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Thread: Need Your Help in Basics of Quiltmaking

  1. #26
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    What a response. Thank you all. Keep it going. I do appreciate this feedback.
    I read this quote somewhere...."No matter your level of workmanship one can always improve by going back to the basics".

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    What a response. Thank you all. Keep it going. I do appreciate this feedback.
    I read this quote somewhere...."No matter your level of workmanship one can always improve by going back to the basics".
    isn't that the truth!
    I have found a NEW book that is just amazing for beginner's. It comes out of the UK and chock full of VITAL information in the learning processes.
    I have in the past always recommended Fons & Porters in the SPIRAL bound version if you can find it!
    http://www.amazon.com/Quilters-Compl...0217624&sr=1-6

    HOWEVER, while this is a fantastic book, and goes the distance on starting to finishing your quilt, it does lack the newer terminology and charts that are available today. That is where this new book comes in. It is amazing. By Linda Clements, it is the BEST teach all book I have found in the last 5 years!

    http://www.amazon.com/Quilters-Bible...0217767&sr=1-1

    I have only had this book for a few weeks and I am still reading through all the info, but at this point, I think I can safely say it is worthy of ANY quilter's book shelf!

  3. #28
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    Teach your students how to use online resources, and how to separate the good from the bad and the ugly.

    I began making quilts about 18 months ago, and I got a lot of my first help from this site. At the time, I was trying to skip the basics, and some patient QB members set me straight. (I must also give credit to Harriet Hargrave's books, Quilter's Academy, though I've only truly studied the "Freshman Year.")

    I've read through many of the tutorials offered here and at other sites and bookmarked a number of them. (I've even made a Cathedral Windows quilt following Eddie's tutee.) YouTube has also been very helpful for learning certain techniques, such as how to sew a Y seam. I've read tutorials at other sites, and sometimes they're wonderful, too.

    After I got beyond that totally beginner stage, what I've particularly appreciated about the QB is that, when I've come across an intriguing pattern or book or tutorial, I've been able to post questions about it here, and have always received thoughtful, knowledgable responses.

    Another way to use the internet as a resource is to look at the ratings at amazon.com. If a particular quilting book is really good, you can usually tell by the ratings. I usually read only one or two of the positive ratings and then focus on the negatives. If those negative comments relate to things that might bother me ("directions are confusing," "requires skills I don't have," "poor graphics,") I leave it alone.

    When I am a beginner at anything, I crave information and support. I need a place where I can get answers to my most basic questions. So in addition to teaching your students about how to sew a scant 1/4" seam and how to cut strips that don't bow, I recommend teaching them where to get help and/or inspiration when they need it.

    Just my $.02

  4. #29
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    If I could learn anything, it would be how to make flying geese. Mine look horrible. And I love star quilts and have some kits that need flying geese, but I won't make them because it's torture to see what they look like after I spend so much time cutting correctly, sewing 1/4", pressing and then they are warped. Also, I lose my points. I am working on a quilt and I had to sew 1/8" so I wouldn't lose my points. If I could master the flying geese and not lose my points, I could make so many more blocks. I'm limiting myself because of, could it be, cutting on the bias? Other people make flying geese and don't lose their points, so why do I when I go slow and try so hard. I've been quilting since 1992. I took a 12 week beginner's class where we picked out all the fabric for the quilt and then each week we made one block. It also went from easy to hard. I learned so much from that class. I see now they offer a 4 block beginner's class at my LQS. What can you learn from making 4 blocks? And they charge $50 for the class. It's crazy. When I took my beginner's class, we had the whole quilt sewed together at the end. That's important. And we had borders to put on too. But still, flying geese and losing points are what I would love help with.
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  5. #30
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    I would recommend a notebook of examples - cloth pages, one page each of correct seams, intersections, flying geese,curved pieces, appliques bindings, etc.instead of finished blocks. One technique per page. That way the technique can be referred to no matter what block is being sewn.

    That's the way my sewing lessons were done when I bought my first sewing machine and the example book which I created in class was invaluable.
    Last edited by TanyaL; 02-25-2012 at 05:59 PM.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnitaSt View Post
    There is such a "Zen" to the process that many newer quilters miss out on.
    OH Yeah....ZEN for sure....and in those days when you your ZEN if off....no when to walk away...ehhehehe

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    I would recommend a notebook of examples - cloth pages, one page each of correct seams, intersections, flying geese,curved pieces, appliques bindings, etc.instead of finished blocks. One technique per page. That way the technique can be referred to no matter what block is being sewn.

    That's the way my sewing lessons were done when I bought my first sewing machine and the example book which I created in class was invaluable.
    I think that this is a fabulous idea!! I think in teaching beginners, you have to straddle two things: the desire of the beginners to make something fabulous quickly; and the desire of the teacher to make sure that they master the basics, the foundational skills that will serve them well in the future.

    I admire you for taking this on. I assume that your students will be mixed in their experience and skill level! Would they all be willing to create this type of book, and let you honestly critique each page, and do it over again until you pronouce it very good? I don't know.

