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How did you get better at quilting?

How did you get better at quilting?

Old 03-11-2017, 07:46 AM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 19

Quit comparing your work to some one else
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:51 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Arizona
Posts: 690

What I have been doing to improve is to pick one area that I think needs the most improvement i.e. cutting, then I watch videos and read everything I can on that specific area and put what I learned to use on the next project I work on. I try to improve everything but really focus on that specific area that I chose to concentrate on. When I see substantial improvement in my cutting then I select another area such as 1/4" seams and repeat the process. Slowly and surely I am seeing improvements and feel my skill level is increasing. Sometimes to push myself I select a pattern or block that seems to be beyond me and focus on learning how to do that. It all helps. Gains may be incremental but at least I can see progress from one project to the next.

Lastly, I am learning not to beat myself up over perceived problems. A long time ago someone told me that no one sets out to fail and they have done the best they could at that time. So, I use those perceived short-comings to pick a new area to concentrate on improving and the cycle continues.
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:52 AM
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Location: Southern USA
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Cutting and sewing to get a precise size does take skill and you have to develop that skill. I am a believer in quilt classes from knowledgeable instructors. I don't mind showing my not right blocks and asking what do you think I did wrong. I watch others cut and sew and that helped me a lot. If you can't go to a class use Craftsy. I learned about thread types, weights, and ply. I learned about needles. That made a difference in my stitches. If I stop sewing for an length of time I forget little details that make or break a good sew. Takes me a mistake or two to remember!
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:55 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Belen, NM
Posts: 1,352

I am a new quilter, however, like these more experienced quilters, I am growing in stages. My biggest leap forward is my attitude change toward ripping. When I make a mistake, I don't try to justify it or cover it up or compensate for it. I happily pull out my ripper and fix the little issues before they cause bigger issues. I don't dread it anymore, I revel in the improvement that I am making. The biggest improvement is the way I think about fixing something rather than practice denial.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:19 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: MN
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Realizing that there are several things that can contribute to how something will turn out.

Materials selected

Are all things/processes where small differencee/inconsistencies can add up to big differences.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:46 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,923

I became really picky about things like always straightening the grain on my fabric before I cut so I don't get wonky strips.
I cut on the outside of the line on my ruler so every piece is just a sliver bigger than its supposed to be and then I cut the block to size at the end. And I have rulers in all the block sizes I make so the I can square them up exactly before I begin sewing them together.
I also have a hard time conceptualising so I spend a lot of time planning on paper and just staring at things on my design wall before I do any actual sewing.
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:25 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: California
Posts: 1,726

Oh, I've been quilting 30 years and my quilts are never perfect. At some point in time, I decided that making a lovely quilt was what I wanted to achieve. Not a perfect one. It was too stressful for me to try and make perfect quilts. If you want a perfect quilt, you'll need to have every step of the process perfect and be willing to rip out any seam and do over if necessary.
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:33 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Florida
Posts: 5,126

Switch things up a bit. Take a class in something you have never tried, join a Guild, learn that sometimes a consistent seam is more important than a perfect 1/4 inch seam. Sometimes, a perfect 1/4 inch seam is required and there is nothing that can be done about that. Practice different techniques and styles. Gradually you will get better.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:27 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Live Oak, Texas
Posts: 6,133

I have been at it for many years. I cut up old clothes to make scraps and practiced all my blocks several times until I felt comfortable with it before I used my good fabric. When I have trouble with something I do it over and over until I get it right. Sometime it is hard to not give up on something I am having a lot of trouble with but I have learned to just put it away for awhile and come back to it later. I try not to do the same pattern to often as I like to try as many different ones as I can. I have learned a lot of new ways to do things from this board. On many things there are several ways to do them so I try them all until I found the one that is best for me. On quilting slow and relaxed is the way I go. When I get in a hurry I usually mess up.
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:05 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 5,463

I agree is mostly about practicing. My LQS offers a 12 month sampler class that I think is great. There is an initial fee of usually about $25. You go to a short (15-30 min.) class each month. You are given cuts of fabric to make that month's block. Each month is a skill-builder. You get practice cutting the pieces you are given into smaller sub-cuts; practice sewing the various components. Some months are straight up piecing; some paper piecing; some machine embroidery; etc. Each month you go to the class with your previous month's block completed, you are given your new fabrics for free. If your block is not complete it's a nominal $5.00 fee for your new fabrics. Towards the end of the program you are given options for purchasing a 'finishing kit' to include sashing/borders/backing in various sizes.

I really enjoy the process. I'm not much of a 'sampler quilt' person, thus have not done one in a couple of years. But I find it keeps you in the sewing mood in addition to building your skills. And the girls at the shop are always available to help you over rough spots and they usually have extra bits of fabric for when you make booboos.

In a recent sewing room cleanup I found the one from 2013 and am only now finishing up that. Just picked up fabrics for the sashing/border/backing. Figure I'll have that to play with on Tues. during our forecasted snow storm!
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