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Thread: Can someone please enlighten a novice?

  1. #1
    Steve's Avatar
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    Planning well ahead seems essential to someone who quilts. Looking for fabric and patterns (or portions there of) with an ultimate vision is realistic enough, but I wonder how many quilts to store in the noodles? I’ve about a dozen planned for family and friends before getting around to my own bed, about three in the works mentally and one in practice. What do I do to keep it all straight? What is a good plan of attack when planning quilts and how far ahead should one plan? Keep a journal or notebook?

    I’ve been purchasing fabric ad hoc with the various projects in mind, but am afraid of forgetting what goes where and exactly why I purchased it to begin with. Quite honestly I’ve little room to store a ton of fabric, otherwise I would.

    PS. I do this with music and the writ as well; having ideas and executing them are two entirely different things I find and imagine it the same here.

  2. #2
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    Quiltmaking is fluid - changing one's mind is almost mandatory. There is nothing written in stone at my house. I organize my fabrics, sort through patterns, dream and visualize. Then if I don't get right to it, I seem to change my for a "better" idea. Perhaps I need to write down my ideas, with patterns and a fabric swatch, in case my ancestors (or is it decendants?) have to finish it all off. My favorite thing to do if I need to let off steam is to paw through my fabric. Sara

  3. #3
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Steve ... Dude ... RELAX!!!!!

    first of all, you have absolutely no control over the number of quilts in the noodle. the ideas, intentions and desires will squeeze themselves into every available nook and cranny of brain space whether you want them there or not.

    if making lists and jotting down construction ideas feels right, then do it. if that isn't your "thing" ... don't do it.

    if you already have fabrics for a specific project, stack them together. if you already have the pattern, put that on top of the stack. just don't be surprised to find half or more of the fabrics gone by the time you get around to that pattern. you'll have "borrowed just a little" here and there for other quilts.

    don't be afraid to change your mind.

    you are allowed to obsess ONLY over the quilt(s) you're actually working on at the moment. the others can wait their turn. :wink:

    you already have a day job, dear. DON'T turn this into more WORK. it'll suck all the fun out of it for you.

  4. #4
    Country Quilter's Avatar
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    I couldn't have said it better Patrice! Well done!!

    I am one of those that wants to make them all! Every quilt magazine has a sticky note or two in it! I know thats never going to happen but a girl can dream!

    I did purchase little plastic baskets for projects that I have either been asked to make or definitely WANT to make and I have the paperwork in the basket and some of the materials (but as Patrice said, some of it ALREADY needs to be replaced as I have "borrowed")

    Other than that, I am the most unorganized planner! And there's five ideas that jump into my brain for every project I complete!

  5. #5
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    If you always had a definite project in mind, had exactly the correct amount of fabric (no scraps), followed the pattern 100%, finished it in your original time frame, gave it to who it was originally intended, YOU WOULDN'T BE A QUILTER- YOU'D BE A SCARY INDIVIDUAL!! Enjoy your projects and don't sweat the small stuff. Life is so incredibly short, have fun.

  6. #6
    Country Quilter's Avatar
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    I should have mentioned, Steve, that I keep a journal of all my finished projects, a photo album of sorts, I put a picture of the project, the date I finished it (don't always put the start date in), who it was given to (or sold to whichever the case).. and any other pertinent info I think of....I'm on my second album! My friends and family love to see it ...when they come by and ask me what I've been up to, I just hand them the album!

  7. #7
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    It's also perfectly ok to start something, set it aside for whatever reason, and come back to it when you want to, either to complete it or just do a little and set it aside again. One of life's joys is to go thru a box or drawer and find something you worked on. Sometimes you will want to get right back at it, and sometimes you will laugh yourself silly wondering how you ever thought it was a good idea(example from my sewing days-I started making my husband a blue plaid polyester blazer, refused to throw it away, but was in way over my head. It took about 20 years before I could actually bring myself to realize it was a dead deal and needed to be chucked :lol: )

  8. #8
    ButtercreamCakeArtist's Avatar
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    Hi, Steve.
    Maybe you could stack or bundle the fabric together or get a basket or (clear) box to store it in, then make a sketch of the basic concept for each project in mind. Don't forget to add notes about how you want to do specifics. Make sure you can see it and have easy access.

    OR you could store all your fabric together (like in one of the big plastic boxes I used to use) and use a small swatch (WHAT? CUT IT?!) of each on the sketch pages/notebook? This way you could have all your fabric together and still have what you want to make a certain project together.



  9. #9
    lin
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    Hello Steve~
    As a newcomer to quilting, I think what you're going through is pretty normal. When I first felt that real passion for quilting hit me hard one day, I found I couldn't sleep, would stay up half the night looking at patterns in magazines, design them over and over in my mind, think about colors and patterns, etc. I was driving myself crazy. I'd chosen or designed 10 quilts in my head before I ever bought my first real yardage! I tried to get all organized (what's a type "A" to do?? :mrgreen: ) and then it all became a little overwhelming and I had to slow down, drop all pretenses of being organized, and just have fun.

