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Thread: Need to Stop Quilting by Check Book - Your suggestions please

  1. #1
    mosaicthinking's Avatar
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    I'm a new quilter (or more correctly a new piecer) with a regular domestic sewing machine that you can drop the feeddogs on.

    This morning I dropped my latest quilt off to the long arm quilter and I know she'll do a great job for me. But the price will be $118. I can't keep on paying that kind of money for quilting!

    Would appreciate any tips you can give me on how to make the big leap to doing my own quilting - I'm thinking of maybe combining machine and hand quilting as a starting point. I stitched in the ditch on my very first (cot) quilt but have been too scared so far to quilt anything bigger myself. I'm mostly worried about how handle a large volume of fabric.

    Where should I start? Any books, tutorials, videos you can point me to? Do I need a hoop?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    Welcome to the board. I suggest you look at some of the you tube videos,they have some great lessons on there. Make sure you are comfortable with the pinning or basting of your quilt first. If you don't have this step covered you will have a hard time of the quilting. If you would like you can pm me and I can get you started and help you through each step.

    Brenda

  3. #3
    tooMuchFabric's Avatar
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    Just get started on some scrap/samples, and stitch stitch stitch! You will pick up the skill.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    If you can, extend your sewing table to the left of your machine. Either with another table, or perhaps an ironing board. This will take a lot of the weight of a larger quilt and let you move it around under the needle easier.

    I also found that rolling a quilt didn't work for me. My machine is against a wall, and a roll really needs space behind your sewing table so that it can drape over the edge. Now I 'puddle' the quilt under the needle, keeping a flat area by holding it with my two hands spread either side of the needle, before moving onto the next area. There are gloves you can wear with gripping dots on them to help with this, or you could try finger cots. There are also hoops/halo to help spread the fabric flat.

    I practiced my FMQ on smaller quilts that I made for Project Linus. I benefitted, so did the kids.

  5. #5
    Super Member Deecee's Avatar
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    You can sandwich a FQ or so of a large floral fabric and practice outlining the individual flowers and leaves then echo quilt around these again. This quickly gets you comfortable with moving the fabric around to follow a pattern and getting some control over your speed and where you are travelling.

    Gloves or finger cots are very helpful in gripping the fabric, but don't clutch the fabric just place your hands on it to guide it.

    Work a small, manageable area at a time and don't try to cover too large an area in one go.

    I'm sure you will receive plenty of advice and support from everyone here so go ahead and have some fun with this.

  6. #6
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    start small, make placemats or even pot holders and practice and as your stitches become more even and you can make some designs start getting larger and larger until you 'ease' into a bed sized quilt. it all takes practice but if you start small it will not take that long to be doing large quilts. there are some amazing quilters out there that manuver huge quilts on a regular sewing machines and do fabulous designs. just remember practice makes perfect.

  7. #7
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    Do you have a local quilt shop near you that has a machine quilting class? If you do that is my first recommendation. Secondly, get a book on machine quilting, and yes watch any videos or tutorials on the computer that you can.
    When you take a class, not only will you learn the basics, but teachers have so many wonderful tips to make it easier, and enjoyable!! I refuse to pay a long arm quilter, (nothing personal long arm quilters!), only because I feel its no longer my quilt! I like to put every stitch in it!

  8. #8
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I've never sent any of my quilts out to be quilted. I can't see putting that much money into a quilt as I made so many. You can stitch in the ditch, outline, & use paper templates pinned to the quilt to do leaves, etc. And then you can still still say that "you" made the quilt.

  9. #9
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Personally I'd hand baste the quilt with the board method (there's a link on here somewhere), buy a pair of gripper gloves at the grocery or hardware store and have at it. Start with a wall hanging or a lap quilt first, practice and don't be too critical of your own abilities. You can't expect to be as good as someone that does it all the time. Just keep at it and you'll get better. Get you a darning foot for your machine, that will help a LOT.

  10. #10
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    Just make a sandwich and practice, practice, practice, you will learn fast! Try different designs this way.

  11. #11
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    I agree with the above posts. My question is about your machine. What is the throat size (from the needle to the right side) of your machine. This is probably going to be the biggest factor. My old machine had a throat of only 5" and was a bugger to machine quilt larger items with. Still was able to SITD, outline, and grid but laptop size was the easiest to do.

    Gloves really are an important item. Get them to fit your hand snuggly. Loose ones will cause your arms to get tired much quicker.

    Just play!!! :-D

  12. #12
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    You might try "Quilt as you go" QAYG. Just google it or there might be a tutorial over in the Tutorial section of this form.

    I like the idea of large floral fabric and practice outlining the flowers.

    There's a website where a lady did 365 days of free motion quilting on a regular machine. Maybe someone on here can post the site.

    Don't be afraid to try something new.

    I can't remember if I saw it on Fons and Porter or read about it in one of their magazines. They took freezer paper and folded it in quarters, then eights, and cut a design, similar to making snowflakes. Keep it simple. Then they would iron it onto the fabric (shiny side down) and it would lightly stick to the fabric, then free motion quilt around the design.