    Good luck!

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  8. #33
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    [QUOTE=LeslieFrost;5008643]I think that this is a fabulous idea!! I think in teaching beginners, you have to straddle two things: the desire of the beginners to make something fabulous quickly; and the desire of the teacher to make sure that they master the basics, the foundational skills that will serve them well in the future.

    I think this is because most shops that offer classes only offer project classes...the people who sign up for the classes are not required to have any skills yet. Just the $ and time to take the class.

  9. #34
    Junior Member lynnegreen's Avatar
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    I wish I had had a teacher for my basics quilting class who had the will and the want to have taught us like you are proposing. I am sure, even after quilting for almost 30 years that there is tons I "don't get".
    Lynne

  10. #35
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    Patrice, you are spot on

    At my most recent workshop, our instructor had a set of strips for everyone to ensure they are getting their 1/4" seam accurate - and recommended that you have a stack of these ready for every time you sit down to sew, to make sure you *still* have a good 1/4" seam. You can end up making a cute rail fence out of these test strips. Two colours, three strips - 2" x 5". Finished block should be 5" square.

    And my best friend - Starch!
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  11. #36
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    [QUOTE=jaciqltznok;5008656]
    Quote Originally Posted by LeslieFrost View Post
    I think that this is a fabulous idea!! I think in teaching beginners, you have to straddle two things: the desire of the beginners to make something fabulous quickly; and the desire of the teacher to make sure that they master the basics, the foundational skills that will serve them well in the future.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeslieFrost View Post


    I think this is because most shops that offer classes only offer project classes...the people who sign up for the classes are not required to have any skills yet. Just the $ and time to take the class.
    that's why I haven't taken any classes. Can't stand the idea of learning to make someone else's quilt instead of learning to make my own. Just because it would have my choice of fabrics and my effort would not make it "mine". It would still be a copy.

  12. #37
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    I LOVE your questions/inquiries and thought to present some ideas for you.

    [QUOTE=TanyaL;5007799]Due to lack of knowledge when I want curved blocks (not pieces of blocks) I have to default to appliques on top of square blocks. Is there basic knowledge for making curved blocks, curved lines in a somewhat traditional looking quilt?

    Yes, the basic knowledge is to know that curves are rarely sharp as you must know how to make the threads/fibers of the fabric MOVE as it were. This is an interesting practice piece.
    http://www.straw.com/quilting/articles/curvy9patch.html

    I would like to know the why of things - why are seams 1/4"?
    Over the years it was discovered that when "hand piecing this was the allowance that withstood the best wear, had the best ease of handling, the best matching up of points, etc.

    why are quilts built along grid lines?

    Not ALL quilt are! However if I were to wager a guess, I would say that is because people handle Squares easier!
    I suppose it is more to do with MATH than anything else though.


    why do most people like sharp contrast of color and distain low contrast unless they are watercolor quilts?

    I think this is more about Marketing or personal taste really. I LOVE color, but NOT pastel or watercolor! Once the "market" is flooded with a certain color, then suddenly your eye tells your mind that you must LOVE it..or in the case of this years UGLY golden mustard color, HATE it..heheheh

    Why are hodgepodge color selections of scrappy quilts considered by some preferable to careful color schemes that are more harmonious with color theory?

    Again, personal choice. Though not all scrappy quilts are created equal, as not all color scheme are executed well! Personal choice/preference really. I love scrappy, but have seen a few that were just a hodge podge and hard on the eyes! Same with color schemes..not every purple monochromatic quilt is the same!

    Why is texture in a quilt not a good thing usually?

    Who said? where would crazy quilts, wool quilts, flannel, scrappy or applique quilts be without texture?

    Why do LQS often offer a beginning class that just teaches a person how to make someone else's quilt pattern?

    Because not all teachers are designers? And not all designers are teachers..(trust me on that one)

    Why are bindings almost always just a flat piece of fabric along the edge, seldom a ruffle or a ruche a pleat or anything else?

    The most logical answer..TOE hangers...I have seen those lovely Prairie point edgings pull the binding right off of a quilt when it got caught in the wheel of the stroller! NOT pretty! Smooth edges last longer!

    I hope that helps to entertain some more thoughts!
    Last edited by jaciqltznok; 02-25-2012 at 06:40 PM.

  13. #38
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I would love for someone to teach me the math involved in figuring HST and such....I can't tell you how many times I've tried to get the correct measurement for a HST and it ends up the wrong size....I really hate buying patterns when I can see it and how it needs to be done, but can't figure the right size before starting.

  14. #39
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    [QUOTE=TanyaL;5008684]
    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok View Post

    that's why I haven't taken any classes. Can't stand the idea of learning to make someone else's quilt instead of learning to make my own. Just because it would have my choice of fabrics and my effort would not make it "mine". It would still be a copy.
    BUT, having said that....in this thread we are explaining just WHY you do need to take that class...so that you can gain the SKILLS to design and be creative! DO you think Carol Bryer Fallert or Holice Chaterlain started out with the quilts they are making now???...Hardly....BUT, they did learn the basic, underlying skills that are needed to bring out the creativity inside of each of us!

