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Thread: Beginner questions

  1. #1
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    Beginner questions

    Hi, I'm interested in quilting and have enjoyed reading through the posts here, have learned so much!

    For a long time I've wanted to make a quilt; I own a number of them and have always loved them. I just got home from the county fair and am so inspired by what I saw there. I want to do it (just start with something simple).

    But I have some concerns. I've researched it in the past and got psyched out by what I found on some other pages about quilting. So here are my questions:

    - One website said that in order to quilt you need a sewing table up against a left-hand corner of a room. I just don't have that possibility in my house, there's no available left-hand corner or anyplace where I could put anything to the left of a table. My dining table is round in the center of a small dining area room with no available walls to push it up against.

    - So I thought, well, I can hand-quilt it. But I saw in several places where people say that hand-quilted quilts fall apart. (That puzzles me because I own an antique hand-quilted one and it's intact.) Is this true? I just don't know what to do.

    - I don't have a special sewing machine, it's a Husqvarna Viking Huskystar. I can't afford to buy a longarm just for quilting. Is a basic sewing machine OK?

    I'm no expert seamstress but have done some sewing (mostly projects for home decorating which turned out fine) so think I could do this, maybe start with kind of a simple one.

    With these limitations, do you think it's realistic for me to be able to make a quilt? Or should I wait until I have more resources? I would very much appreciate your thoughts!

    Thanks so much!
    Denise

  2. #2
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    Hello, and welcome from Texas. I made my first quilt, which was a kingsize in my round dining table. I put a TV table to my left to help keep the bulk off the floor and from pulling against me. Turned out great. Oh, and I had a basic sewing machine. Loved my husky star. You do what you have to do in the space you have. Necessity is the mother of invention.

  3. #3
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    You will figure out what will work when you do your quilt. Welcome from Missouri

    Linda from MO

  4. #4
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    Questions, in order of appearance:

    1. My sewing table is my dining room table. It is not in a left hand corner.

    2. Hand quilt - I've never done it, but, like you, have seen many antique completely hand pieced and quilted quilts. Clearly, who ever said that is wrong.

    3) You can quilt and piece on the same sewing machine. Many Quilting Board members do it.

    4) I hadn't in sewn in 20 years and hadn't sewn much even then. and certainly not well. I started quilting and haven't looked back. So go for it!

    Can't wait to see your first quilt!

    Cathy

  5. #5
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    I am fairly new, too. I've only made 3 small quilts and am working on my 4th. if you have a desire to quilt, you can do it! Your basic sewing machine will work fine. Very few of us have the ideal sewing space . I would suggest you pick a small project with a simple pattern (like nine-patch or 4-patch) to find out if you like cutting and piecing. Then you can try your hand at quilting it. Is there a quilt store near you that you could take a beginner class? That's what I'm gonna do in September because I'm only self-taught and I think learning faster, better methods is what I need. Your dining room table will be okay for working on something small. I have made my 3 thus far (and starting 4th) on a basic, mechanical, Sears Kenmore machine and have been pleased. Naturally I covet bigger and better

    You might consider making a kids' quilt for charity. It will be appreciated and kids are not critical inspectors. Relax and enjoy the process.

  6. #6
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    Sew wherever you can. Some folks here sew out on their sun porches!
    I have quilts my great-grandmother made in the 1920's out of old shirts, pants, and dresses that she would take apart and use any fabric that was still "good" in the quilt. They are fine, and I use them!
    You don't need any fancy machine to quilt.

    Finally, if you wait until you "have more resources," you won't do it. Jump in, do what you can, come on here and ask for help. Welcome to a great group of folks who love quilting and also love to help other quilters. :-)
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  7. #7
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    Uh Oh....sounds like the quilt police have been talking to you! LOLOLOL You can make a quilt with whatever machine you have, and with confidence! You can set up your machine wherever it works best for you....my machine is in a table directly beside a window, when I need support for the quilt, I move my ironing board to the left of the machine to hold its bulk. I piece and quilt both on my machine...no long arm needed once I learned how to fmq. Definitely give it a try....after my first "not so perfect" quilt, I was addicted. I would look into a basic beginners quilting class as there are many differences between piecing a quilt top and making a pair of pants.....but remember that all the rules out there have exceptions and new methods almost daily. Please come back to the board for any questions you might have...there are so many members here who willingly give advice. Have fun!

  8. #8
    Super Member franc36's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Board! I'm excited that you are going to make a quilt! I made my first quilt at age 74 and am now hooked on quilting. I do have a sewing room; but it is small. My machine is not in a corner. I have a TV tray that I use as additional support to my quilt when I am quilting. I do all my piecing on a Singer featherweight and my quilting on a 13 year old Bernina. I have quilted an oversized king quilt on that machine; but now I send anything over twin size to a LAQ. Use your dining table. If you like hand quilting, go for it! You can do machine quilting on your machine or send your quilts out to a LAQ. Just get started with your first quilt. Best wishes!

