I am often asks what I would recommend as a first quilt project for someone who wants to jump into quilting but isn't sure where to start. There are so many good patterns out there, but patterns can often be unexpectedly complicated once you get into them, and there is nothing sadder than a sewer who feels they've suddenly gotten in over their head (can you tell i speak from experience here?).One *perfect* first quilt project that I always recommend is in Amy Karol's first book Bend the Rules. Now Ms. Chicken is my friend, its true, but I would still recommend this pattern even if I'd never met her. One of the reasons I enjoy making quilts is putting together color, pattern, and fabric, seeing how it all comes together. Amy's easy lap quilt (pictured above) is a perfect project for a first-time quilter. You get to play with the patterns, fabrics, and colors of your choice, she walks you through putting it together, the actual quilting is easy (just straight lines across the quilt), and you can try out your binding skills on a quilt of a manageable size. I've made this quilt 3 times, study quilts for each of my kids, and one for my mom. It comes together quickly (in "quilt time" that is), if I remember each of them were pieced in one day on my dining room table~ with interruptions. Add to that the amount of time needed to pick out your fabrics (the fun part!), make the quilt "sandwich", baste, then quilt (all explained in Amy's book), and you could have a quilt in a week or so. These types of projects can be as quick or as slow as you want them, but they do take a little time.
Another one I think is a great first quilt project is in what I consider my bible of quilting, Denyse Schmidt's book Quilts. The "Flock of Triangles" pattern (pictured above) is a great quilt for sewers who feel ready to tackle triangles (which aren't all that hard, so don't be afraid). Schmidt uses lots of solid fabrics in her quilts, but it would be fun to cut the triangles from a combination of prints and solids, play with placement and mix. And as with Amy's, this is straight line quilting. You don't need a "walking foot" as many quilt patterns call for (this foot has feed dogs that feed the top as well as the bottom of the fabric, and is usually purchased separately from your machine and is specifically for sewing layers like a quilt sandwich). Plus this book just gives good solid advice from someone whose life is all about beautiful quilts. Its the first quilt book I ever owned and it truly changed the way I sewed and convinced me I could make a quilt. Which we all can.
I realize these are both books, not just single patterns. I've always bought books instead of patterns, I'm a sucker for beautiful photography, a designer whose aesthetic I like illustrated in numerous projects, and honestly, its almost always more bang for the buck for me. Inevitably, one project leads to another and books are just more fun to flip through for me.
Look at it this way, you have plenty of time to make Christmas gifts if you start now.