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Thread: Hello from the Carolinas

  1. #1
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    Hello from the Carolinas

    Completely new to quilting. I recall seeing my mother and grandmother sometimes quilting as a child, but it was more about keeping the cold away then the simple beauty of the quilts themselves.

    Personally I love crafting of all sorts, but have never really been bitten by the bug to keep digging other then in my herb garden.

    Several years ago, yes years, I purchased a booklet "Learn to quilt" making a sampler quilt of 12 different blocks. Now this was while I was working at a high stress job, and other then the booklet, some fabrics and thread. I didn't really make any other purchases. I mean after all I already had a sewing machine and scissors, and what if I didn't like it, right? Well I managed to machine piece together all of the blocks, and even string those together. Then either I got busy, bored or confused and everything went into box never to be seen again until just last week.

    It all started because walking around the local Walmart I saw some fat quarters with elephants on them. My daughter is crazy about elephants, and I started thinking am no longer working and she would really enjoy a nice throw with those cute little elephants in there... hey I could even throw in a few pink elephants. She'd really get a kick out of seeing pink elephants... it's an inside mother/daughter joke between us. Anyway I ended up buying 12 or so matchy, matchy fat quarters which made me go looking for that long lost booklet to get ideas for the elephant throw. Found the booklet and the forgotten quilt top which I thought I should finish. Went to the store and purchased some batting and have begun putting it together.

    Here's what I've discovered about myself, my first attempt at quilting and my limited quilting equipment. First I obviously can't cut with scissors as straight as I thought I could; a rotary cutter has to be much better (please chime in here, I obviously could use some guidance). Either I was attempting to sew too fast and simply not giving much care to seam allowances or my poor cutting quality was the root cause because something just isn't square on the finished quilt top. Trying to piece together a full/queen quilt on a dining room table as a beginner is insane. The floor is even worst when you have back problems. Lastly my sewing machine which is just a little singer is simply not made for attempting to machine quit a rather large quilt; there just isn't room for all the fabric and batting.

    I have to admit that I'm frustrated and am not finding finishing the quilt nearly as fun as it probably should be, so if you have any words of wisdom I would greatly appreciate them.

    Yours truly a frustrated grasshopper.

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Welcome from western NY and happy quilting
    We all have quilts from our early days that seemed to be failures. Consider quilting to be a journey and you will get there! Look for a guild or quilting group in your area... quilters like to share their information/expertise. If you can't find that, we are very helpful here, too.
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak T.H.I.N.K.
    T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

  3. #3
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    Hey Grasshopper - welcome to the Board from Minnesota! I think you may have bitten off more than you can chew at this point in your quilting career; I think we all do. Your fabrics sound great - it's nice to have a theme. Your Singer will be just fine - I use a 40-year-old Kenmore for all my piecing and free motion quilting (FMQ). I also use my dining room table - lay your top left corner in the top left of your table and work across and down from there. Support the other parts of the quilt with the backs of chairs. Use basting spray - it will keep your layers together much better and with a lot less work. YouTube has some great videos on how to quilt larger quilts on a regular machine like your Singer. I'm so excited for you just starting out - do post pictures of your progress so that we can cheer you along.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  4. #4
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    What part of SC? May I suggest looking for a guild near where you live? You'll get lots of friendly advice on how to make a quilt.

    Agree 100% that getting on the floor to layout a quilt is out of the question - at least for me.

    Rotary cutter I like the '45' blade, suggest that it be one where you can retract the blade enough that you don't accidentally cut yourself. Get yourself a nice cutting mat and ruler to go with it - all available at Walmart, by the way. Watch video's on you tube, visit us here and find a quilt shop that offers classes that is reasonably close to you.

    Welcome to our world, by the way!
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  5. #5
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    ​Welcome from Ontario, Canada. Start simple and build your skills. A few pot holders, placemats and table runners will build your confidence.

  6. #6
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    Welcome from Virginia! Those big quilts are a challenge. Might put that big guy aside, and make a baby quilt or a throw size or a table topper or a walk hanging, etc until you are a bit more comfortable.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    Welcome from Oklahoma. Glad to have you here. My inspiration for finishing when I really am not in the mood is to remind myself that I am giving it to someone for their birthday or Christmas. If I am keeping it for myself, I depend on the Virtual Quilting Weekend, when we all encourage each other. Our lovely raggiemom tells us about them in the Main section.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  8. #8
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    Welcome from FL.

    A helpful video for you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybQLai6Mv58

    Quilting is a process for sure. It should fun. If not, put the project away for another day. There are many steps and different methods to making one. Be kind to yourself. Watch some tutorials and ask questions here.

    I don't like quilting on my machine so send them out to quilters.

    Is there a local shop where you can attend classes? It helps to have someone help you with each step.

    Best wishes for you and your quilt. Have fun!

  9. #9
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    Are you from SC or NC? I am from the beautiful mountains of western NC and enjoy the threads on this site. Welcome.

  10. #10
    Super Member Thumbelina's Avatar
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    Hi grasshopper welcome to the board from NE Ohio.

  11. #11
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    Welcome from Tennessee. Yes, those accurate seam allowances can make a huge difference. The more seams the more room for error. You can quilt on your machine. It make take a bit but is doable. Start from the center and work outward. Then turn the quilt and work from the center outward to the other edge. Just take it easy and be proud of the accomplishment you have done. Done is better than perfect. It is a learning process and should be a fun hobby. Don't sweat the small stuff

  12. #12
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    Hi and welcome from North Carolina! You've come to the right place for help and encouragement. My advise is put the huge quilt away for a while, until you get some experience. Start off with a simple pattern, like a 4- or 9-patch one. And, a smaller one...a lap size or one for a child. Don't aim for perfect. It will be a fine quilt that you'll treasure as your beginning of a wonderful new hobby. Relax and have fun!

  13. #13
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    Welcome from Michigan!

  14. #14
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    Welcome from Ontario!

    I'm travelling to Tryon North Carolina in September for the World Equestrian Games...is that near you and are there any great quilt stores I shouldn't miss? I'll be there a week.

    Watson

  15. #15
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    Thanks so much for the pointers ArtsyOne. I'll do my best and will post the pics, but at this point I'm not sure what to expect. )

  16. #16
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    Hi Everyone. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I think it's necessary. Decided to meet this challenge head on and simply go for it. Been watching youtube as suggested by several of you, and there are some pretty great videos out there. Certain there'll be mistakes but if I'm learning it'll be worth it. My mother always told me that if I learned something then it couldn't be considered a waste of time. I'll have to research the area to find a good quilting club here in the South Carolina Midlands area. Seriously, your comments and suggestions mean a lot. Thanks.

  17. #17
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    Hi Grasshopper and welcome to the board!
    The others have given you good advice.
    I want to add something: Your machine may not be adequate for machine quilting if the throat area is small but at this point I wouldn't even worry about that step. That's in the future.
    I hand quilted for many years and just recently decided I wanted to learn machine quilting. I have a lovely machine but the throat area was too small (frustrating) so I bought a mechanical straight stitch only just for quilting. I love it and have improved. I still have a long way to go though.
    I would invest in a cutting mat and rotary cutter. It's so much easier than scissors! (that's all we had when I started) so I know how you feel.
    As the others said- start small. You will gain confidence.
    Lastly, Youtube has all kinds of videos for learning the quilting process. And this board is a wealth of help and information.
    Good luck
    Oh- one more thing- get a good ruler

  18. #18
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    Welcome from South Louisiana.
    Sew a Little, Love a Lot & Live like you were dying!

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