    So you take a class to make a rail fence or a sample (which is the best) and you learn...you ask the "WHY" questions, you keep a notebook with notes and samples and thoughts that are in your head..and when all is done, you walk away SKILLED and with the knowledge that you CAN create YOUR designs!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckeye Rose View Post
    I would love for someone to teach me the math involved in figuring HST and such....I can't tell you how many times I've tried to get the correct measurement for a HST and it ends up the wrong size....I really hate buying patterns when I can see it and how it needs to be done, but can't figure the right size before starting.
    This sort of explains it, the pictures do help, BUT, why 7/8", I use 1" and the square my HST down to the correct size!
    http://raevenfea.com/learning/how-to...are-triangles/

  16. #41
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    No, Jacquie. The skills to be creative or how to design or not taught in how to sew a 9 patch block or a similar type. They are taught in a design class, a color theory class. Those classes are university level and many of us have had several of them. What we are talking about here are the basics quilting skills in manipulating fabric so that points don't end up in your seam, that flying geese fly in only the direction you want to send them. So that if you want a curved seam, it will lie flat and not bunch. You are talking tricks and tips so that a beginning doesn't spend 5 years learning how to keep the beginning of their fabric from being eaten and pushed into the needle hole. You aren't talking about how to be creative, how to develop an eye for color, to learn shades, tints, hues, tertiary values, complimentary colors, etc. You're talking about how to use your sewing machine or your needle, your iron, your cutting tool, etc.

    But most LQS don't teach these things. They teach "Do this, do that, if your block looks somewhat like mine it is a success. Next class we will make a quilt out of another book.'"Now you are a quilter. Come for another class."
    Last edited by TanyaL; 02-25-2012 at 07:05 PM.

  17. #42
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    When I learned, it was assumed machine quilting would be done, so for me I'd like to master hand quilting. Two other areas I've had to seek out info on was mitered binding and correct way to square up your blocks and quilt top. It's wonderful you plan to teach.

  18. #43
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    Many will disagree with me and that is okay, but I feel color is worth taking a few minutes during your refresher course to discuss. I see so many quilts that would be absolutely gorgeous if more thought had gone into fabric selection. I am not talking about a graduate course, but I would discuss the basic color wheel elements.
    Sadiemae

  19. #44
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    Agree with the binding suggestion and the squaring up. I can square up the small blocks but the large ones still get to me. Borders are important to take the three measurements (top bottom middle).

    The tough thing about teaching that I have found is that you often have opposites in class. the one who is way way too nutty about being exact (important to be precise but don't go crazy) and the other one who says, "Oh you know me, I don't want to worry about being exact. Close is good enough." Hard to balance those two out. The exact one gets hung up and the 'not-to-worry' one can't finish because nothing fits.

    Good luck.
    Dot in Oregon

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    I think it is important to point out and then emphasize that all rulers and cutting mats are not created equal. That was a real eye opener for me. The variation in my personal mat and ruler is a lot. Without this knowledge, all the care in measuring and cutting is for naught.

  21. #46
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    I learned with the scrap make it work method. Mom wanted quick and warm, being very poor we used old anything fabric. To make a little money to do better I started with sheets and made what I call two tone everyday quilts. Some of them are still around nearly ten years later. I started learning the Heirloom Quilt making about three months ago . Here and library books.

    I would like for a teacher to see whats available at the local library so you can spend a few minutes filling in what is NOT there with advice on where to find whats missing. Maybe a handout sheet?
    don't stop!just keep trying and something usable will turn out!!

  22. #47
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hinterland View Post
    I never took a class, so I probably don't have the best suggestions, but I think learning how to draft a quilt block would help a lot of new quilters.

    Janet

    Great idea. It's simple for me seems to be foreign to so many here.
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  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    I have found most of my skills from either trial and error (lots of error) or in tutorials that are now available on the computer. Trying to teach or improve my math skills this late in life for me would be a lost cause. If I was lousy at it when my mind was young and fresh, I can't see me getting better now.
    If you could offer different lectures to go along with what level people think they are at, that would be helpful. I do know some stuff and would be bored with a lecture teaching the basics. For people just starting into quilting, "the basics" would be invaluable! If you're going to learn, you might as well learn correctly from the start.

    Perhaps you sell yourself short by thinking you can not learn math skills late in life. Maybe if you look at it as cooking------a cup of this, a half a cup of that--------you might discover you have the skills tucked away somewhere, unused.
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  24. #49
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    Another hint is to remind students how to look at almost any quilt block as a set of components that are in themselves quite simple. For example, the carpenter's wheel is simply a bunch of HST with a few solid blocks. That's where to start, ONE section that is a simple HST.

    Also, perhaps, how to convert a fairly simple block of HST to a much more complex looking log cabin blocks. I've done this quite often with baby quilts. Quite simply, if you can make a log cabin block, you can do this easily.
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  25. #50
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    I have trouble squaring blocks...still do not totally understand it.

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