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Thread: Quality of Tools

  1. #11
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I would never suggest beginner quilters buy poor quality fabric and thread to make their first quilts but I would tell them to buy the quality fabric and thread at sale prices. A top of the line machine will not sew a better quality quilt. I think any new student of any art or hobby has the mindset of using less quality tools to start with. Of course a paid teacher will say the less quality tools are fine if that means keeping a paying student. A quality tool will last and perform the job it's suppose to, it doesn't have to be the most expensive. Unless a tool is disposable, buying the low quality is just guaranteed frustration. Even young children know how much better Crayon brand crayons color better then the waxy cheap ones.
    Got fabric?

  2. #12
    Senior Member Weezy Rider's Avatar
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    You don't always need the best, but you do need accurate. I've had machines with lousy feed dogs and wondered why i couldn't sew straight. Some rotary tools could also be off. I'd say buy something from a shop or outlet that has a decent return policy. If it's a large expense - test it first. Don't buy from a friend's recommendation unless you have played with that friend's machine first and you like it. There is also nothing wrong with a second or refurb that comes with a warranty.
    I learned to do applique, cutwork and some heirloom on a zigzag machine. Takes more patience, but can be done.
    I've seen ladies buy a TOL sewing machine with fantastic capabilities, only to just embroider. A six needle was in the same price range. A TOL doesn't always suit everyone's needs although sales people think so.

  3. #13
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I read your post last night and again this morning and I'm still not 100% sure what your specific point is, but now that I'm reading it for a 3rd time, and have read your second post, I'm totally confused. However, I do have a comment.
    I make a distinction between 'supplies' and 'tools'. Supplies are used up, good quality tools will last forever with proper maintenance. They are an investment. Good quality tools will enable those with less experience to achieve good results while developing their skills, even while using less than Artist Level materials. In the art classes that I took, instuctors guided us towards paper, canvas and paint that was maybe student quality. Brushes, however, were not to be skimped on.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  4. #14
    Super Member LyndaOH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaperPrincess View Post
    I read your post last night and again this morning and I'm still not 100% sure what your specific point is, but now that I'm reading it for a 3rd time, and have read your second post, I'm totally confused.
    I have to agree! And I wasn't offended by your post at all and didn't think any of the responses reflected anyone else feeling offended. Discussion is good! Hobbyists are good! Quilt artists are good! Quilting is good!

  5. #15
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    My point was that in my art school we were taught to learn on oils that were popular priced, popular brands, student quality - hand ground pigments, hand mixed being about 4 times that cost and at our skill level you could not tell the difference in the oil paint. When you can charge $30,000 and up for a portrait you can tell the difference in the quality of paint because of the skill in using it. A student doesn't need a $40 brush when a $10-15 brush will work fine. A $5 brush is disposable after a few weeks. A pre-stretched cotton canvas bought at Hobby Lobby will work for a student. A professional needs linen canvas stretched on hard wood, custom stretched. Both cotton and linen are stretched with the same tools. A studio easel can be purchased for $100 or $1000. Usually a student doesn't invest in the higher priced easel. An artist has special lights to control the color spectrum in his studio, etc.

    In quilting, some of us tell a beginner to buy the best sewing machine they can afford, some say just get a good one that sews dependably. Some of us tell a beginner that you can buy fabric at yard sales, use cotton clothes, etc. or purchase at the chain stores like Walmart or Joann's. Other's want to buy only the best that the LQS sell. My point was we didn't give consistent professional advice like other art professions did. I equated fabric arts with painting, sculpture, silversmithing, etc. That was my mistake. Obviously, most of the women equate quilting with a hobby - not with what they do, but with what they are, what they deserve in equipment, what they can afford in equipment. They compare their equipment to their husband's fishing equipment, not the tools of a painter or a silversmith. Therefore, they don't judge their output against other artists, but against their personal satisfaction. I was wrong in my assumptions and my questions turned out to be spurious.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    I take back what I said because I see that none of you consider yourselves fabric artists. I had mistakenly thought from many other threads that most quilters thought of themselves as making fabric art. I was confusing oranges for apples.I appologize for obviously offending you.
    I don't think anyone was offended. I think a lot of us consider ourselves as hobbyists and artists and always passionate as you can tell by the responses. We each have our own little quirks regarding Machine/Fabric/Thread/Wash - don't wash/etc. Have someone ask what is the best machine you can get for $300 and you will have 50 answers immediately.

    I don't think that any of us started this passion/hobby/art expecting it to take us over the way it normally does. What ever you can afford and feel comfortable with tool and goods wise is what we do. Will a $5,000 machine make me sew a 1/4" seam any better - NO. I might end up with a $2,000 machine vs a $200 machine but not because it will make me sew better, but maybe because it will do other things that I think I want to do and maybe be easier for me to use. The great thing about quilting is that I seldom (won't say never because there are a few out there) see anyone being a machine/fabric/gadget Snob - we are mostly just looking at everyone's finished project and saying how beautiful - love the colors - I want to do that.

  7. #17
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    I have never understood this idea of "best you can afford" It has been my opinion that the only things that might be "good", "better", "best" are fabric (certainly difference in quality), scissors (some cut better than others) and straight pins (some are sharper than others). So exactly what should one look for in selecting the "best you can afford"?

  8. #18
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    I find it hard to identify myself an an art quilter. Others who see and have bought my work hang that label on me. I see the work I produce as who I am, its what makes me....me. I dont class my fabrics etc as being top quality, poor quality etc I define my fabrics by what I can do with them or what the fabric "tells" me it was meant for. If a certain fabric is a buck a yard and poor quality but would be perfect for a certain element of an art quilt I grab it, if the fabric is 20.00 a yard and is perfect I grab it. I dont care how much something costs, to me its what I can turn it into that counts.
    Quilt outside of the box!

  9. #19
    Junior Member judys's Avatar
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    You didn't offend me. I read this each day and value the opinions of all the posters. We each have our own opinions on what is art, what is a hobby, what is an obsession. The great thing about this forum is that we can each voice our own opinion. My sewing/quilting has changed much in the last 50 years. It has all depended on my life situation at the time. We are all individuals and are here to support and encourage each other. Thanks for your comments. They make us think!
    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    I take back what I said because I see that none of you consider yourselves fabric artists. I had mistakenly thought from many other threads that most quilters thought of themselves as making fabric art. I was confusing oranges for apples.I appologize for obviously offending you.

  10. #20
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have taken several art classes, beginner watercolor and several oil. Not one instructor said not to use the best quality paints or canvas because it didn't matter for a beginner. Some ordered from an artist catalog some went to Hobby Lobby. The work done with the best paints and canvas looked better then the work done with the less quality even if the art itself was rather bad. LOL. Nothing compares to the best quality of anything from food to life.
    Got fabric?

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