will take a lot of cycles. You’re better off taking more aggressive matters actions to speed up the process.

One great way of doing so is to make use of a pressure washer. This will simulate the conditions of a washing machine cycle, but can be made much more aggressive. To start, lay your fabric out on a firm and rough surface, such as concrete, and make sure that it is thoroughly anchored down. The pressure washer will be exerting a lot of force. Then, fill your pressure washer reservoir with a compatible detergent in similar strength as to what you would use in the washing machine. Then you can start spraying the fabric with the pressure washer and taking a look at the results you get. Start with a more gentle nozzle, and if you need more wear when you are done you can move up to the more aggressive nozzles. Don’t start out too strong because once the fabric has too much wear, you can’t go back. If you don’t have a pressure washer, it may be best to borrow one from a friend as they can be a bit pricey. If you want to buy one anyway, you can check out any number of websites to find the best electric power washer for the job.

Another option would be to get the fabric damp and tightly wrap it around a sports ball, such as a soccer ball or a basketball. Then you can bounce these off of similarly hard and rough surfaces until you get the desired amount of wear and tear. There are chemical techniques you can use as well, but if you can get the desired amount of wear and tear from physical techniques, it will result in a longer lasting product.

These are just a few of the ways you can get worn fabric for your next quilting job. Try them out and see how they work for you!

Creative · How To · Quilt Making

Tips on How to Quilt the Perfect Blanket for a Futon

If it is your first time trying to make a quilt, you may feel like the task is too tough for you. However, the truth is that with the right tools and guidance, it is one of the easiest and most satisfying tasks. When it is your first time, you want to start with a smaller project. For instance, instead of making the quilt for a bed, you can start with a smaller piece of furniture such as a futon. Here are some important guidelines which will help make the process easy for you.

Gather the appropriate materials

The success of your quilting job will depend on how well-prepared you are for it. You will need the following tools and materials for a successful quilting job:

· Fabric: Take time and choose a number of appropriate fabrics to mix and match and come up with the pattern you desire.

· Batting: This is the layer of insulation which you will insert between the fabrics so that the quilt can be warm. Select the batting fabric which will be warm and durable for your projects.

· Thread: when choosing an appropriate thread for your quilting work, it is important to remember that the higher the weight number, the thinner the thread. Choose the thickness whose stitches will last.

· Cutting tools: You will need a variety of tools for the cutting job. The most basic is the rotary cutter and scissors. If you want to keep your fabric scissors sharp, avoid cutting anything else with them.

· Quilting ruler: this is the item which will help you determine the shapes and sizes of the small patterns that will make the quilt. A small square ruler will be great for a beginner in quilting.

· Cutting mat: you will need one whenever you are using your rotary cutter. This will protect surfaces such as tables from getting cutting scratches.

· Sewing tools: some of the sewing tools that you will need for your quilting work include pins and clips and other materials that hold the fabrics together for cutting and sewing.

· Sewing machine or needles: these are going to be used for the joinery.

There are a variety of other smaller tools that will make your work easier, but if you have these basics with you, you can easily start the sewing.

Picking a pattern

Part of picking the pattern should be done before getting the fabric because the pattern you have in mind will determine what you buy. When starting out, you can go with simple patterns. For instance, simple cutout triangles will be ideal for a simple quilt pattern. Another shape that is common is half rectangles. In short, pick shapes that will not give you a hard time when it comes to the joinery.

Sewing the seams

After choosing a pattern, you will cut your fabric into the pieces which will make up the final pattern. When all the pieces are ready, the next natural step will be sewing together the seams. This is the most crucial part of the quilt making process because it determines whether your final designs will have puckers, wavy and unmatched bits or other weaknesses. Teach yourself how to make a straight stitch seam ahead of this process to make your work easier.

Basting the quilt

After you have sewn together the small patterns which will make the quilt, the next step in the process is basting the quilt. This step will stop the final product from bunching up or getting distorted. Th baste the quilt, you will need:

· The quilt fabric that you have already joined

· The batting

· A large flat area for the basting

The simplest way is to use fabric spray to hold all the pieces together as you sew.

Quilting

This is the final part of the process and fortunately, the simplest. With the fabric basted and joined together, you can go under the sewing machine and make whichever quilting pattern you want ranging from the simple straight pattern, zigzags to everything else that you can think of. Note that the thread which you will use for this part of the process should be a good contrast with the fabric so that the design can pop.

In those few steps, you will have an awesome new quilt for your futon. Contemporary futons provide exceptional comfort, but they are pieces of furniture that are excellent candidates for infusing your own style. A well-made quilt will not only keep the user warm when relaxing on their futon but also make a fashion and interior décor statement. Start with simple quilting patterns, and as time goes by, you can choose more complex patterns.