    I started buying fabric because I loved what I was holding at the time, instead of looking for a precise fabric for a precise quilt. It was a lot more fun doing it that way. If I did happen to choose a pattern that I was going to start on, I chose the fabric for that quilt all at once if possible, and placed it in a basket. That worked for awhile. LOL Over time I got so busy making so many things, I started to borrow as Patrice pointed out, or I'd just forget what I was going to use. Didn't matter. I still managed to make approx 150 quilts in the last 16 years. LOL To repeat good advice...DUDE...relax! :lol:

  10. #10
    Senior Member annmarie's Avatar
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    Just curious -when yu lovely quilters "start buying fabric because you love what you're holding at the time" how much do you buy when you don't have anything specific in mind for its use?

  11. #11
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    Hi Steve-I'm new to quilting also. I buy what I love at the time and when I get home I wrap it around a 6x24 in. ruler and slip the ruler out and store fabric flat on a book case shelf. I try to sort by design, color, pattern etc. If, I have a pattern in mind, I place it or a copy with the fabric. If I use some of the fabric, I remeasure and tag the fabric with new measurements so I'll know how much is left. My hubby suggested I use a small photo album and slip a paper with pieces of fabric and yardage amounts on it into each sleeve. If I'm "building a quilt" I can carry this with me and match up fabrics. Also place ideas in front of book. Happy Quilting!

  12. #12
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    Depending on what I think I might use it for or how much I like it; I might buy one to three yards. There are a lot of variables. lol

  13. #13
    Country Quilter's Avatar
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    Annmarie....I've learned the hard way to never purchase less than 3 yards and preferably at least 5 yards if I really love what I am holding.... I bought one yard of a fabric one time and found a quilt pattern it would be just perfect in....only to find I didn't have enuf....went back to the store and it was gone! Couldn't find it anywhere.... So now I try to get at least 3 yards of each fabric but I LOVE fat quarters too! LOL I use my fat quarters and scraps for BOM projects!

  14. #14
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    Steve, I am afraid I can identify with your dilema. As a novice, too, I know the feeling that having more quilts in your brain than would ever be possible to finish!!!!

    Tt first, reading the message board I kept reading about "stashes" and wondered if I would ever have a stash. What a stupid idea. Like you, I wandered around fabric departments buying fabric for this quilt and that quilt and guess what? I now have a big pile of fabric, too, and lots of ideas. I find, though, that the ideas are not only stimulating to my brain but indeed satisfying even if they all are not going to be accomplished this year (or ever, LOL).

    Like you, I am still going to "work" everyday and frankly my time right now for quilting is limited but I am still enjoying it immensely. (I do have two projects going and one in the mix, though) I pour over designs and yes feel the fabric and think about the people that will get one of my quilts (eventually) and it is very pleasing to me! Enjoy the whole experience and don't fret.

  15. #15
    lin
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    Quote Originally Posted by annmarie
    Just curious -when yu lovely quilters "start buying fabric because you love what you're holding at the time" how much do you buy when you don't have anything specific in mind for its use?
    That's a really good question annmarie. At first, I just started buying fat quarters. Lots and lots of them!! They are like quilter's candy, and they don't raise my blood sugar. LOL If I saw something on sale and I liked it, I would buy a yard or so. (I always look to see if I can love a sale item first!!) But like CQ, I often found that I didn't have enough to use as the main fabric or background on anything, so I started buying a minimum of 2½ yds if I thought it might make a good border fabric, and 3-4 yards if I really loved it for the main body of a future quilt. I figure that if I don't ever use it that way, I can chop forever on it and use it in lots of quilts. I've done that for years, repeated fabrics in many quilts. Some of my fabric is 10-15 years old and it still comes in handy when I just need a little. Oftentimes my friends will love the fabric and wonder where I found it. They've never seen it because it's so old, but they want some. LOL

    If you're wanting backing fabric, usually 6 yards will do ya. You'll need double the length (plus a little) of your quilt if it's wider than the width of the fabric you're buying, and I rarely make quilts over 108" long. If you run a little short, you can always piece a little into your backing to make it long (or wide) enough. That can be fun. :)

    Your fabric will never go to waste. I promise. You will use it some day, on some quilt. Even if you look at it one day and say "What was I thinking?" LOL You'd be amazed how many times that odd piece that you couldn't resist at the time will be just the thing you need. :)

  16. #16
    Senior Member annmarie's Avatar
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    Thank-you Lin & Patsy. Now I have good rationale for buying more than 1 yd. which is what I have been doing because of the cost. BUT 3 yd. makes so much more sense. I just needed someone to tell me it is OK :lol: :lol: :lol: :wink: :wink: :wink:

  17. #17
    lin
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    Oh well, gee! Always happy to help a fellow quilter rationalize her spending habits!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

    PSST....faaaat quarterssss...you neeeeed them. :mrgreen:

