Keepsake quilting is one of the most popular reasons people begin to learn the craft. Maybe a daughter is getting married, or a first grandchild is on the way. Both wedding and births are popular occasions to give a keepsake quilt. But where do you start if you are new to quilting all together?

There are plenty of sources to help beginners get into keepsake quilting. Check the books in your local library. Another great source is the Internet. Look for quilting clubs that offer quilting demonstrations online for a little extra help.

Perhaps the easiest way to start your keepsake quilting project is to select the design or pattern you want to use. The “Double Wedding Ring” pattern is popular for weddings and anniversaries. Simple patchwork quilts are easy to make for babies. Other popular keepsake quilts for babies and children are “Sunbonnet Sue” and “Overall Sam” designs.

If you are making your first quilt, you might not be aware of level of difficulty of the patterns you are searching through. Don’t worry about it. You will be happier with the results if you complete the quilt of your choice than if you settled for something strictly of beginner status.

Once you have selected your keepsake quilting pattern, you will need to select fabrics. If you don’t have a color scheme in mind, ask for some help at your local fabric store. Take the pattern with you and ask a sales clerk for help. If you are shopping in a fabric department from a large retail chain, keep in mind that all clerks might not have the same knowledge of fabrics.

Don’t forget the necessary notions, too. You will need thread for piecing your keepsake quilt and thread for quilting the project. Your project will also require batting – which comes in various thicknesses.

If you don’t already have a good pair of scissors to use for cutting fabric, make sure you invest in those. You might choose to use a rotary cutter for your keepsake quilting project. Regardless, it is still important to have a good pair of scissors as part of your quilting gear.

Perhaps you have some quilting experience, but want to make a truly unique keepsake quilt. There are several ways to achieve that. Try a t-shirt quilt. Use favorite old t-shirts to make a quilt that will be a fun way to recall favorite memories for years to come.

If you are making a wedding keepsake quilt, incorporate fabrics and laces from the dress into the quilt. Pieces snipped from the flower girl’s sash, ribbon from the bouquest and color swatches that match the wedding colors would be nice pieces to work into your keepsake wedding quilt.

Photo quilts make great keepsake quilts for children on their way to college or leaving for a job out on their own for the first time. There are plenty of ways to transfer photos to fabrics, and many will last years without much fading. Read up on various techniques and decide which is best for your keepsake quilting project. Digital direct to garment printing offers one option. Since the technology is fairly new, finding a digital printer might be difficult and the process a little more costly than doing the photo as a transfer yourself. But the long-lasting results make the process worth considering.

The important thing to remember when making a keepsake quilt is not to worry or stress over minor imperfections. Focus, instead, on the memories your project will capture. The recipient of your keepsake quilt will be proud to receive your labor of love!


Penny Halgren Penny is a quilter of more than 26 years who seeks to interest new quilters and provide them with the resources necessary to create beautiful family heirloom quilts.

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Photo Credit: Ronnie B.

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