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Thread: new to quilting - need confidence boost

  1. #1
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    new to quilting - need confidence boost

    Hi all: I've been lurking around for a while, admiring and loving all that I see and the help and support you give each other. My first quilt is kind of a mess, trouble with 1/4", seams that don't match...etc. I really need a block or pattern that will build a little confidence, something that I can be successful at. Any good ideas for me? I DO have the fabric obsession already... how did I miss all of that for so long? Advice will be appreciated. Mazy

  2. #2
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Rail fence, 9 patch, or a warm wishes are all good blocks to start with.

  3. #3
    Super Member JenniePenny's Avatar
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    Yes, I would agree with Scissor queen and make a rail fence. I recommend the book Start quilting with Alex Anderson. That was the book I used for my first quilt.
    "He who masters the grey everyday is a hero."
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeachPalaceDesigns

  4. #4
    Senior Member star619's Avatar
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    Beginner quilt

    Quote Originally Posted by MazyZ View Post
    Hi all: I've been lurking around for a while, admiring and loving all that I see and the help and support you give each other. My first quilt is kind of a mess, trouble with 1/4", seams that don't match...etc. I really need a block or pattern that will build a little confidence, something that I can be successful at. Any good ideas for me? I DO have the fabric obsession already... how did I miss all of that for so long? Advice will be appreciated. Mazy
    All of us have been where you are, so don't lose hope! One of my favorite patterns is called "Pieces of Eight" (pirate movie reference). You assemble fabrics that "go together", perhaps fabrics of a designer's line, and cut out squares 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" assemble them on you design board (or the floor). Once you are happy with the arrangement, sew adjoining blocks together until you have completed a row. Once all rows are stitched together, then sees rows together, and -voila! - you have a quilt top! Be patient, take time to get those 1/4" seams correct, and you can''t lose. Good luck and welcome to our obsession! Debbie Stair

  5. #5
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    rail fence was my first quilt. It is a very forgiving pattern with not a lot of seam matching.

  6. #6
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    to MazyZ
    Start small, like a Quilt for Kids quilt. Go to Quilts for Kids website and request a kit. They will send you fabric all precut with very simple directions for a small cuddle size quilt. they are for kids in hospital with serious illness. You provide the sewing, batting, and send the finished quilt back. Meanwhile you learn on a small, SIMPLE quilt at a fraction of the cost.
    You need to master accurate cutting and sewing 1/4" seams, or the seams may never match. It may help to starch your fabric before cutting also to get more accurate cuts.
    Good luck.

  7. #7
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    I am new to quilting also. But I'm not new to sewing. My first quilt I am still hand quilting the top. But first thing I would say is don’t be over critical in the beginning. I have seen some places where my lines are not 100% but close enough that unless you are looking really close you probably won't notice. What pattern are you using? Can you get some scrap fabric cheep and practice the squares to make them line up better? Maybe find some sheets on clearance (even if they don’t match) and get a couple colors and practice the squares. Or maybe get some different color paper and practice that way I’d even sew it on the machine and see what happens. Also many people recommended marking your 1/4" sew line on your machine as a guide. I know that made it easier for me. Good Luck and don't get discouraged.

    And my last piece of advice is buying a good seam ripper. Just remember to have fun with it. This is supposed to be relaxing.

    Diane

  8. #8
    Super Member WTxRed's Avatar
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    Hi Mary - welcome! I started making quilts a few months ago in November. I went big. And I went with a pattern that intrigued me. I made a queen size labyrinth (by Debbie Maddy). Big pieces, good instructions, picked my own colors, sewed to my heart's content. Another, in my opinion, real easy quilt was my 2nd one - Radiant by Cozy Quilt shop. Another queen, another with big pieces. Again I picked my own fabrics/colors. I decided big pieces and big quilts are a little more forgiving for that initial lack of accuracy that some of us may have / had. I've got pics of those posted on here under this link, http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...s-t183447.html

    I have also done a One Block Wonder (LOVE IT) and a radiant sunshine shadow 9-patch ... 2-1/2 inch finished blocks which was certainly more challenging.... as well as a few others tossed in here and there. Find a pattern you like - read it start to finish and ask questions about what doesn't make sense to you at that time.

    Don't be intimidated by how things 'look' finished. Envision in your mind's eye how you want it to look and go for it!

    Know no fear! (Course with that you have to own a really good seam ripper :-) )

    Good luck - follow your heart!

