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Thread: Newbie feeling very stupid

  1. #1
    missmabeliowa's Avatar
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    I must have close to 50 books and not one of them tell me what I want to know. Every quilt pattern is preplanned or says "after cutting the strips, sew together..."
    THAT'S what I want to know, how do I figure out how many strips of each color do I cut to get the desired number of sets to cut into segments to cut and sew together to get the number of needed blocks? Is there a book out there somewhere that EXPLAINS how to do calculations?

    My dh gave me the gift of a fab calculator, and together we still come out wrong and I end up having to go back to cutting every time.

    I know how to figure out the pattern, the number of patches and yardage I need for each fabric in the pattern. Then I'm lost.

    Because my sewing space is so limited in my small home, I must get everything cut and in place, take down my craft table and those supplies in order to set up to sew. It is so frustrating when I come up with wrong answers and have to take the sewing back down, set cutting back up, take down, so repetitive. It would be nice if I had an explanation in detail of how to come up with this answer???

    Please don't tell me to just follow the pattern in the book because they are always in sizes that don't apply to my circumstances.There must be some simple equation, but maybe I'm just too dense to see the obvious. HELP PLEASE!!!

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    Mabel, this still happens to me occasionally, after 20 years. However, this is why I took algebra and geometry. I'm gathering you need help because you are changing the size of the quilt from the book/instructions? Then, you need to figure the total number of blocks you will be using. Then, figure the size of each piece in the block by color. So if you need a 4x4 finished size you will need to cut a 4-1/2x4-1/2 piece for that block. Times, for example, 20 for the total number of blocks. You need 20-4-1/2x4-1/2 pieces. From a 40" strip (without selvedge, averaging) you can get 8 pieces (and rounding up for fudge factor). that means you need 3 strips of that color--really 3-1/2 strips but hey! Is this any help?

  3. #3
    Super Member featherweight's Avatar
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    I hate to say this but, the pattern should help you with your problem. Can't you sew the ones you have cut and then cut some more to complete more blocks, lay them out on a bed or someplace and then see how many more you will need to get your desired size???

  4. #4
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Hi Mabel, welcome to the board!
    I can't answer your question specifically but I find a lot of books useless as well.
    I'm a visual learner and depend on Missouri Star Quilt Company videos (fantastic) and Youtube, along with fellow quilters, classes etc.
    Not much help for you but a big WELCOME!! I need to tell my cat,Mabel, that I now know another Mabel LOL :D:D

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rachel's Avatar
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    NYCQuilter said it correctly. Not a real formula, just figure out how big the cut pieces need to be, then find out how many of that size piece you need and how many you can get out of a 40 - 42" strip of fabric. clear as mud???

  6. #6
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    I'm the same way....I need to SEE it to understand it...and the Missouri Start Quilt Company as lots of great videos.

    Also on this site, go to the links and resources to see tutorials. Watch some of them...I think just listening to the language they use and the things they do will help you to understand how to calculate better.

    I hardly ever use patterns for anything I make - I get out the pencil and paper and diagram it myself - adding in the size of my unfinished squares + the size of my sashing + the size of my borders = my total. I do that for the width and then I do that for the length...and then I tell myself that a yard of fabric is 35" x 40" (rounding numbers for easy division)...and go from there.

  7. #7
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    I figure how many pieces I can get across the width of the fabric (WOF) (ex. - need 4.5" squares = divide useable WOF -measurement minus selvages - by the 4.5 to find how many squares you can get from one WOF strip), then divide the number of squares I need by that number to get the number of strips to cut. In my example, having 41" useable in the WOF I can get 9 4 1/2" squares in each strip. If I need 60 squares of that particular fabric, divide 60 by 9, so I would need to cut 7 strips to get the needed amount. Hope this is clear, I think we all figure a little differently. A suggestion - could you put your cutting mat on your ironing board if you need to cut an additional amount?

  8. #8
    Senior Member GrammaO's Avatar
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    There is a book called Patchwork without the Mathwork that I found very helpful. I took geometry and algebra both and the math and angles I need for quilting still have me stumped half the time. Have you tried drawing it out on graph paper? Maybe the visual aid would be helpful.

  9. #9
    Cyn
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    Super Member Cyn's Avatar
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    Welcome!

  10. #10
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    Definitely no need to feel stupid. I'm a self taught quilter and didn't really have any resources (books, videos, etc), other than trial and error.

    I would have killed for the wealth of resources (wisdom, knowledge, skill) that is available out on this site.

    Just ask, most are more than willing to help. And there are always a variety of ways to do a process...so just read and listen to the different styles and then pick the one that makes most sense to you.

    I've changed my style over time...things that I use to do one way, I know do another way, only because I feel like I'm a little more advanced than I was when I first started.

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