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Thread: Nervous Beginner

  1. #1
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    Nervous Beginner

    I am totally new to quilting and very nervous about where to begin. I was wondering what the best project to begin with would be. I don't have a sewing machine so I will be doing the stitching by hand until I can get one. Also, what brand and type of machine is suggested?

  2. #2
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    Have you done any sewing before? I suggest you go to your local quilt shop (LQS) and see if they have a class..intro to quilting or quilting for beginners or something similar...or do you know a quilter perhaps that might be your mentor....or go to the local library and see if they have or can get thru their network some beginning quilting books.....my first quilt was a batch of squares I picked up at a garage sale...bored one night and sewed them together using 5/8" seam....showed it proudly to my neighbor the next day who was a seasoned quilter.....she took me under her wing and the story continues........20+yrs.....and still learning...eagerly! So don't rush into it blindly...it can be a lifetime experience.....and you are lucky to have this board and all the other things available today......

  3. #3
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    I piece and quilt by hand....I would suggest a table runner or project of similar style. It is what I started with and allows you to learn the different steps to making a quilt without having to make a bed sized quilt. I learned a lot from that project that will put me in good stead when I make a bed sized quilt. I hope you jump in soon, quilting is so enjoyable especially when done by hand. I don't have a machine so I can't help you there.

  4. #4
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I started with hand piecing because when I used the machine it was a big mess...nothing lined up, I didn't know about the 1/4 inch seam allowance, etc. The nice thing about hand piecing is you can take your project anywhere. As far as a machine, I would suggest going to a dealer and looking at used machines. I personally like Berninas, but others prefer other brands. My opinion would be to get a solidly made older machine that makes a nice straight stitch and maybe a few decorative stitches. I have many decorative stitches on my big machine, but really only use the steaight one, zig zag, and occasionally a buttonhole stitch. Have fun on your new quilting adventure!
    Lori

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  5. #5
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    Welcome from Ontario, Canada. You might be interested in hand stitching hexagons together. The hexagons are made into flowers for a Grandmothers Flower Garden pattern or can be hand stitched to a plain background fabric square. A simple Nine Patch block can be hand stitched from squares of cotton fabric and would be good for a beginner.
    To get familiar with quilting, check out the youtube videos by Jenny Doan for the Missouri Star Quilt Co.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jennie and Me's Avatar
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    Welcome! You are starting out on a wonderful journey. I hope that you can find someone to take you under their wing and help you get settled in. Wish you lived close to me, I'd love to help you. As far as a machine goes, I would try to buy an older machine. The older Singers are great...well built. The newer ones, not so much. One of my sewing buddies buys the lower priced Brothers at Wal-Mart and gets along just fine. Just what ever you are comfortable with. Have fun!

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I recommend starting at the library and reading up on quilt-making. Jinny Beyer is a famous hand-piecer, hand-quilter. If the library doesn't have her book(s) on the subject, make a request at the library desk.

  8. #8
    Super Member LindaM's Avatar
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    Welcome! For learning to quilt, as well as the library, there are terrific resources online - lots of you tube videos, craftsy.com, Quilter's Cache (http://www.quilterscache.com/QuiltBlocksGalore.html), Quilting Tutorials by Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Co - http://quiltingtutorials.com/.

    There may be a quilt guild close to you filled with quilters so eager to share their knowledge

    As for sewing machine recommendation, any machine with a good solid straight stitch will work. Fancy machines are wonderful, but you will be mostly sewing 1/4" straight seams (a 1/4" foot is great but you can also quickly and cheaply add guides to the machine bed). A walking foot is very helpful - and you can buy a generic one if it doesn't come with your machine. A few decorative stitches are great for finishing the quilt, and a zig-zag or blind hem stitch is good for applique. When you're looking at machines, if you're at a dealer, try to sit down and do some sample sewing yourself to see how they feel. If you're lucky, you'll find a great dealer who will sell you what you need (not what they want to sell), and who will service the machine. Many dealers offer lessons with the purchase of a new machines. And many local quilt shoppes are also sewing machine dealers! Depending on how many dealers are near you, it may be more important to find a great dealer than be set on a specific brand. And lots of dealers sell used machines too. Lots of options!

    Good luck, enjoy the journey
    Linda
    http://quiltingbiker.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    As a beginner I started out with a basic low end brother and have grown from there. Igot my mechanical off of overstock.com but now I use my SQ9050 from walmart and my travel, class machine and also have a TOL brother, but it was many years before I purchased. Another good machine to grow into would be the brother PC-420 off of amazon, good rating, solidly built. Janome is also another popular brand but I can't comment on them because I love my brothers
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  10. #10
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    I always suggest starting with the kitchen. Make some "sampler" blocks for place mats, potholders and table runners. You get to sample different blocks and techniques but still don't invest too much money till you learn if you are going to like your new hobby.

  11. #11
    Senior Member qwkslver's Avatar
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    Don't be nervous, we will help you. Watch You Tube videos, haunt the quilting web sites, ask questions. You will be rewarded so much more than you know by learning this new skill.

  12. #12
    Super Member CoventryUK's Avatar
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    Where do you live? There may be someone here on Quilting Board who lives close by and could help you!! I certainly would!! I am in UK!!!
    Hilary

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auntie V View Post
    I always suggest starting with the kitchen. Make some "sampler" blocks for place mats, potholders and table runners. You get to sample different blocks and techniques but still don't invest too much money till you learn if you are going to like your new hobby.
    This is my suggestion to. There are books out called Learning to Quilt. it teaches you everything and at the end you have made a quilt or whatever learning all the ins and outs of quilting
    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind see.
    mark Twain

  14. #14
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    Welcome from Northern California. Where do you live? There is probably someone here on the board that lives near you and would be more than willing to take you under their wing. Have fun. BrendaK
    Be kind to yourself, by being kind to others. When you help others you help yourself.

