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Thread: Need Your Help in Basics of Quiltmaking

  1. #101
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I learned back in the 'olden' days and believe me I like making quilts the 'modern' way. I think all blocks would be perfect if made larger and trimmed down. Most 'experts' do not make quilts, just think they know the 'right' way to make them. I make my quilts to suit me, pattern or not, colors I like, etc. I have not made any heirloom quilts and I don't plan to. My quilts are for warmth, I thought that was what the whole idea was.I think the most important thing is to make them to please the maker.
    Another Phyllis
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  2. #102
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    For me it is making sure to measure every step of the way, recheck cut pieces before and during block construction because material stretches while sewing, pressing no matter how careful you are. If your pieces are not accurate during construction, they will also be off at completion of blocks. Check and recheck is my motto.

  3. #103
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    My beginning quilt teacher in California taught us to look at a block and decide which pieces you could put together easily with straight seams and do that all the times they appear in the block, then decide which pieces you could add to those, etc. and because of that teaching, I have never been intimidated by any complicated block, and I have used that method in teaching my students, too.

  4. #104
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janRN View Post
    I started quilting in the "olden days" and learned with templates and scissors. Still do this occasionally. The thing I have the most trouble with is cutting long, straight strips. After years of fighting those crooked areas (dog legs?) I still get them. I fold, refold, press, line up, square up, pray, cut, and they still show up. Maybe this is too basic for your class but wow, would I like to know the secret of straight cuts. Especially when the strips are narrow, say 1 1/2" to 2 1/2" wide by WOF or LOF.
    That would be a great class to take. Learning rotary cutting & sewing a 1/4" seam - is a big help

    The first class I took, was not long enough to go over everything - only 3 classes - 3 hrs each - we had to do a lot of quilting at home to get it done - quilt project was very basic - various stipes sewn together than cut into 12" blocks.
    Next quilt made me realize the power of the 1/4" seam

  5. #105
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    On binding, it took me a long time to accomplish a good binding on a quilt.
    1. I wash fabric as soon as I bring it home on light cycle and dry in dryer. Remove dried fabric and fold the fabric in half opposite the way it comes off the bolt..salvage to salvage edge holding the fabric at the center of the cut. let it hang loose, and when it is hanging straight from the center..thats where you make your center line press. The ends maybe uneven thats ok. Once you have pressed the fabric with Spray Starch you can cut the bottom of the fabric on the straight of the grain at the bottom. then fold the fabric in half and in half again. you are now ready to cut your strips and the will be straight.
    2. cut strips to desired wideth. I use 2 1/2 in standard cut.
    3 double the fabric and spray starch and iron. I put the fabric wrong sides together on pressing matt and put in thru a large safety pin which holds your fold more easily. spray starch before you press. hold fabric with left hand and pull thru under the iron on the other side of the safety pin with fabric coming thru it.
    4. USE A WALKING FOOT to sew down the binding right sides together onto the front of the quilt 1/2 inch from the straight edge of the quilt. Start sewing 5 or 6 inches from the corner, also leave as much slack in your binding to work with when you get back to the beginning. { You must square up the quilt before you apply the binding}
    5.Corners can be mitered by sewing up to the corner of the quilt to 1/4th inch. Flip binding up to top of quilt. turn quilt. lay down binding to go the new direction of the quilt. Start sewing again coming down the edge 1/4in., back stitch a few stitches to the edge of the corner and then continue down the the next corner and repeat for all the corners.
    6Iron the binding seam like you would any other seam. back and front the mitered corners will fall into place when you press them out with iron.
    6 Hand stitch your binding down to the back of the quilt. I use a invisible applique stitch.
    Hope this may help some one else.

  6. #106
    Senior Member anita211's Avatar
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    Hi Holice,

    First, I love the wholecloth quilts that you design. I have made several, and have a couple to go.

    I guess that I would like to have down to earth hand quilting classes. I keep hearing even now that the stitiches must be like 9 - 10 stitches to an inch, and that overwhelms me, and I imaging a lot of others that do hand quilting. I have an Amish imspired top to quilt by hand, and want to do the best I can so that it becomes something of an article to pass down for posterity, not just something that I 'whipped' together because I could.

    Thanks much.

    Anita

  7. #107
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    I would like to visually see ALL the steps that are involved in converting a quilt top into a quilt. No one actually shows the various basting methods and their pros/cons for use in a home. It's somehow assumed that you know this in the directions, "Quilt as desired." I greatly enjoyed Holice's "Quilt as desired" video. Now I'd like something similar for basting a quilt.

    - straight pins with protector (e.g. Pinmoors), safety pins, spray/glue, thread basted with thread, wash away thread, etc).
    - on table or floor (using tapes & various kinds of clamps or pins), basting in a frame, with pieces of wood like Sharon Schamber, etc).
    - how do I physically handle all of this?
    I guess there could be a series of classes just on this topic.