  18. #18
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    As far as how much fabric------If its fro a baby quilt, I'll get say a yard or so and add it to my stash. If its going to maybe go to a grown up or is an exceptionally gorgeous piece like the green that I used in my pansy quit, I will get several yardds--whatever I think the pocketbook can handle at the time. I like flannel for backing on baby quilts and will get a couple of yards whenever I get to the store and nothing else strikes my fancy at the time. I too tend to buy it for a project only to find that I "borrowed" it for something else :lol: I have so many ideas whirling around in my head sometimes its makes me dizzy :!: But take it from the champion worry wart, if you stress out about how much or whether to use it or save it for another project, it quits being fun. Just enjoy it and go with your instincts about color and design. Its not suppose to stress you out, that's called work and we already have to do too much of it :!:

  19. #19
    ButtercreamCakeArtist's Avatar
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    I got some NASCAR fabric on sale for $3/yard at WM the other day. HUBBY helped pick it out. I was going to go for 3 yards of each (2 prints), but he said "get 5"!!!!!!!!! And he told me to get the big checks for the b&w flag instead of the smaller checks. I was going for the smaller ones bc I thought it might look better on a smaller project, but he insisted I get 5 yards of that, as well as the 2 Dale and Dale Jr prints...AND HE WAS PAYING!
    So, Usually I get about 3 yards of each.....

  20. #20
    Country Quilter's Avatar
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    Miranda...was it your birthday! LOL wow, that was nice of him! Whenever DH is along with his CC I go nuts!!

  21. #21
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    Carrie: I have a question about wrapping the fabric around a 6X24" ruler and then stacking it on a shelf. The idea sounds great in keeping things organized instead of rummaging through tubs and bags. But what do you do with irregular shapped pieces; those that you have already used part of it and they don't cooperate very well with the wrapping. Do you have a method for keeping them with the same color family? Do you do this for large pieces of fabric also, like those pieces with 2 or 3 yards? Sara

  22. #22
    Steve's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the ideas. Working with fat quarters is nice, but I have managed to store up extra yardage of material I like a lot (and have plans for).

    I suppose it depends on what you want to use it for. For the Hawaiian quilt panels a couple of fat quarters would suffice, but I feel compelled to buy at least a half-yard and add the remains to the stash. I'm planning 'my' quilt for last and that is going to be a patchwork containing all the fabrics I've used on everyone else’s. It should be a nice little pile by that time.

    String is another thing. For the Hawaiian quilting I need so little to appliqué the piece on and they're unusual colors. At least the spools fit nicely in a little box (thus far). Leslee was kind enough to offer string enough for the pieces, which should help curb the need to buy it. Only white quilting thread is going to be a constant and I've already learned that lesson: buy large spools!

  23. #23
    Boo
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    Okay, I must have missed something in my lessons with Leslie. What do I need string for?

    You have already got some great hints for buying fabric that you love, and I agree. Never buy less that 4-5 yards of a fabric you absolutely love. There is no greater dissapointment, than not to have enough fabric when that perfect pattern or idea comes around.

    Most of us have UFO's, WIP's, and PIGS. A UFO (UnFinished Object) can remain such for years. There is no expiration date on fabric. A WIP (Work in Progress) can become a UFO or not. PIGS on the other hand are Projects in Grocery Sacks that have not been started and may infact become something else as time goes on. Some ideas just need time to ferment. I have more PIGS than anything else. Quality quilt fabric is only available for a limited time, so I buy what I love and can afford with a certain project in mind or not. A few years from now, it may decide to be something completely different.

    As I am sure you have learned by now, Steve, we are not big on rules. Relax, enjoy the process and be prepared to have more fabric, patterns and quilt books than you have life expectancy. In a few years, you may want to concider adding an addendum to your will. :lol:

  24. #24
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    A male arraignment perspective (non-binding)...

    I see the pattern in a book or magazine. I figure out if it works for me and will it look good in this place (or as I envision a room should look in this place if it's ever fixed up). If it's a go, I figure out how to take that pattern and make it into a queen size quilt (that doesn't make me a size queen quilter). I then wander into the fabric store and start looking for things that resonate with the chosen pattern. This might take one or two fabric stores, a quilt shop or three, and maybe order a fabric from the net.

    Take all said fabric, hot wash, warm dry, then press it. Fold up and put into these neat wine shipping boxes I get from my ex (who is the business manager for a small local winery). Make a copy of the plan from the book, or just throw the magazine into the top of the box. Stack box with all the other boxes. Label box with instruction of what to do in case of my untimely demise.

    I do have a small pile of fabric I collected to do the BoTM blocks with, they have no porpoise except to make whatever block comes up and fit in with all the other BoTMs. Of course I have been too busy with my other projects to get many of them done.


    And then there are fabrics I see sitting there and I wonder... what the heck was I thinking of? I plan on sending all them to Patrice (probably when I am mad at her).

    tim in san jose

  25. #25
    SandraJennings's Avatar
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    Careful there Tim.....it might not be your toe she holds for ransom next time. :D Figure the method that works for you and your place, Steve, and then go from there...It will all work itself out in the long run. Chances are ...as you contimue to develop, so will your method of storing your quilt items.

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