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How did you get better at quilting?

How did you get better at quilting?

Old 03-10-2017, 09:14 PM
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I think taking workshops and classes really makes a difference.
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Old 03-11-2017, 02:39 AM
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I made a bunch of small items (mostly potholders) to practice on and try out different techniques and found the ones that worked best for me (so far — there are probably new ones I could try that would improve things more). As Garden Gnome just said, “Everything you do is subject to change if you find a better way to do it.”

I did a lot of Googling and reading. A couple of the things I learned made light years of difference. Squaring up the blocks was a biggie, as two people have already mentioned. Chain piecing helped me to sew straighter, since I was often veering off in the last inch or so. HSTs (and some blocks) can be cut a little larger than needed and then cut down to size.

There are a lot of different ways to do binding. I wanted to find one that could be 100% machine sewn, and I tried a lot of different ways before I found the one that works best for me (or rather, one that wasn’t a complete disaster).
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Old 03-11-2017, 02:53 AM
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best thing i did was to take a sampler class at a quilt shop then i was able to do on my own
learned so many tricks which makes thing easier
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Old 03-11-2017, 03:14 AM
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I agree with Jennifer23 and Claire123...I took beginner classes at my LQS starting with a Turning Twenty. I am fortunate to have two LQS that offer classes regularly on quilting projects and machine basics. I also joined a guild about two years ago and, as we all know, quilters love to share their knowledge and talent so it's like getting lessons for free but more importantly, they are a terrific support group.
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Old 03-11-2017, 03:15 AM
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This board has helped me tremendously. I read all of it every day. Many thanks to Patrice for getting this out here.

First thing I was doing wrong was my machine was a free arm. I needed a flat bed.

I took some classes and that helped. Then I combined two internet teachers; Bonnie Hunter and Eleanor Burns. Bonnie Hunter says put the cutting line ON the fabric. Eleanor Burns says cut it large so you have some to shave off. So I combined those two things. When I cut I put the line on the fabric and then I give myself a little smidge extra. It seems to work for me.
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Old 03-11-2017, 03:51 AM
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I have been a serious hobby quilter for 17 years now. My 1st quilt of course was worse than my last. Worked on 365 quilt last year and really improved by leaps and bounds.
My advice matches several already listed.
1. Pay attention to what you are currently doing. Take a day with no TV, etc and concentrate on cutting and piecing.
1 day concentration compared to many days frustration?
2. Cutting: is fabric flat? ruler lined up? rotary blade sharp? Is my Pre cut really correct size? Biggie- am I paying attention to grain lines? We often don't do this is quilting.
3. Thread: I use Aurifil, but used DMC in past. 50wt. Really thin to help seams. 1/4 inch seam counts in patch (like someone already said), I pin 1 inch away from beginning, helps to not be taking a pin out immediately. Am I veering off at the end? Be consistent.
4. I finger press then measure my piecing. It is easier to fix one seam now than take out 5 later. You probably have not developed a measuring eye. Where you "see" the mistake before you measure. Also does your seam ripper "fit" your hand?
5. When I press, am I ironing or pressing? I actually made this a challenge last year and it has stuck. Also do I pull my fabric as I press? You can starch distortion into your fabric.
6. A class really helps with learning tricks not printed in books.
We all have Opinions just like we all have belly buttons.
Hope you improve but with great fun. Gi quilt
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Old 03-11-2017, 04:27 AM
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I've been quilting for over 40 years, and IMHO perfection is highly over-rated. This is a hobby for most of us, and we need to relax. That's not to say that we shouldn't do our best work, but occasionally we can snip off the point of a star, or make a wonky block, or make a piece too big/small. We are all way too critical of our own work.

That said, as I age, I notice I need to be a little more careful when I cut fabric and bump up the wattage of the light bulbs in my sewing room - I don't see as well. I now have a 1/4" foot for my machine. I square up blocks and even add strips around them if they end up too small. I sometimes make a block a larger size and cut it down to the right size (the Studio 180 way) if it is crucial. Even though I hate it, I do paperpiece occasionally to make sure I get it close to perfect.

The quilt that improved my skill the most was "Dear Jane" which entailed piecing, paper piecing, applique, reverse applique. But even with that, the author, Brenda Papdakis, noted that "finished is better than perfect." So enjoy the journey and don't worry so much.
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:48 AM
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Relax. Practice. Slow down. Stop trying to be perfect. Enjoy your hobby.
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:27 AM
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When I first started quilting I thought gee, this will be easy peasy, wrong!! Mastering the the 1/4 inch seam and scant 1/4 inch seam, perfecting my cutting, perfecting my pressing and taking the time to enjoy the process has helped a lot. I am a methodical quilter, I tend to do one block at a time and square up each block as I go so that at the end everything should fit perfectly, I can also fix any mistakes. I found that I became disenchanted when I had to go back and redo blocks or try to figure out where I went wrong while piecing, I was less likely to finish the project.
Since fabric is so expensive, I decided to start simple and work my way up, everyone is different, I have seen first time quilters that produce quilts that I would never dream of making and leave me in awe of their abilities. Like most things in life, the more we do something the easier it becomes, enjoy the process and don't be hard on yourself, have fun!!
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:45 AM
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I agree with PaperPrincess...slow down, concentrate on improving one skill at a time. Take classes, watch videos of tutorials. Use tools...1/4" quilting foot, rulers, various threads, etc. Just keep going. Do small projects, keep going to completion. Each project you do will improve your skills. It takes a lot of time. I have been quilting 13 years and I still have a lot of learn.
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