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Thread: "I was taught to . . . . "

  1. #1
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    "I was taught to . . . . "

    How much of what you first learned in quilting still works for you?

    How far off that original track have you been willing to go?

    Does what your first teacher/instructor said tend to be what you automatically do?

    I did know how to do some sewing when I took my first quilting class - which was mainly learning how to piece by hand.

    Overall, I think think the instructor did a good job. I still do a lot of the things the way she taught them. We ran out of time before we got to the quilting and binding part. I learned that from a book.

    Some of the things I do remember: (This was probably early 1990's - don't remember exactly when)

    How to tie a quilter's knot - very handy -
    We used template plastic for our patterns - or we used hers.
    Coats & Clark Dual Duty (cotton covered polyester) was what she recommended for sewing
    How to hand piece - technique very similar to Jinny Beyer's -

    I find it useful to hand-piece a tricky block - especially when I don't know how I might want to press it after it is finished.

    I don't remember rotary cutters. i do remember tracing her templates to use for our blocks. Trace ON the line - not around the line!

  2. #2
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I started to seriously quilt when rotary cutters hit the stores. I still stick with what the basics that I was taught. It is just more comfortable for me than trying new techniques like glue basting a quilt. Pins still work well for me. If I see a better way of making a quilt, I won't follow the directions. I look for patterns with good bones. I am not sure that many of our new quilters get into a LQS since there is so much that is easier learn than watching a video.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  3. #3
    Junior Member Caroline94535's Avatar
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    I began quilting as a teen in the early 1970s.

    There were no "quilting shops," no Internet, only a small selection of old books, and just a few magazines. Where I lived they were few and far between. (Yes, it was hard walking five miles to school, uphill, barefoot, and in the snow! LOL)

    I taught myself to piece and quilt by reading news and women's magazine articles, a couple old books, and "studying" my great-grandmother's quilts. I never saw a Quilt Shop until I was in my early 30s.

    Several older women in the community helped me learn, also.

    I learned to...

    - Always wash and iron the fabric I was using, which was mostly old cotton clothes. If new fabric was used, it must also be washed and ironed before cutting.

    - Sharpen several #2 pencils before beginning to trace around the cardboard (cereal box) templates. I'd wrap clear tape around the edge of the cardboard to help the templates hold their shape longer.

    - Never use the "fabric scissors" to cut the cardboard templates.

    - Never try to cut out all the pieces and start sewing blocks on the same day.

    - Arrange the "patches" into groups according to how you will piece them together, and have your pins, threaded needles, thimble, and scissors, all in one place.

    - Wash your hands before beginning the piece work.

    - Always press your patches before sewing over seams that crossed.

    - Measure carefully, and press, press, press.
    Last edited by Caroline94535; 05-15-2015 at 09:17 AM.
    "Not all those who wander are lost." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

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  4. #4
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    I learned to pre-wash , tear to get straight grain. I always do that!! I also learned that you don't HAVE to have every special ruler or template. My first quilts I made templates from cardboard, sandpaper backing, traced around them with pencil on single layer fabric, and cut out by hand. I used graph paper and colored pencils to layout my own versions and to see how much fabric to buy for each thing. I learned you can do without, but so much easier with all the new ways!!

  5. #5
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    My Mom an grandmothers taught me to sew and quilt from a very young age. I still use all they taught me. The only real change for me has been the rotary cutter, quilting rulers, and plastic templates. I shudder to think of going back to scissors, a yard stick and old newspaper. LOL

  6. #6
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    I still put the end of thread in my mouth to moisten it before putting it through the eye of a hand needle. The " esperts" say moisture cases the thread to swell but it always works for me.

  7. #7
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    I learned to wet the eye of the needle instead of the thread. It does seem to help.

    For the sewing machine, though - it's still easier to dampen the thread.

  8. #8
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    Learning to qult.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gramie bj View Post
    My Mom an grandmothers taught me to sew and quilt from a very young age. I still use all they taught me. The only real change for me has been the rotary cutter, quilting rulers, and plastic templates. I shudder to think of going back to scissors, a yard stick and old newspaper. LOL
    I am basically a self taught quilter and for the most part sewer. I did my first sewing on doll clothes. Ironically my mother was a Home Economics major in the college she never completed. She let me have scraps of fabric that I used to make my doll clothes. I got my "formal" training in sewing in Home Eco in what was then junior high. I taught myself to sew and quilt. I am mostly a "hand quilter". I didn't even try machine quilting until I started making Linus quilts and other charity stuff. All of the quilting I have done for my personal use and items for those I know who will appreciate "hand" work is done by hand. I make a lot of use of my rotary cutter and use stencils to mark my items for quilting when necessary. I don't piece any more than I absolutely have to. My favorite is whole cloth quilting. I like to use pre marked fabrics or quilt around designs or images already printed on fabric. I am so good at it that I have several finished projects using preprinted designs that many assume are appliqued. I have an opposition to cutting up perfectly good fabric into little pieces and then sewing it back together before quilting it. I get twice as much done by not cutting up fabric only to sew it back together again.

