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How did you get better at quilting?

How did you get better at quilting?

Old 03-11-2017, 01:08 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 2,066

There are two things that I think have made the biggest difference for me

One - I started doing one-day mystery quilts. Merry Mayhem has one every New Year's Day. They are simple enough to be completed in one day, but complex enough to look good. paintmejudy here on the board also does mystery quilts (mystery train rides) and she has excellent instructions. By doing a mystery quilt, I'm focussed only on the current step and that seems to help me pay more attention. Finished quilts are often a pattern that I would not otherwise tackle.

Two - I joined round robins or block swaps. When sewing something that I know is going to become part of someone else's quilt, I take special care. This has translated into building good habits.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:32 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Southern USA
Posts: 13,073

I don't agree to use less then quality fabric or batting for your first quilts. I wish I had used the best fabric for my first quilts. The fabric is fraying and almost threadbare in spots. After a few years the mistakes that you were so sad about won't bother you at all to see them. But to see the quilt fall apart will make you sad.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:13 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Blue Ridge Mountians
Posts: 7,076

I learned to quilt making a dear jane. (don't laugh.....I never said I was smart). I joined a Dear Jane Club (after everybody was more than halfway through), but they took me under their wing, and one patch at a time we would show each other how we each and often made the same patch differently. I tried and learned so many techniques and learned when and how to chose the better technique. The blocks were so small, if I ruined one, it was no disaster. I made a quilt, and made friends. Best learning experience for me in a long time. And yes, I got it done.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:07 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Carroll, Iowa
Posts: 2,729

I keep going out of my comfort zone to help me improve myself. Also trying out new techniques, tips like starching all my fabrics helped the most to keep my blocks from going haywire.
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:38 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Va.
Posts: 4,830

Like Snooze2798 I find that going out of my comfort zone helps me improve. There are a number of courses on- line that I really like as well.

The Craftsy 2013 block of the month taught by Laura Nownes is a free class that has an amazing number of excellent tips for piecing tricky blocks. I took that back in 2013 and my piecing improved quite a bit as a result.

when choosing a course, I like to decide on one area I want to improve, and then look for a course that will help me with that. Right now I'm taking both of the Lisa Calle courses on iquilt because I wanted to improve my Fmq design skills.

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Old 03-12-2017, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 78

I so appreciate you for asking this question! I sometimes think I cannot even see a straight seam, but I keep trying. I think we can be our own worst critics. Honestly, I believe taking classes, slowing down, and not being afraid to rip out and redo have made my work better. It's still far from perfect, but I've decided my sewing has character!
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:28 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 743

I am right there with you, karlin68. However, I must admit I haven't always been able to quilt and it's been on and off just like you. One time I spoke to an experienced quilter and she said it's all practice. Learning new skills takes time. Plus I find I really need to take my time and not rush or the whole process will not work. I want to go faster but I tell myself to slow down with the measuring, cutting, piecing and somehow this seems to be working, yay!
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:59 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Wis
Posts: 5,672

What a great question! I started quilting in the late '80's and thought I was doing pretty well although I stuck to a lot of simpler blocks. Then about 3 years ago I started going to quilt clubs at the quilt shop. I'm quite surprised at how much nicer my blocks look now vs. before the clubs. First of all there is homework every month so I was forced (although you really don't have to do the homework if you don't want) to make different blocks every month. A lot of the blocks are complicated. There were 12" and 6" blocks and the littler ones were hard for me at first. Then, secondly, I learned so much from the demos every month where others pointed out little tips for piecing and pressing the blocks as well as fabric choices. Lots of times I'll make multiples of the blocks just for the practice. So I guess the answer for me, anyway, was to challenge myself and practice.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:57 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Long Island
Posts: 24,694

i took my time and sewed a lot.
for some reason, when i first started quilting, i was a kid back then, was always in a rush to finish something i was working on. Now, i take my time, and enjoy the time i'm making my quilts. I've been at it for decades now, and i've mde about everything, except a DWR. I've lately been doing hand piecing and EPP. Now i need to know where it's going or who it's going too before i start it.
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:19 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 3,404

Everything said above is certainly true. I have been piecing quilts for about 40 years, believe I know about squaring fabric before cutting, cutting accurately, sewing straight seams, pressing not ironing, and squaring blocks before sewing them into rows. But I found that I improve when I teach a new quilter, because then I actually put in practice what I know.
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