  15. #15
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    You might be interested in hand stitching hexagons together. The hexagons are made into flowers for a Grandmothers Flower Garden pattern or can be hand stitched to a plain background fabric square. A simple Nine Patch block can be hand stitched from squares of cotton fabric and would be good for a beginner.
    To get familiar with quilting, check out the youtube videos by Jenny Doan for the Missouri Star Quilt Co.
    I agree with Tartan. There have been numerous posts recent on this site about Hexs (hexagons). The are a quilting project that can easily take on the go. I have never tried the English paper piece. I have just cut out plastic templates of the size I want to make. They are easy to pop out instead or trying to remove the paper.

    We have ALL made mistakes so there is Nothing to fear. Welcome to the board.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  16. #16
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    This is a great idea. Also you can make a few templates at a time and few hexies ahead of time. Cereal boxes are great for hexie templates and other templates. Little more flexible. DO NOT BE NERVOUS! It's a hobby not a job. You do it at your own free will.
    Quote Originally Posted by ManiacQuilter2 View Post
    I agree with Tartan. There have been numerous posts recent on this site about Hexs (hexagons). The are a quilting project that can easily take on the go. I have never tried the English paper piece. I have just cut out plastic templates of the size I want to make. They are easy to pop out instead or trying to remove the paper.

    We have ALL made mistakes so there is Nothing to fear. Welcome to the board.

  17. #17
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
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    What about doing applique instead of piecing?

  18. #18
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    When I started, I did not have a clue, or the benefit of the internet. I picked a block back in 1992, that I still could not do today. Start with something very easy like the Boxed Squares pattern. It will give you the feeling of accomplishment and will build confidence.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  19. #19
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    Check with friends and family members to see if they have a good sewing machine they don't use. Perhaps you could borrow it for a while to get an idea of what you want to buy when you do purchase a machine. I know so many people who don't sew but have machines stuck away somewhere that they would be glad to lend you.

  20. #20
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    Laura, It would help if you gave us an indication of where you live. We might be able to recommend a shop or class where you could get some basic training. I am in rural Maryland just south of Hanover, PA. I have been sewing since puberty but had the advantage of having a Mother who sewed and was willing to share her Singer Featherweight with me. That was 40 years ago and I am still sewing and or quilting almost daily. I wouldn't invest in an expensive sewing machine until you find out if you really want to do this. There are some very expensive machines out there whose monetary value drops drastically the minute they leave the store. I am a person who hand quilts. I enjoy the process and makes it possible for me to spend time with my husband and or family and still get the quilt done. I don't hand piece or applique. My favorite is whole cloth quilting. That means that a quilting pattern is drawn on a whole piece of fabric and I hand quilt it by stitching on the markings. This can be done on a pillow top or up to a king size quilt. In my opinion machine quilting is good only for objects like kids quilts, that will be drug around and washed often. I make at least 21 Linus quilts a month using the sewing machine or crocheting around pieces of fleece. For my personal quilt projects it is always hand quilted. A reputable sewing machine dealer offers classes to go with the machine and often gives you the full value of your machine, if it is in good condition when you decide to trade up. I am a Bernina lover but it was more than 20 years before I was willing and able to trade up to a Bernina machine. Good Luck and welcome to the world of quilting.

  21. #21
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    So glad to see your enthusiasm!!! Since you are new and s i i i i i n c e you plan to sew by hand (major, big, humongous, ginormous no-no) and since you don't have a sewing machine, you might want to consider going to a garage sale or Good Will or second-hand store and check for a sewing machine there. Take friend who knows something about sewing and when you find a machine be sure to try it out to see if it even sews. I've bought several machines at garage sales and I even bought one for $8 or $10 knowing it didn't work (I tried it out) but I figured for that kind of money if my DH couldn't get it work we weren't out much. Turns out all it needed was a switch which we found at Menard's for around $7. Once that machine was oiled it was off and running! As for a brand of machine...I think you might be better off 'testing out' your sewing adventure to see if you really like it because if you do... then buy all the bells and whistles you can!!! Good Luck. Let me know how things turn out for you.

  22. #22
    Senior Member kaelynangelfoot's Avatar
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    If you are planning on sewing by hand, I recommend PaperPieces.com. They sell English Paper Piecing supplies and have a section on patterns that include instructions and the paper shapes you would need. Here is a great free tutorial on English Paper Piecing, to give you some idea of how to get started. You can use this technique to piece anything from a tumbler quilt, to a nine patch, to complicated star patterns. And you can easily make your own templates at home with some sturdy card stock. Good luck!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sew Freak View Post
    Since you are new and s i i i i i n c e you plan to sew by hand (major, big, humongous, ginormous no-no)
    Wait, am I reading this wrong? Are you saying that sewing by hand is a no-no?? If so, I have to pretty strongly disagree with that! People have been quilting by hand for (literally) centuries!

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    Thanks everyone for your recommendations. I live in Olney, Texas. A small town about 45 miles from Wichita Falls. I am going to check out the YouTube videos and check out some books from the library before I invest to make certain that this is something I can do.

  25. #25
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    Brother makes some cheap machines that are fine for a first machine. I paid less than a hundred for one that I use to take to meetings.
    As a beginner make lots of half square triangles.
    Hand sewing takes up so much time and there are so many quilts to make.

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