  9. #9
    Member sophiebernina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    I learned to wet the eye of the needle instead of the thread. It does seem to help.
    This is something I have recently learnt and now I find it much easier to thread my needles.

  10. #10
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I never had a teacher when I started, but there are things that I've been doing all along: tie off and bury the threads; and, tear the fabric to get a straight grain before cutting out pieces.
    Lori

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  11. #11
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    For the most part I am self-taught. My mother taught me to sew, starting with doll clothes and graduating to clothes for me and my sisters. I fell in love with the patchwork quilts and started so decided I could do that and just started sewing them. Then I got an encyclopedia of sewing book and it had a section in it on quilting. That introduced me to the world of quilts and another friend told me about a class at the local adult school she was taking. She shared her information and I found some classes at the LQS. I am not sure if there is anything that holds with me because I have been doing it for so long now and can't remember specifically who taught me what. I do have a "Go For It" attitude - if I like it and there are written instructions I can pretty much figure out how to to do it. Some times even do it a bit easier than the instructions.

  12. #12
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    I started out knitting and crocheting at a very young age and did some embroidery. Mom got me an embroidery kit and I tried to practice stitches then work on a small hanky. Wasn't the best but was pretty good for a 10 year old. Wanted to take home ec in high school but was told no. Won't get into the why not. One day after school before my dad picked me up I went to a Woolworth's store and found a sewing book. I had $1.00 and it cost $.75. Hurried back to school and read the book on the way home. Got into my mother's sewing box for some extra needle and thread and made little things for my sisters' dolls. Found some old shirts of my Dad's and practiced stitching small tears and the 3 corner tears were the death of me. I saved babysitting money and birthday money until I was able to buy a god pair of scissors. I had to put everything into a bag in the back of our closet so my siblings wouldn't get into them and hurt themselves. I also had old shirts and blouses cut into shapes for different things. My scissors were in the bottom. One day my sister saw the old shirts and blouses in the bag and threw the whole bag away. After that it was a long time before I even touched a needle. My book and embroidery were also in the bag. After I had my first boy, I tried to crochet again, it was a disaster. My DH (current and last, lol) supports and encourages everything I choose to do. I guess it was about 12 years ago, I took up sewing and quilting. Basically self taught by watching videos and neighbors and the members on this board. A lot of emotional memories keep me from being as motivated as I would truly like to be but I do get some things done. I have started some things and finished some but lately barely starting.

  13. #13
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    My mom taught me to sew clothing items as a child, but I am self-taught as a quilter, so I never say "I was taught to" as a reason for doing something. I always have a good explanation for WHY I do WHAT I do. An example: I never press my bindings in half before sewing them to the quilt. I was never "taught" to, and I think they look much better and feel fuller than ironed bindings.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    My mom taught me to sew clothing items as a child, but I am self-taught as a quilter, so I never say "I was taught to" as a reason for doing something. I always have a good explanation for WHY I do WHAT I do. An example: I never press my bindings in half before sewing them to the quilt. I was never "taught" to, and I think they look much better and feel fuller than ironed bindings.
    I have always done better with a reason for doing - or not doing - something, too.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Daffy Daphne's Avatar
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    One of the best things I was taught (from a book) is to cut and sew pieces for only one block, to test and see if they fit together properly and to be sure it was a block I wanted to make multiples of. Several times this advice has stood me in good stead.

    Daffy

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    I learned from watching my Mennonite mother and two older sisters. I was about 12 when I was allowed to sit by the quilt frame and quilt. I learned to chain piece by machine that I still use today and the use of templates, grain of fabric, how to straighten fabric that was uneven when folded shelvedge to shelvedge, judging a yard of fabric from nose to arm extended, learned the names of fabrics, how to make my own quilt frames, baptist fan quilt marker from cardboard, and so much more.
    At 80 years old I have learned there is always more to learn.

  17. #17
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    Oh, yeah. The several times I have not done this, "make one before cutting every thing" rule, I've been sorry about it.

