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Thread: I'm afraid to quilt..(newbie)

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    I'm a newbie, just started making quilt tops in September 09.
    Have taken quilting classes at a LQS and have made 4 quilt tops. This may sound strange but they are just sitting pretty
    in their separate bags. I AM AFRAID TO TRY AND QUILT THEM! Are there any other newbies out there with the same fear? And all of you expert veteran quilters, did you have this fear as well?
    I've been reading about free motion quilting, bought a DVD that
    instructs you on this method, read lots of books on it, and that's about it. No notion to get started. Can't afford to have
    done for me. (my LQS does not offer classes on free motion quilting) Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I feel your pain! The quilting is the worst for me. I've done 3 tops and quilted two so far.

    Quilt #1 I did in the Fun and Done way. It looks as good as could be expected since I had no clue what I was doing.

    Quilt #2 is a bow tie pattern with alternating blank blocks. I just quilted X's across the blank blocks over the whole quilt. It looks pretty good, but certainly wasn't very brave of me.

    Quilt #3 is a pinwheel with sashing between the blocks. It is pinned and ready to go, but I just can't get going.

    All I can say is, you've got to take the plunge some day.

  3. #3
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    If you have the time, try hand-quilting one. It goes slower, but it's easier to catch mistakes before they get too big. Pick an easy quilting pattern, use a big hoop, and go for it :!:

  4. #4
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    Take one of them that has lots of straight lines and stitch in the ditch or stitch 1/4" away from the ditch on the side without the seam for easier stitching. I still have a hard time with FMQ but am told practice makes it better. Just make sure to start at the center and work out toward borders. Leave a couple of inches of batting & backing beyond the top since the quilting process with "take it up". Just go for it and we will all cheer you on.
    Wendy

  5. #5
    Super Member ranger's Avatar
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    I,too,feel your pain.I've been quilting for a while and I still dread the actual quilting part. I have to force myself to do it. Like you,I have no place where I can take a class and I can't afford to have them sent out.

  6. #6
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    First of all, pat yourself on the back that you have completed those tops. And welcome to the UFO group. lol

    What patterns did you make? Do they have nice straight lines where you could do SID (Stitch in the ditch)? That would be my recommendation for you. Try SID. It is the method I use most, because I am still afraid of FMQing.

    My first quilt that got SID'd was full of little puckers, because that was the best I could do at the time. The recipient loved it and still uses it. Nobody noticed the puckers. I still have trouble staying right in the ditch, so I renamed the stitch to MAD (Meandering around ditch)

    So what is the worst that could happen? Common, you can do it. The key is do keep the sandwich taught and baste thoroughly. THere are some nice Youtube tutorials online to help show how to sandwich, what to consider when basting, how to pin......

    My machine has a special foot for SID and that helped, but it is not necessary.

    Now, if you have the money, you could find someone who rents Long-arm time and you can quilt it yourself on a longarm quilting machine. That eliminates a lot of the prep work. You just have to make sure that the batting and backing is large enough.

    If you mess up, you can pick the stitches and start over - but I bet you'll do just fine.

  7. #7
    Super Member redkimba's Avatar
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    Bah! Just pick one & go for it.

    I've grown up with family that quilts - quilt-tied quilts. I made a couple for folks who would be happy that it was done for them & wouldn't comment on the stitches.

    go for it. :)

  8. #8
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I love the quilting but I still have that time where I wonder if I can do this quilt top. It's normal. Just jump in and start.

  9. #9
    Super Member Lucky Patsy's's Avatar
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    I often am too afraid to try something I am less familiar with, but every time it has happened, once I finally do it, it never turns out to be as hard as I expected. And I am usually chagrined that I just didn't dig in and do it straight off.

    Try some smaller pieces first for practice and then pick your least favorite top and just go for it!

  10. #10
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    My very first quilt top (a sampler). Sat for a year before I finally worked up the courage to try quilting it. I sandwiched and pinned it for machine quilting, knowing virtually nothing about it (didn't even own a walking foot!). Quilted one block and it looked awful. My machine was an old JC Penney workhorse but it did not like quilting and skipped stitches like crazy. So I pulled it out and just started plugging away handquilting it. Yes it took a long time but I just quilted it while watching TV taking frequent breaks from it. Since then I have hand quilted a total of 3 bedsize quilts and am currently working on my fourth. I have also hand tied 4 queen size T-shirt quilts. For a frame of reference, I took up quilting in 1990. Yes it takes a couple of years for me to handquilt a bed size quilt. I work with a lap hoop. However, I now find it difficult to watch TV idle. In fact, if I didn't have some form of hand quilting or hand sewing available to me always, I'm afraid I would go into withdrawls! It is very therapuetic and as far as I know there is no time limit on how long you can take to complete a quilt. I have only FMQ smaller projects (wall hangings and table runners). All other machine quilting I have done (other than practice squares, which BTW are absolutely essential) has been either SID or straight line grids done with the walking foot. I have yet to attempt anything larger than twin size on my domestic machine but I know it can be done.
    So yes, I was afraid to actually quilt but once I took the plunge with hand quilting there was no turning back and I know it will be the same when I really sit down and practice seriously with FMQ other than meandering, straight lines and SID.

  11. #11
    Senior Member cminor's Avatar
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    Oh my gosh - I am right there with you. I did SID on my first, but I almost like to call them blankets since I feel like I did not really "quilt". Not to mention, no boarder, and no binding! And oh my, don't even try to find a straight line on the back of it!!!