  9. #9
    Super Member orangeroom's Avatar
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    I don't know where you got your information from, but suffice it to say, you don't have to have any of those to quilt. While I will admit that it's easier to piece with extra space to the left of the machine, you don't have to quilt there. You can piece on a regular sewing machine. Piecing is the process of sewing together pieces of fabric that have been cut up. You do need some space to the left of the machine. Quilting is the process of joining three layers together (top of quilt, batting, and the backing) with thread. I live in an area where I can go to a LQS (local quilt shop) and rent a LA (long arm). It's used there and it's $18/hr. A queen size quilt will normally take me 3-4 hours to meander quilt. One main difference between sewing regular clothing and quilting is the ironing. When making clothing, you open the seams and iron them, pressing each to it's own side. The majority of the time when making a quilt, you iron both pieces of fabric to one side. It's supposed to strengthen the seam. It helps you when you butt seams.

    I'd suggest taking a 'Quilting 101' course somewhere in your area. There literally was a course like that being taught at a LQS. That helped me tremendously. Then I went on to take a 'Sampler Quilting' class.

    Good luck and happy sewing, no matter how you plan on doing it!!!
    Go forth and sew!

  10. #10
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    Welcome to the world of quilting!! I highly recommend the Harriet Hargrave series of books called Quilter's Academy - start with book 1 - you will learn so much you will be amazed. This book will show you how to cut, sew an accurate seam, how to press, etc. There are several projects included in the book which include all the lessons from the book. Good luck in your projects.

  11. #11
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    This is what you NEED to make a quilt ...

    Fabric
    Needle
    Thread

    Now, very few (present company included) make do with just those three basics, but the point is that you don't NEED anything other than those three items.

    Sure ... a large sewing cabinet with a set-in machine positioned with the back and left side against helps to keep the quilt from falling and dragging while quilting, but less than 50% (an educated guess) of us have that setup (present company included).

    Long Arms ... lots of space and even more $$$, not to mention time to know what the heck you are doing with it are nice, but less than 30% (another educated guess) have that (present company included).

    Hand Quilting ... nice, but again probably less than 40% of us know how, and several of those that do know how, don't do it for various reasons. Some folks here specialize in hand quilting and I APPLAUD their skill ... mostly because it's a skill I don't have.

    We have folks that quilt on so many different types of machines .... long arms, mid arms, sit-down long/mid arms, small domestic machines set up on frames, regular domestic machines in a set-in cabinet, regular domestic machines plopped down on any old table, and vintage machines ... including treadles!! We are either choosing what is right for us, making what is right for us, or making-do with what we have.

    There is no "right way" ... there is only the way that works for you with the resources you have.

    So. Jump right in!!

    And welcome to QB
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

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  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Do you have access to a library? They usually have lots of quilting books with good information.

  13. #13
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board from TN. The other replies are correct. None (or at least very few) of us has an ideal space for quilting; you will adapt your process to use the space/tools/skills that you have. My wife and I recently got a nice sewing room, but so far all of our quilts were made in our dining room. There are excellent beginner tutorials on this board, Youtube, Missouri Star Quilt Company, and other places. Pick yourself a simple pattern and start cutting. Ask questions here if you have them; there is lots of skill and mentoring on this board. Above all, enjoy the process. It's lots of fun picking pattern and fabric, cutting and sewing, finishing a project, and then giving it away (or keeping it for yourself if you can squeeze your name into your project list!). I look forward to seeing your pictures. Darren

  14. #14
    Super Member nanacc's Avatar
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    The first time I (remember) attempted a quilt.....I probably broke every rule of the 'quilt police' and good quilters everywhere!! I don't even remember having a pattern, and I was proud of it! Wish now that I had taken a picture. Be sure to do that, no matter what! I never thought of that for years, so I have no record of mine or my Mother's beautiful creations in sewing and quilting! You might say that I am self-taught in sewing and quilting. No expert, just for fun. I like a statement I read before.....rules have exceptions! Even some of the instructors have controversial methods.

  15. #15
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Welcome from the other end of Washington! No, you don't need a fancy table. a left corner or any of that! Starting like you, but without even one machine, ruler or etc. you find how little you really need to make a heart warming, pride filling little quilt. There is no right or wrong. Hand quilting is a great pleasure and I like to do it after machine piecing and does not IMHO make the "quilt weaker". Just like pressing seams open instead of to one side does not weaken them if you are machine piecing.

    I agree with the "just start" method of learning! Get a few pieces of fabric, look on a site like Quilter's Cache for million of block patterns and try making just one block. Like it? Make another maybe the same, maybe different.
    Pretty soon it's the "Look what I made!" moment. Check out the library. There are often great beginner books on the shelves as well as more advanced if you are a book learner like me.

    Have faith that you will figure out what works best for you. Just don't get talked into spending a lot of money on gadgets for this, that and the other thing when something you have around the house may work as well! Try anything! No one has to see it until you want them too! Go for it, we're all here for you!
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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  16. #16
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    You can certainly make a quilt with the sewing machine you have and on a round table too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I have been quilting 3 years and it has been fun every minute.

    Everyone has pretty much said it all already, but welcome to the board. Ask any questions at all as you quilt, and you will have immediate answers...or at least I always have had immediate answers. You can also google almost anything, promise. I just found out how to make a half square triangle by googling.