    One of the most important thing to learn about machine quilting is pulling the bobbin thread up to the top. This keeps it from getting tangled on the bottom and creating a mess. If you don't know how to do it, get someone to show you. I don't know if there is a video on line or not.

    And remember, it does not have to be complicated to be beautiful.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Twilliebee's Avatar
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    These are my favorite links and tutorials on this subject. Hope they help:

    This first one is to a woman named Marguerite McManus. I've watched lots of her videos, and used many of her ideas. One is for setting up a machine quilting table at home for not much money with a sheet of insulation and piece of tablecloth plastic. Works great! http://www.crazyshortcutquilts.com/

    This link is to Leah Day's website: http://www.daystyledesigns.com/
    She's a great innovator and teacher of machine quilting and shares generously with links and videos. One of her simplest tips is how to get better control of your foot controller. I go to her often and hope to buy some of her products one day. I think she's already given the info for free, and those are the kind of people I like to support when I can!

    This link is for an awesome 'quilt as you go method' in the tutorials on this board, generously shared by K3N. It's readily adaptable to any pattern and I love the 'no hand-sewing' part. http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-36303-1.htm

  14. #14
    Lady Shivesa's Avatar
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    I'm a new quilter as well and was very afraid to try quilting myself. But I have found echo quilting (I like to use straight lines) is super easy.

    It's really not that bad once you get then hang of it. Like everyone says, just practice, practice, practice.

  15. #15
    Senior Member theoldgraymare's Avatar
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    http://daystyledesigns.com/365project4.htm

    This is the link to the site with the 365 different ways to free motion quilt.

  16. #16
    Super Member fireworkslover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl
    start small, make placemats or even pot holders and practice and as your stitches become more even and you can make some designs start getting larger and larger until you 'ease' into a bed sized quilt. it all takes practice but if you start small it will not take that long to be doing large quilts. there are some amazing quilters out there that manuver huge quilts on a regular sewing machines and do fabulous designs. just remember practice makes perfect.
    I agree with the above, start small and as you gain skill, increase the size of the quilt you work on. Placemats are great to start with or even before that, make some practice sandwiches from muslin or scrap fabric - say 12" X 12". Try using a contrasting thread color, so you can see your stitches. Then practice, practice and practice some more. I also puddle my quilt around the needle and spread my fingers out so that area right around the needle is flat. I've used new garden gloves that have a coating on them, that's makes holding the fabric easy, but you can also use a hand sized piece of shelf liner instead. I just read about doing this, and that might be easier, since you don't need to remove a glove to tie a knot or thread the needle. There are many tutorials on here as well as on the web that show you, but the main thing is to just do it!

  17. #17
    np3
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    Make small pieces and practice......a lot.

  18. #18
    Kas
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    And not all machine quilting is freemotion. I like to mark grids on baby quilts or a chevron pattern. Then you use your feed dogs, not lower them. To get better at fmq-ing I used a sample block from the quilt I was planning and just kept practicing. I am still a little wonky on the freemotion stuff. After I had made my first quilt that had both fmq and grids, I took a class. I took it at my lqs, not at Joanns. Learned so much. So, take a class, meet new people, and just have fun!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Twilliebee's Avatar
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    Hey, Kas, love your avatar, love your signature line! Good stuff!

  20. #20
    mosaicthinking's Avatar
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    Thank you all so much for your advice. Starting out by quilting around a flower pattern on the fabric sounds like a really good idea and I will also check out the links you have posted. I really appreciate the helpful suggestions.

  21. #21
    Kas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twilliebee
    Hey, Kas, love your avatar, love your signature line! Good stuff!
    Thanks! I should show that quilt again since it has both fmq and walking foot quilting. That was baby #4's baby quilt.

    That isn't blue marking pen. The thread is pale blue.
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  22. #22
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
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    I also like Leah Day's 365 days of Free Motion Quilting
    http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/

    Somewhere on her blog it shows blocks of black fabric with white stitching, each block a different FMQ design. I think that would be a great way to practice AND then use it for a QAYG, either wall hanging or quilt.

    oh here it is
    http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.c...wednesday.html

    I plan on doing squares like that, maybe not all black fabric, I'll think on it.

    yes, quilting by check book can be quite pricey especially if we don't have unlimited cash flow.

    warm quilt hugs, sue in CA

  23. #23
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    Funny, I was going to suggest checking out Leah Day's site and theoldgraymare already suggested that.

    I just signed up for a series of classes on quilting (not piecing) and it builds from the straight stitch to FMQ and working with fancy threads and bobbin work. Hope it takes. lol

    Until now, I have limited my quilting to Stitch in the Ditch (on my regular machine) but I like that looks. Sometimes, I combined it with a tie in the center.

  24. #24

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    I too, have sent my quilts out to get quilted and they did a great job. Now I only send out quilts that are "special" the others I do. I break my quilts down into quarters and do section at a time. The area you're working on isn't much bigger than a child's size quilt. I'm almost ready to hit the "checkout" button on a frame.

  25. #25
    Senior Member stefanib123's Avatar
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    Make sure you get a walking foot. I just recently started machine quilting, too, and the walking foot is a necesscity!

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