  12. #12
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    I say, take to pieces of fabric, make a small sandwich with real batting, and practice. If you use a solid color fabric and contrasting thread you will be able to see your stitches and see if you are doing anything wrong. The quilting comes with practice. When I took my first and only machine quilting class I didn't even finish it. I walked out crying and din't go back. I didn't give up, and just kept practicing on my own and now the quilting is my favorite part. Keep practicing, you will get it soon. Make sure your machine is in good working order too.

  13. #13
    cande's Avatar
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    I'm a lot like that too, if I could just make the tops then hand them off to someone else to finish, I'd be a happy camper. But I guess you just have to jump in with both feet; remember, if you don't like the wy it's ending up, you can always rip the stitches out and start over.

  14. #14

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    Put together some placemats with batting and backing and anything you like for the top. Practice your quilting on them, and if they don't turn out so good, you can still use them (maybe not for company, though). Placemats are a good size to learn on, and you won't have wasted a bunch of fabric.

  15. #15
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    Just go for it! I like to use spray baste to nail it down to reduce puckers on the bottom side. There is a foot that most machines have (but you have to buy it separately)... and it is a "stitch in the ditch" foot. It has a flange that is right in the middle of it andthat flange runs right along the seam line. It has saved me lots of hours of frustration. If a new quilt foot is not an option, another idea is to use a very small zigzag stitch along the seam lines... this reduces the whole issue of missing the ditch. Some quilts look great quilted in straight lines using some of your machines decorative stitches. Mostly... just warm up on scrap for 5 minutes and then go for it. Post it when you are done so we can all ooh and ahh. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  16. #16
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat and pups
    Put together some placemats with batting and backing and anything you like for the top. Practice your quilting on them, and if they don't turn out so good, you can still use them (maybe not for company, though). Placemats are a good size to learn on, and you won't have wasted a bunch of fabric.
    Agreed. It will give you practice and raise your confidencd level for those quilt tops that are waiting.

    We all have gone through what you are experiencing. Just jump in and start. I'll bet you find it easier than you think! :thumbup:

  17. #17
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    I started on pillows, did tons of them. What you need to do is jump in there and practice.

  18. #18
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    Practice, practice, practice. Some people are real naturals at the quilting part. You might be one of those lucky ones. Just dive in on some scrap sandwiches and have some fun. I love watching this quilter's videos: http://www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/ She's one of those naturals!

  19. #19
    Senior Member vjengels's Avatar
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    You have a DVD on FMQ, start with that, make a small whole cloth quilt, maybe a doll quilt, or does your little dog, or cat need a blankey? sure some of it will look not so good, but they love us, and come on they lick they're butts..... practice on that, then when you feel ready, go at it. .... Maybe the real problem is you are stuck where most of us get stuck.. ' Quilt as desired' I don't know of another phrase that paralyzes a quilter more than that. pick something that relates to the quilt itself. Don't worry, you can't make a mistake... They're your quilts! Good luck

  20. #20
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    Just go for it, you will be glad you did. I have recently done four door quilts that are 40 x 80 pieced with the square in a square. I used a decorative stitch along the straight line and free motions meandering in the borders. That was the first time I had tried free motion. Since then I have quilted three quilts for kids and started on a twin size for my g-granddaughter.
    My ggd's quilt is a log cabin and I did a no-no. I started on the outside of the quilt and worked in to the middle. I only had enough basting spay to basted the top to the batting, so had to pin to the backing. Once I started quilting I pined heavily on the block I was quilting on and when finished moved those pin to the next block. By starting on the outside once I got the borders done I trimmed off excess batting and backing and that reduced a lot of bulk that I would have to get in the throat of the machine.
    I'm not recommending this process, but it worked for me and the quilt doesn't have any wrinkles on the back.

  21. #21
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    Thank you all for your words of encouragement. I will get started this weekend. I work full-time during the week so I
    want to be rested and refreshed when I start this venture. (lol)
    Its time.

    Again thank you all.

  22. #22
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    Go for it! I am a hand quilter experimenting with FMQ. It takes lots of practice.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doda
    I'm a newbie, just started making quilt tops in September 09.
    Have taken quilting classes at a LQS and have made 4 quilt tops. This may sound strange but they are just sitting pretty
    in their separate bags. I AM AFRAID TO TRY AND QUILT THEM! Are there any other newbies out there with the same fear? And all of you expert veteran quilters, did you have this fear as well?
    I've been reading about free motion quilting, bought a DVD that
    instructs you on this method, read lots of books on it, and that's about it. No notion to get started. Can't afford to have
    done for me. (my LQS does not offer classes on free motion quilting) Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Thank you.
    Just go ahead and do it. It's the only way to learn. We all started that way. Once you've done the first, the second will be easier..trust me. I agree with stitch in the ditch or 1/4 in from the seam for a start.

  24. #24
    iamsogone's Avatar
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    just go for it i am not an expert but i do know that feeling of fear so i just go forit and it isfine you will bring a whole new meaning to it when you get done

  25. #25
    Greendragon6889's Avatar
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    It can be very intimidating just thinking about it ..That's my least favorite part but can't afford any one else to do it for me so have to do it myself. I've learned to not sweat the small stuff and to believe my quilts are unique, not perfect...So go for it...you'll be fine.

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