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The Geese Crossing Quilt Block

The Joy of Frugal Quilting

What is Frugal Quilting?

When I was a little girl, I slept under a quilt my grandmother made out of my old dresses.  That was a very frugal quilt. There are other ways to make quilting frugal.  Quilting can be an expensive hobby, or it can be done in a very economical way.

You don't have to invest in a multitude of quilting tools or patterns.  It takes only a handful to tools to start quilting.  Specials rulers and other quilting papers and gadgets come in handy, but are not necessary.

If you go a long time without using special quilting rulers, you forget how to use them.  Then you have to spend your time learning how to use them again. At best it is a quick review.  At worst, you've lost the instructions and can't remember how to use the rulers and gadgets.

You don't need patterns to quilt.  Once you learn the basics of quilting, you will have more fun making your own blocks and putting them together in your own unique way.  (If you do want to use a pattern, look for free patterns on the Internet or in old magazines).

This website will teach you what I call simple measurements.  Once you learn this concept, it will be very easy to make blocks that all fit together. The key is to learn about grids.

This website is dedicated to teaching how to save money quilting and how to be a frugal quilter.


Quilting Tips



Building a Stash

If you are a beginning quilter go slow when building your fabric collection (stash). As your skill level improves you may want to quilt with fabric that is more expensive and has a higher thread count. Your fabric should be similar on the same quilt. You do not want to blend the thread counts.


Machine Quilting

Choose backing for your quilting projects that has a pattern you can quilt from the back.  Some designs have repetitive lines that you can easily follow if you quilt your project on the backing side. These are "choice fabrics" and are an excellent addition to a stash!


Large scale fabric design

  Here is an example of a fabric with a good quilting pattern. Note both the flower and swirly lines that you can follow when you quilt with your sewing machine.. Large prints often work well for machine quilting.


Recycling Tips

Recycle Symbol  


Empty Soft Pick Cases

Use Soft Pics? What do you do with the empty cases?  Those small little cases work well for safely disposing of old needles and pins.


Empty Fabric Bolts

Empty cardboard fabric bolts make useable portable ironing boards.  Wrap a towel around the bolt and secure it with a safety pin. Carry it with you for sewing away from home.  Large empty drapery bolts are useful for seasonal storage of tablecloths.


"Unfortunate" Fabric

Become the "not so proud" owner of some fabric you do not like?  If you don't want to give it away, tear it into strips and stuff something.  If there is a lot of it, or more to add to it, crochet a rag rug. Put it in the garage, if need be.


Display Tables

Make a small seasonal table runner for an area near the entry of your home.  Add a few seasonal decorations.  Change with each season.  See the Display Tables and Seasonal Decorating article on Frugal Happy Families.



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  Quilting and Design Boards

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Pre-cut Quilt Squares

sewing toolsMany beginning quilters like to buy quilt pre-cut quilt squares. While it is convenient, be aware you will need a lot of them. Here is approx how many 4-inch squares you need for the following size quilts without borders.















Pictures in the Gallery

Ocean Theme Photo Quilt

Ocean Theme Photo Quilt



Star Wars Photo Quilt

Star Wars Photo Quilt


How to Make Quilting a Frugal Hobby

1. Fabric selection. Fabric can cost over $20 a yard, or it can be purchased for under $4.00 a yard. The trick is finding fabric that is of good quality for a lower price. Quilters love to shop for fabric.  When they plan a trip, they always check out the local quilt stores.  I have spent years going to all the quilt shops in my area buying fabric at half price.   Unfortunately, I shop faster than I quilt.

I don't buy all my fabric at quilt shops.  You can find good 100% cotton at fabric and craft stores.  What you are looking for is fabric with a good thread count, and a good finish on the fabric. It can be tricky, because some manufacturers put a lot of sizing and other chemicals on the fabric to make it appear more substantial.  Your quilt will only be as strong , or last as long as the weakest fibers in your quilt.

Some fabrics have a very high thread count.  Other fabrics, while of good quality, are thinner.  Generally speaking, you do not want to mix them in the same quilt.  If fabrics look and feel noticeably different, I would not put them in the same quilt.2. Save every scrap of fabric that you have. You may not think you have a use for small leftover pieces of fabric, but things change and you will evolve as a quilter. You may want to do some appliqué down the road, make doll quilts or clothing, make some tiny blocks for various reasons,  do some paper piecing or use them to make interesting borders.

2 You don't have to organize your leftovers. Just throw them in a box box. Depending on how you decide to use them, you can organize them later.  Just save them.

3. Make scrappy quilts. A scrappy quilt is one that uses a variety of fabrics, as opposed to a very structured set of fabrics. This helps you make use of all the fabric that you have purchased, including scraps from other projects.  Also, when you go shopping, you can just purchase small quantities of that which you like. Most quilters like to get like a little bit of everything they like.

4. Make larger blocks. Block size is important in frugal quilting.   You waste more fabric when you make small blocks.  Making large blocks makes the piecing process go very quickly.

No matter how carefully you cut and sew, sometimes pieces won't match up perfectly. Fabric stretches, even on the grain. When you make larger blocks, you have more room if you have to pull a little to make the blocks fit together. When you are working with tiny blocks, there is no room for error.

5. Piece beginning quilt blocks.  Beginning blocks can be just as beautiful as blocks that are more difficult to make. You will make fewer mistakes with easy to make quilt blocks.  Mistakes waste time, and sometimes fabric. Frugal quilters do not take a year to make a quilt. Frugal quilting is making a quilt in a reasonable amount of time.  It is making quilts that will be used, which are referred to as utility quilts.

If you want to make an heirloom quilt, it can take over a year and a lot of your time. In that case you will want to use the finest fabric you can afford.

6. Creativity over expense.  Frugal quilting is using more creativity with your own designs than following technically challenging and expensive patterns.  Not only are patterns costly, but the design can be so structured that the slightest mistake ruins the appearance of the quilt.

Learning about quilting grids, and designing your own patterns using frugal and easy blocks to make your own unique and interesting quilt is more creative and saves money.

7. Avoid unnecessary paper aids. You can use quick piecing methods, but they are the easy ones, and they don't require special rulers, or extra papers that cost money that  must be removed when you are done sewing.

8. Don't waste time.  Time is a consideration for everyone. Frugal quilts should be not only easy to piece, but also easy to either tie or machine quilt.

9.  Use simple measurements.  Last, but not least, frugal quilting is using what I call simple measurements. This will be explained with each of the block instructions.  If you make most of your blocks in standard sizes, you can put aside blocks you decide not to use on a current project and use at a later time.  Or, if you are in the mood to piece a particular block, like the flying geese, you can make a bunch of them and just set them aside.  They not only will give you a jump start on your next project, but they can inspire your design.

These are just a few rules to follow. On the pages of this website I will be showing how to make the basic building blocks of quilting, as well as other frugal favorite quilt blocks.  You will learn how you can these blocks and alter them to make your own design.  The pages will include links to previous or relative information. The piecing of the quilting blocks will be explained step-by-step as clearly as possible.  Be sure you understand the beginning blocks before moving forward. Remember, some of the  most beautiful and well-loved quilts are made from simple squares.  Some of my favorite quilts are made with squares alternating with a pieced block. 




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