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Quilt Pattern Skill Levels

Every quilt pattern has a label on it telling you how advanced it is to work through. But what do those quilt pattern skill levels really mean? If you're like I was several years ago, you either completely undervalued your own skills or you dove into something way too hard thinking you could swing it. Here's my guide of what it really means to be a Beginner, Confident Beginner, Intermediate Quilter or Advanced Quilter. I'm including definitions for actual skill levels but also moods because I know that's so integral into how we create.

Beginner

Skill: This is for the quilter who has made less than a handful of quilts. If you're somehow stumbling upon my blog to learn if quilting is for you, you're probably a Beginner. Same for if you've made a quilt or two but still have some wobbliness in your work. If you've made more than a handful of quilts and think you're not good enough at it, shush a bit and realize the next category is for you.

Mood: You've been quilting a while, and this is a good level to perfect different techniques or to blow mindlessly through a project. You either need to just get it done or you're looking for your sewjo. This is also a great place to pick out that pattern for Jan from HR's new baby that you couldn't get out of making.

The Holland Quilt pattern is a great skill builder quilt for beginners. This is really great for perfecting your four-at-a-time flying geese blocks.

Confident Beginner

Skill: You've made more than a handful of quilts by this time, but you still rely pretty heavily on the directions and images in patterns. You're not baby, but you're not quite ready to take off the training wheels. It's my experience that people should jump to this level sooner than they do. Trust me, you're probably ready.

Mood: Another great place to perfect skills if you're a more advanced quilter. Maybe you're starting to look at patterns less for what they are and more for what you could make them out to be. This is the pattern level where an aspiring designer will start to freestyle on some of the design and construction techniques to see how much of yourself you can inject into this project.

The Sawtooth Splendor quilt pattern builds on your flying geese technique and creates an amazing secondary design.

Intermediate Quilter

Skill: You haven't quite mastered some of your quilting techniques, but you're inferring instructions more than you're relying on them. The pieces and techniques here might also start introducing shapes you haven't used yet. As an intermediate quilter, you're learning to be proud of your craft and are excited for what's next.

Mood: As a beginner, you might move here when the mood strikes you. You've made a few quilts, but you'd like to see what you could do with more interesting patterns and designs. As a more advanced quilter, this might be a great pattern to play around with color while still being a little challenged by the actual construction.

Suprise! My next pattern, Midnight in the Garden, is an intermediate pattern. It's a 36" x 36" wall hanging and is super scrap friendly. This is an exclusive pattern for students in my free-motion quilting program, From Whole Cloth. This is an intermediate pattern because I'm really counting on you to be able to set your own fabric requirements based on how scrappy you want it to be. However, if you're looking for something a little easier to manage, I do have some instructions on how to make the quilt from yardage. I hope you like it.

Advanced Quilter

Skill: There is no stopping you, you fancy quilter. You revel in the challenge of advanced techniques or color placement. The pattern is challenging enough that you have to rely on the directions and probably label pieces, blocks, and columns as you go. You are going to be so freaking proud when this quilt is done!

Mood: "I'm not here for a good time. I'm here for a long time." I know I got the phrase backwards, but I really gravitate to these more advanced patterns when I'm willing to work in smaller time blocks over a longer period of time. These are the quilts that make me dread when people ask how long it takes to make a quilt. My general answer is "anywhere from 8 hours to 10 years"! These are the projects that sit on my WIP list for a good long while, and I love having them to revisit when I'm ready for a more challenging sewing session.

I hope you feel more confident in selecting your next project after learning about these quilt pattern skill levels. As always, ask your questions in the comments. I love hearing from you!

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