I thought I would dedicate a post to all the wonderful information on patchwork and quilting on the internet that has helped me to learn what I know about it. So if you want to learn how to construct quilt blocks and make quilts this post could be a place to start.
I learned how to make a quilt from start to finish (all the basic principles, including how to add the batting and backing, and how to bind a quilt) from the Ollalieberry Ice Cream Quilt pattern by Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy. When you are a total beginner and you want to make a really fun quilt, I highly recommend this pattern. I learned tricks like assembly line sewing from this pattern and everything is explained step by step, with photos and all.
The Ollalieberry Ice Cream Quilt I made for Damaris
I started making individual quilt blocks following the tutorials on the Modify Tradition blog. The blocks are classic (traditional) but executed in modern fabrics, and everything is explained in detail. If you are a total beginner, I recommend you start with the nine-patch block and work your way from the oldest to the newest post on the blog. I still remember how I was sweating when I made that first nine-patch, because I wanted everything to line up perfectly. As you know practice makes perfect, so I guess perfection (or almost) came later. I did enjoy all those tutorials, and use them often for bees and such.
A ton of information and practice can be found in quilt alongs too. The first quilt along that I joined (and actually finished too) was the Pinwheel Sampler Quilt Along (scroll down to the second header on this page) by Rachel of PS I quilt. All there is to know about half square triangles is there, and Rachel explains it all very well.
The pinwheel sampler I made for Emil in the basting stage
There are so many quilt alongs all the time. You can find them on Flickr, via google, blogs (once you get into this, you'll know) Just join in and you'll find information and a community to share your experiences. Flickr has many groups to share photos of what you make and even exchange actual work, like in quilting bees. This group is the place to start if you want to find a bee.
After you tackle blocks from those tutorials above you are ready to explore the massive amount of block patterns all over the internet. A great place to find them is Quilt Block Galore on Quilter's Cache. Not all of them are explained in detail (most are), but by now you will have the knowledge to make blocks just by looking at them. A lot of the information is free of charge, wonderful! But sometimes it is not a bad idea to pay some money to get more in depth knowledge, for instance from books, patterns, and online classes (like the Curves Class by Rachel of Stitched in Color, I learned some great skills there).
My most recent bee block (a Hawaiian surfboard for Tamiko) that I couldn't have made without my Curves Class skills
If you follow these steps and get as excited about quilting as I did, you will start to follow your own path and who knows what you'll make, and do, and design! Have fun!!!
I'm still learning, as everybody is; you never know enough (and certainly not me). A new, and very interesting, quilt along has started. The Value-Added Quilt Along with lots of information about the value (relative lightness/darkness) of color in quilts. Again traditional (and even technical) principles applied to modern quilting. I'm excited to see where that information will lead me.
A look at the fabrics of Chicipee in black and white to learn more about the value of these fabrics