    I also like the idea of learning about drafting quilts and quilt blocks.
    Bev in TX

  8. #108
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    When you fussy cut fabric to get just the right pattern in your piece, frequently you have a bias piece although the piece might actually be a square. Tell us how to best handle that.
    Last edited by TanyaL; 02-27-2012 at 12:44 PM.

  9. #109
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    Yes for sure how do you get them straight all the time without the fuss or fight?

  10. #110
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    I am completely self taught and have picked up different ways of doing the cutting, sewing, and general quilt making. I have learned a hodge podge of techniques but not enought of anyone to be consistant to create a great quilt. Would love to know the basics on accurate cutting, drafting, color, and piecing. It would be so nice not to have mismatched pieces, or elbows in the long strips. I couldn't go to classes but I could certainly take an on-line class if offered at a reasonable price.

  11. #111
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    Based on many of the questions posted on the board, many novice quilters have little background in any type of sewing. So I would try to cover the basics. What are fabrics made from and how are they made? aka why you should cut your borders on the lengthwise grain, why bias edges will stretch, why the outside edges of your block should be in grain. Then what are the basic techniques used in quilting, with examples of each--applique, piecing, paper piecing and foundation oiecing, to name some. How are pieced blocks constructed? Why do you usually press the seam allowance to one side and when would you not do it? Graph paper and pencils to design a block or two that is relatively simple can teach a lot. Templates may be old fashioned, but they illustrate why you use a square 7/8 bigger than the finished size to result in two sets of half square triangles. Once you understand what you're doing, you can use the tools much more effectively than just hearing "Line it up on this line and cut". A sampler is perfect to teach a variety of techniques.

    And then is machine vs hand piecing and quilting. Oh, and how to put on a binding.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day.

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  12. #112
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    I think it is important that people understand the grain of the fabric, what cutting fabrics on different grains does for a quilt, cutting borders on the wrong grain, etc. Also important not to use the salvage as part of the cut block. Learning the correct way to press, correct process of which direction to press etc. Safety is an important process also, wearing shoes not barefeet or sandals when using rotary cutters, changing rotary blades, closing the blades, etc. I also wear safety glasses (yes, over my glasses) when I sew due to problems with broken needles or all the embellishments I use.

    I learned to quilt without anyone else, no quilting store, no books, etc. and then I had to relearn. When I learned by myself, I was handstitching and I had a very fine stitch, no way to take it apart. I had no idea what a fat quarter was, how to use a rotary cutter, no idea 1/4" seam was required. I survived, but the quilt police were out for me .
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  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S View Post
    One aspect that confuses and is a lesson often learned the hard way .. is the understanding of fabric grain and how and when its important.
    The other issue I see with beginners is color... They finish a quilt but wonder why theirs does not have the "zip" of what they see either hanging in the shop , magazines, shows etc. It was a HUGE light bulb moment for me in my quilting journey after attending International , was color and using it effectively.
    I started quilting about 1991 but was overwhelmed with how much there was to learn. I agree that fabric grain is so important. What I finally learned about color, is find a print that you love and pull the colors out from them and sometimes the smallest bit of color in a print will be what makes it pop if you include it. One of my beginning classes I had a shop owner help me with my fabric and she chose a yellow polka dot. I didn't like yellow nor polka dots but that was what made the wall hanging pop!
    quilting with my dogs

  14. #114
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    thread --- there's too little information in quilt books about what good thread is, how to buy good thread, and why thread quality is important. I recently did a cost analysis of popularly used threads and the "expensive" ones, to show that what looks like a better buy is actually costing us more. I shared it with my guild. If quilters settle for what the chain stores offer and don't request better thread, it won't be made available.
    johans, Michigan's UP, Hiawatha National Forest West

  15. #115
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    I am a newbie and have enjoyed this discussion so much. Some say that the accuracy isn't critical because they are just making utility quilts. But I think it's like building a shelter: It's true you can just throw something together and it might keep you dry but if you know why and how to use your tools and materials you'll have a stronger more stable (and hopefully prettier) home for the same amount of time and money. Most people can't play music by ear, most of us have to learn the basics before we can make up our own tunes. Although I've made garments for years, I still want to learn the basics of quilting (quilting seems heavier in math) and I appreciate the tutorials and instructions offered here. Thanks to all of you I'm learning a lot.
    jean

  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeanharville View Post
    I am a newbie and have enjoyed this discussion so much. Some say that the accuracy isn't critical because they are just making utility quilts. But I think it's like building a shelter: It's true you can just throw something together and it might keep you dry but if you know why and how to use your tools and materials you'll have a stronger more stable (and hopefully prettier) home for the same amount of time and money. Most people can't play music by ear, most of us have to learn the basics before we can make up our own tunes. Although I've made garments for years, I still want to learn the basics of quilting (quilting seems heavier in math) and I appreciate the tutorials and instructions offered here. Thanks to all of you I'm learning a lot.
    I just LOVE all of your analogies! I always tell my kids, "just because you can, does not mean you should"! This applies to so many things in life! I believe everyone does what they can, but IF you learn the basics, the math, the science, then you can go play! BUT, it pays to know the ins/outs, rights/wrongs, etc...so that when play time is over you can rely on your skills to make something heirloom if you so desire!