  18. #18
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    When I was 15, my aunt taught me a brief lesson in hand piecing. Fifty years later when I took up quilting -- no lessons. I have learned the same way I have learned everything else, books, lots of books, and now the internet. I find I learn more using this method.
    Aurora

    "A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot." -Robert A. Heinlein

  19. #19
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    My mother always sewed. I did not have a 'store bought' dress until I was 16. My sisters remember learning to sew clothing at home--I don't. But I must have absorbed a lot of knowledge by osmosis because I feel I have always known how to use 2 or3 patterns to make a piece of clothing. My mother did not 'quilt' but did make whole cloth bed spread type quilts for my sisters and brother as part of their Hope Chests. It was my middle sister who got me into quilting about 10 years ago and I cannot thank her enough. She encouraged me to take a class from a LQS. My first instructor was wonderful and we made a 6 block sampler, starting with a basic nine patch then going on to HST's, paper piecing and applique. She taught us about safe rotary cutting, 1/4 inch seams, pressing NOT ironing, pressing to one side--which was hard for me to grasp since I really had only sewn clothing.

    I felt so honoured a few years ago, when my 20-something year old niece asked me to teach her to sew. My own DD refuses to have anything to do with a sewing machine but my two DGD's WILL sew and quilt because Nana is going to teach them. They love to sit on my lap and watch me chain piece or mend or just do anything with the magical machine.
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  20. #20
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    I'm a self-taught sewer who transitioned into quilting. I have never had a quilting lesson so I guess I wasn't "taught" by anyone specifically. I feel like I learn continuously from info online and others in my quilting group and from experience. Isn't it fun that we never stop learning?
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    "The reward of a thing well done is having done it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  21. #21
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I taught myself how to quilt with the aide of my MIL whose eyesight was failing. She got me through the rough spots. But, I basicly took to it like a duck takes to water. I do however use the old methods with templates verses all the rulers and strip sewing.
    A finished quilt excites me!! Whether is it mine or yours!

  22. #22
    Super Member EmiliasNana's Avatar
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    My mom didn't sew a stitch, but my grandma did. She didn't quilt however, only tying wool whole cloth quilts for use in Wisconsin. Grandma did everything else however: crochet, rug hooking, embroidery, tatting (which she taught me), and made my doll clothes by hand, etc. When I was in grade school, I started making doll clothes for my Barbie and Skipper. No pattern, just cut and sew. They even had set in sleeves. Between 6th grade and Jr. Hi. my girlfriends mom taught us to make an A-line skirt. In Jr. Hi. and High School I took every home economics class
    offered. In college I majored in Home Economics and made everything from bathing suits to dress coats. I like baking which probably was the attraction to my husband LOL, but sewing was always at the top of the list! I made clothes for our kids, smocked dresses for our daughter, did all sorts of needlework crafts throughout my life (starting with macrame LOL, counted cross stitch, knitting etc), made tied whole cloth quilts like grandma, but didn't quilt. I took a few "adult quilting classes" at a community college when my kids were little but didn't like the templates, hand piecing or quilting, even though I love to embroider. Go figure. My quilting only took off when I finally got a better machine and heard you could use a walking foot and actually quilt by MACHINE. When I lived alone in our retirement house for three years, waiting for my husband to actually retire, I quilted day and night. That was in 2009. One of the things I was taught that I can't eliminate, even though it adds bulk to my seams, is to backstitch at the beginning and end of a seam! I was a clothing sewer too long. I even do it on chain piecing. One thing I regret following was: never touch the bobbin tension! That prevented me from feeling comfortable using my serger. Once I took a serger class, probably in 2013, the serger finally was used and I got the courage to buy a Tiara mid-arm and constantly adjust the tension based on the thread used. Silly things but somethings are hard to shake. Now quilting is my passion!

  23. #23
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    I was self taught, once shows started I could see where I needed to unlearn old habits.
    To put the time and energy and money into a quilt, why not make it your best work?

  24. #24
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I took a 6 week quilt course about 10 years ago, my first experience with quilting but with over 40 years of sewing. I still follow everything I was taught, except I do not wash my fabric anymore (unless it bleeds on my test paper). I think sewing with a scant 1/4 seam, pressing all my seams and measuring my blocks are the most important things. I have learned much more from my magazines, the Q board and just being around quilters. I think it's really important to change your needles and blades quite often and to always keep your sewing machine spotless. I have 3 generations of carpenters in my family and I think the important thing I learned was 'measure twice, cut once'.

  25. #25
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    I learned by Osmosis - watching my elders. My mother taught me to make clothes. I took Home Ec in high school, but was already a better seamstress than the teacher so I learned there was not only one way to do things. When I make quilts I just do what "feels right". Sometimes I do things one way and sometimes I do a different way.
    Shirley in Arizona

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