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Thread: Is it possible to "ruin" a quilt on your first try?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Is it possible to "ruin" a quilt on your first try?

    I have an awesome vintage quilt top, got it sandwiched with batting and backing fabric. I decided not to try and match the mystery fabric that was holding the pieces together. Instead I got a small print cotton and used it for the backing. A while back I found an enormous, old, wooden hoop that I thought was for embroidery, but now I think I'm going to use it for quilting. I've decided to try hand quilting around the pattern on the top using that huge wooden hoop.

    I'm scared I'm going to ruin the whole thing w/ crappy first time work.

    Any words of wisdom?

  2. #2
    Senior Member lindy-2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    take your time dont rush into it and if your realy woryed about the quality off your work you could make a small quilt up to practice on so you arent practicing on the vintage one.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CindyBee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    You don't tell us your level of experience, but the tone of your post leads me to believe you have little experience. IMHO, I think a vintage top deserves a nice finish by an experienced quilter. Why not put it away until you gain the experience and know that you are ready? I think you will be much more satisfied.

  4. #4
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
    put together a small scrap (sandwich) and do some practicing before you start stitching on the 'real-thing' when you are comfortable with your stitches and the technique--it is time to move forward to the real quilt-
    but really- if you don't like what you do you just have to take it out (which can be quite a time consuming pain-but is 'do-able)
    so best advice- do some practicing first.
    and it sounds as if the hoop you found is a quilt hoop- they look like embroidery hoops with wider/larger bands.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy
    Colleen's custom quilting; longarm services and custom quilt commissions.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I also am new to quilting and have jumped in feet first. However, if you have never quilted I agree with the other advise to try something smaller and less important and practice. I have a lot of sewing experience and other crafty stuff as well. But I can honestly say that the way things flow now compared to the way they did the first day I picked up a quilt fabric is amazing. In the beginning everything felt foreign and out of place, from the thread to matching squares. I had tons of questions and the wonderful people on this board were always eager to give advise suggestions and guidance. Practice on something else and get more comfortable. Even if you don't want to go through the steps of quilting one from scratch buy a small piece of the fabric already quilted and practice with it.

    Have fun and enjoy it

  6. #6
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Southern California
    You cannot RUIN a quilt I think. But it is a matter of how you feel about your work I guess. But I agree with trying a sampler first to see how you like quilting both by hand or machine. I am working on my first totally hand quilted quilt right now. I find it interesting to see how my stitching has improved from the middle squares that were done first and the later ones with more experience under my thimble. Still not something to write home about, but will be a memory for me.

    Depending on the pattern and how you want to quilt the top, I say go for it and do your best.

  7. #7
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Central NJ
    When I first started hand quilting I was certainly not experienced in quilting specifically but I was an experienced hand crafter (needlepoint; embroidery; cross stitch, etc.) I jumped in feet first and don't regret it. I wasn't, however, working on a vintage pieced. I would agree with others to put together a practice sandwich and get a feel for it. Get to the point where your stitches are consistent - they don't need to be tiny, just consistent. Then move on to your vintage top. I think you'll be happier in long run.

  8. #8
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Why would your hand quilting ruin your quilt? There are ladies on this board who have removed all the machine quilting from a quilt to start over. They call it "skinning" a quilt. Try a little project first to get the motion down and then start quilting your treasure.

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    North Texas
    Try a small project first to get the hang of hand quilting then move on to your vintage quilt. The more you hand quilt the better you become.


  10. #10
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Western Wisconsin
    Blog Entries
    How big is this hoop? Usually the biggest hoop you want is a max of 18 inches or so across. Larger than that, and it becomes difficult to reach. Ideal size is usually in the 12 to 14-inch range.

    Is it a round hoop or an oval hoop? If it's oval, it was designed for hand embroidery and may not provide the best tensioning for a quilt. Quilting hoops are round or (in the case of Grace hoops) squarish.

    Is it a floor stand hoop? Lap hoop? Or one that requires you to juggle the hoop as you stitch? The latter requires more expertise.

    Especially with an old hoop, I would want to experiment hooping a muslin quilt sandwich in it to make sure that no discoloration transfers from the wood to the quilt.

    Have you ever used a hoop before? It does require practice to get comfortable. A common newbie mistake is to make the quilt drum tight in the hoop when actually a lot of slack in the middle is required to allow manipulation of the sandwich onto and off of the needle. Also, it's a good idea to remove the hoop, or at least loosen it substantially, in-between quilting sessions so the fabric does not get stretched out of shape.

    Can you hand quilt another, smaller quilt first to make sure this is going to work for you?

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