  17. #117
    Super Member Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janRN View Post
    I started quilting in the "olden days" and learned with templates and scissors. Still do this occasionally. The thing I have the most trouble with is cutting long, straight strips. After years of fighting those crooked areas (dog legs?) I still get them. I fold, refold, press, line up, square up, pray, cut, and they still show up. Maybe this is too basic for your class but wow, would I like to know the secret of straight cuts. Especially when the strips are narrow, say 1 1/2" to 2 1/2" wide by WOF or LOF.
    Oh me too. I'm so glad I'm not the only one. Cutting strips is very hard for me unless I tape the ruler along the line I need to cut above and below the fabric...

  18. #118
    Super Member chuckbere15's Avatar
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    When I started I would have like to know about the following: grain of fabric, bias edges, pressing instead of ironing, how to use a rotary cutter, how to use a ruler (with all the markings), 1/4 in seam, starching, squaring up blocks, pressing blocks so they lock when sewn together, pinning, mitered corners (both for sashing and binding).
    The Quilting Bear

  19. #119
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    Along with all the basics of quilting i would stress not to skip a step. Pressing seams to side or open and measuring /squaring up as you go are very important.
    I am taking a class where everyone is making their own project but with many teachable moments. When someone doesnt know how to do something the teacher shows the whole class how. We learn a lot that way.
    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind see.
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  20. #120
    Super Member JoanneS's Avatar
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    !/4 inch seams, 1/4 inch seams, and 1/4 inch seams. Over and over and over till we get them right. This one thing is so importaant, and when we forget to do it, the whole quilt is messed up - wavey edges, puckery piecing, points that don't match, and we spend way too much tie with our 'favorite' tool doing the frog march. Teach that it's smarter to sew slowly. Piecing a quilt is not a race to see who finishes first. I make many more mistakes when I 'step on the gas than when I sew slowlly but sweetly! As soon as I put pressure on myself to 'get the done,' I'm going to be in trouble.

  21. #121
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    Another good thing to teach is no matter how much we quilt it is always good to read and educate ourselves. I had a question at our group and three different people gave me three different answers. Not sure which was right I got out some books andstarted reading. Found a lot of interesting information that I will use from now on. And none of them were right. By reading I now have the correct way of doing it.
    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind see.
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  22. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by zennia View Post
    Another good thing to teach is no matter how much we quilt it is always good to read and educate ourselves. I had a question at our group and three different people gave me three different answers. Not sure which was right I got out some books andstarted reading. Found a lot of interesting information that I will use from now on. And none of them were right. By reading I now have the correct way of doing it.

    Would you share what was your question?

  23. #123
    Junior Member oldbalt99's Avatar
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    See if you find the history of the one quarter seam allowance. Who started it, when it began, and why?
    Nothing beats a try but a failure.
    We all fall short of the mark.

  24. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by regina1062 View Post
    As a beginner and with the type of person I am I want to know it all. I dont understand somethings and really want to.I'm like a kid and have to know all the "whys" lol. Why do you cut this way and not that or why do you have to put a binding on something? How do you know which is right? How do you pick fabric? I can go on forever but like I said I need to know it all lol
    I too am a beginner, thought i could learn from buying books and watching others and trail and error. Boy what errors. Finally one of the books spoke about grain and weft and selvedge. Who knew? Now am on the right track but my cutting is wonky. bought a rotary cutter because you could see each cut with my scissors. thought since i bought a sewing machine to save money on having to send out my needlepoints to be completed by someone else i might as well learn to quilt. I don't even know enough to ask what i need to know. This thread has explained more than the 5 books, pretty tho they be. And informative.

  25. #125
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    Discuss the wash the fabrics before cutting or not to wash them issue - perhaps show some washed and unwashed - discuss the why or why not to wash- - -

    Discuss fabric - how it's made - terminology - selvages, grains, bias, - show/compare different types/kinds of fabrics - we are exposed to many types of fabric, but few of us know what the various types are - knits (which can vary from zero stretch to lots of stretch) - different types of weaves - denim/twill weave vs. a "regular" weave, etc.

    It's a bit difficult to condense years of knowledge and learning into a few hours.

    Maybe a list of books that are especially helpful - Quilts! Quilts! Quilts! is on my list - that one can refer to

    A few good tools are better than a bunch of junky ones. Perhaps a reminder that "in olden times" people made lovely quilts by hand with very few of the tools/toys that we have now.

    I grew up in an era where home ec was still taught in school - and the women all sewed -

    Now it seems that for some people the whole thing is completely "new" - and it is necessary to learn "from the very beginning" - think of it the same way little kids learn arithmetic.

    By the way, my grandkids made paper quilt "blocks" when they were in second grade. The kids did a good job.
    Last edited by bearisgray; 04-23-2012 at 03:30 PM.

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