    You might also want to keep count of how many quilts you have made, as many of my "experienced" quilting friends wish they had, and they advised me to keep count. I just put the number on my calendar and circle it.

    Enjoy the hobby. It is great!!

    Dina
    Last edited by Dina; 08-22-2013 at 07:14 PM. Reason: more info

  17. #17
    Junior Member dallen4350's Avatar
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    Welcome from Florida.

    I use my Brothers sewing machine, nothing special. I made my first quilt on it, and being the over achiever that I am, it is King Sized! So it can be done.

    My sewing machine sits on an old computer desk. I place my ironing board to the left when I'm doing the actual quilting. My sewing room is also the guest bedroom, so the bed is behind my sewing machine. This helps support the weight on the back side.

    Sorry, I haven't done any hand quilting, but don't understand why someone would say they they would fall apart.

    So just do it.
    Deb
    (If you are going to be a bear, you may as well be a grizzly.)

  18. #18
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Howdy and welcome, from Texas!

    I've been sewing for over 50 years but quilting, for less than 10. I've never had my machine even near a left-hand corner. It does help to have either a large sewing table or some other nearby table . . . but even a chair will work. Please don't let someone's "rules" discourage you!
    Neesie


    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
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  19. #19
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    I agree with everything said and would like to add - before sewing your blocks together, do look into 'quilting as you go' [QAYG]. It's rather simple to do on your domestic machine, much easier than handling the whole quilt in the machine, and will save you lots if you can't afford to pay a quilter. Do you have a quilting guild nearby where you could do some basic lessons? Spending time with a like-minded group each week is a lot of fun, and you will pick up heaps in tips.

    Welcome to the board from me and please, please, do post pics of your work for us.


  20. #20
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    You do what you feel is right for you. Have fun while you are at it.

    Now you know what we mean by 'quilt police.' Those who have rigid rules. Most of us believe it is OK to break the rules. Though it does help to know a few before you do break them.

    I hope you find a congenial group of quilters to have fun with.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  21. #21
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Welcome to the site from uk.I sew in my small caravan. The sewing machine sits on a small table ,the fold up type. The suggestions on these sites saying left corner etc are giving the very best place they say.
    As you have read on this site it is a sea saw of ideas some contradicting each other. If you have a sewing machine go for it. Table runners small and easy is the rail fence.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  22. #22
    Senior Member pdcakm's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Nammie to 7;6250087]Welcome to the world of quilting!! I highly recommend the Harriet Hargrave series of books called Quilter's Academy

    i also recommend this book. she came to our guild and did a presentation and class. her book is wonderful for beginning. check out the library if you don't want to buy. used book stores are also good for quilting books.

    there are also several online beginner classes available through craftsy (watch for their sales) and annies.

    if you can afford to take classes at your local quilt shop that is wonderful but not mandatory. if you can get up the gumption, just do it. you will make mistakes but you will learn from each of them.

    remember that there are people out there who will tell you there is only one way to do things. don't believe it. most of us do not have long arm machines for quilting and still manage to make very respectable quilts.

    best of luck.
    pdcakm alias pat
    If things go wrong, don't go with them. ~Roger Babson

  23. #23
    QM
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    Power Poster QM's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world of quilting. I made my first 100 or so quilts without a specialized machine. A walking foot makes a huge difference. If Viking says they don't have one for that machine, check the web. I think the left hand side thing is nonsense, although I PREFER to have the left side open, so the quilt can drape there. When I moved to my current community in 2000, my new neighbor informed me that I was now a quilter. The guild she dragged me to was a great help to me. 500+ quilts later, I am firmly 'hooked'. There are also huge numbers of good videos on youtube. PBS has Fons and Porter's love of quilting, if you get that. I get a lot of benefit from QuiltPro quilt design software, which is easy to use and very flexible. Any question you have, ASK!!! Someone here will help. Quilting is not monolithic. There are many ways to do almost everything. There are a great many styles and methods. A rotary cutter, mat and ruler do help, but even those are not essential. "Everyone" agrees on pure cotton fabric and 1/4" seam allowances, but there are truly no quilt police. Do not use cheap thread. It will only cause you grief, as your machine will lint up very quickly. My local library has a great many books on quilting, with lots of fine pictures. Those helped me.

  24. #24
    Reb
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    I have heard that many renowned quilters started out just the way you are. Some didn't even use a patern and just went for it. As to hand piecing and quilting Google Jinny Beyer. Her quilts are made entirely by hand. I tied my first quilt(s), not sure how many because I did not take pictures! I agree, just do it! I'll also reitterate: if you have any questions this Board is fantastic! Check out how to include a picture with your question for specific help on your project. Just enjoy the process, don't be hard on yourself and have fun! Welcome to the Board and the wonderful quilting community.

  25. #25
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    Everything you've been told not to do, go ahead and do it. First time I got the machine out, I sat it on top of a TV tray. It just fit. I was sewing in my living room in front of the tv. Made a bunch of placemats for Christmas gifts. There are also videos on YouTube for beginners. have fun.

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