Creative · Fun · How To · Quilt Making · Tips

Quilting Under The Stars

If you’ve been sewing for a long time, chances are you’ve amassed a fairly large stockpile of scrap material. Even more likely, you hang on to every last piece of scrap in the off chance that you’ll find a use for it. Fearing that you’re the next face of a Hoarders episode, you begin to formulate uses for some of the surplus. The moment has arrived. You decide to use what you can on the Quilting Under the Stars pattern. It’s a solid choice.

The materials you’ll need for an 80 x 86-inch, roughly a queen-size, quilt are as follows:

  • 126 — 5-inch squares
  • 40 — 2 ½ x 44-inch strips
  • 2 ¾ yards of background and inner border fabric
  • 1 ½ yards of outer border fabric

Nothing to it. Once you’ve gathered your color-coordinated pieces, it’s just a matter of cutting, piecing, and sewing them together. Yes, all of them.

It’s best to pre-cut the sizes you need all at once, and then you’re ready to begin assembly:

  • 126 – 5-inch squares
  • 40 — 2 ½ x 44-inch squares become 320 – 2 ½ x 5-inch rectangles
  • Out of the 2 ½ yards of background, cut the following:
  • 2 ½-inch square block = 110 total squares
  • 1 ½-inch square block = 880 total squares
  • 1 1/2 yards of outer border fabric

While this pattern is intended for the purpose of cleaning up some of your scrap, there’s another aspect you might consider. That’s right, buying more material, perhaps precut pieces that already match.

It’s actually a pretty straight forward pattern that takes a little thought and planning, but you also have a great deal of leeway for artistic license in the color and material department. It’s an intermediate, or very confident beginner, level pattern. Perhaps next time you’re sitting  by a warm, open fire, looking up at the clear starry sky, you’ll be quilting your “under the stars” pattern.

The key is to organize all of the precuts into individual groups, so that when you begin sewing, you can run through the quick stitches and ironing in an assembly-line manner. This is a pattern that you can do while you’re watching television; however, you do need to devote some attention to fit and measurement. Since this is a pattern focused on stars, it’s important to make sure that they line up as they should.

This type of design lends itself nicely to batik fabric prints. The colors in batiks are so vibrant that the star cut in a coordinating color really stands out and clearly defines the pattern. This design seamlessly lends itself to a variety of decorating styles. It all depends on the fabrics you choose, but it can work just as well in a modern setting as it does in one that’s traditional or country.

Beginners · How To · Quilt Making · Tips

101: The Making of Patch Quilts

Patch quilt is known for its traditional way of telling a particular life story that is sewn together with other types of fabrics and form it as an object. This is an essential kind of material because it is attached to personal values and beliefs. That is why, if you belong to a family of quilt makers, then it’s time for you to start thinking what kind of story would you like to sew for your future children to learn about you.

Design

The design is usually geometric and imaginative. Patchwork is created depending on the kind of message that you’d like to tell and this needs ample time to finish the patch quilt.

Layering

Usually, a patch quilt comprises of three layers, and these are the patchwork quilt top, wadding, backing material. These sheets are stitched together either through a machine or by hand and form a quilt. The quilting process would depend on how you want things to be done. If you plan to have it patterned would be a great idea to make the patch quilt presentable.

Making a patch quilt isn’t that hard to achieve as long as you have all the necessary materials needed for the particular project. To make sure that you have gathered all materials, here are the following things that you need to make patch quilts.

A cutting knife
Rotary knife
Batting (this is a filling that goes in the quilt)
Scissors
Pins and safety pins
Needle and thread
Sewing machine
Pattern- this can either be inspired by a design that you like, or you want to follow the traditional pattern.

Procedure

1. Decide a design- it is crucial that you have a plan to follow through. In this way, you will know what type of fabrics and threads you’re going to use. As soon as you have the design, start dividing the pieces of fabrics into 15 to 30cm squares. This is called “blocks” that are made up of smaller parts. Keep in mind, working with each block is manageable compared to doing the entire quilt.

2. Washing and ironing the fabric is necessary and then cut it according to the paper templates that you have prepared. Make sure that you allow at least 6mm of extra space per square for your seaming time. After you have cut everything, lay it on the floor and check for the patterns.

3. Start sewing. Gather two pieces first and then sew it in a running stitch style. Sew together the pieces up one side.

4. Sew together the rest of the pieces and make sure that you have formed one block which means forming it into a square. Once it’s done, sew it again to the pattern of the quilt. Do not forget to iron to form the seams.

5. Batting should do after you have stitched the first top layer. The batting should be of the same size as to what you have started. Choose the color of the thread, and if you want uniformity, you can do the option of using the same colors.

6. to add a finished look, the binding should be polished neatly, and seams are protected.

After you have done everything, simply iron it again and fold as to how you want it to be presented.