  9. #9
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    My very first quilt was a sampler. I used a good old fasioned seam guage to check my 1/4" seams constantly and put several layers of masking tape down on my machine bed to mark where the fabric should but against to maintain it. I also agree with turner0106 in that you need to learn and repeat the mantra "good enough" and "close enough". I like samplers because they challenge you and you will learn LOTS of different techniques. Especially if done through a learning to quilt type book. I used this book http://www.amazon.com/Learning-To-Qu...7790145&sr=8-1
    It taught you almost everything you would come up against in quiltmaking. Templates, set in seams, curved seams, applique, matching up odd shaped pieces. Yes I did do some ripping but the quilt I ended up with was beautiful and it gave me the confidence to tackle ANY pattern. So if it is confidence you are looking for, challenge yourself. Remember there is a difference between gaining confidence and just making yourself feel good because you could do it but didn't challenge yourself.

  10. #10
    Super Member Abby'smom's Avatar
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    just keep at it! -- one of my bee members draws lines to keep 1/4 inch seams (she is a perfectionist and her work is beautiful) -- LOL I tried drawing lines but my lines weren't 1/4 inches either -- just keep enjoying quilting and working at it -- also applique blocks (I use Eleanor Burns's interfaced method) can help with quilts looking good --
    diane

  11. #11
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Hi Mary and welcome.

    I am a self taught quilter (although I had garment sewing experience). I taught myself to first piece quilts, and then to quilt them by making 9" square pot holders. That particular year - my office friends got pot holders for Christmas

    Because I am self taught, I taught myself a lot of bad habits, and missed a lot of helpful hints.

    One of the BEST things I found was a book by Sally Collins called "Mastering Precision Piecing". I bought the book because Sally specializes in small pieces - which is something I am very interested in. I found it to be MOST useful though regardless of the size of block I'm working with.

    So ... get a copy of Sally's book (she also has an accompanying DVD), then go to www.quilterscache.com and pick some 9" blocks to play with.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  12. #12
    Super Member babyboomerquilter's Avatar
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    I still struggle every now and then. I guess practice makes perfect.
    Bonnie

  13. #13
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    Don't be discouraged, I am still learning after years of trying to make blocks that come out the size the pattern says they should. My plan for the summer to try and work on perfecting my piecing is to do some of the exercises in Harriet Hargrave's Quilter's Academy book. There are some nice projects that focus on getting that 1/4" seam using rail fence and 9 patches. Also includes lots of expanations on preparing fabric, cutting techniques and setting up your sewing area. Then next year I am going to work on the projects in the next book in the series.

    Here it is at Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Quilters-Acade...7802466&sr=8-3
    Lisa

  14. #14
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    Turning twenty is a good one to use. You don't have to match seams and it is fun to put together.
    Kathyj


  15. #15
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Howdy and welcome, from TX!

  16. #16
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    I would suggest just jumping in. I have been quilting for about 2 years now and I am still having problems with things meeting right and that elusive 1/4" the best thing that I have found is a walking foot and not looking too close. as you keep going you get better. I am one that doesn't start off easy, and my first real quilt was a two fabric baby quilt for my son with a ruffle. (he doesn't care how awful it looks. he just likes it but he is now almost 3) the second and third quilt were small wall hangings that were the hunters star pattern. I say just jump into a pattern that you like and keep at it. if you have a question take a pic and post it here. That is what I have done and these ladies and gents on here are the best at helping answer if they don't know the answer they will help you find a link to it.
    when life gets you down go and talk with a little kid. They will help you work out even the worst problems with their simple logic.

  17. #17
    Junior Member kbishburg's Avatar
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    I am also a newbie - have been quilting for almost a year. Don't worry - even your worst quilt will be beautiful if you use good colors and nice fabric. I learned by watching Doan on Missouri Star Quilts tutorials on U-tube. She makes everything seem so simple and you easily follow the instruction. The disappearing 9 patch is a very forgiving quilt!
    Kathryn Bishburg
    Traditionally-built Norwegian lady

  18. #18
    Super Member RkayD's Avatar
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    Do some small things first. Nothing like instant gratification to give you a major Boost! =)
    A bed without a Quilt is like a Sky without Stars..Sew On!

  19. #19
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    rail fence, log cabin were my starters, irish chain is also an easy one.
    May I recommend getting something like this and placing it on the bed of the machine. I used a 1/4 inch tape when I first started and it really helped me with my quarter inches in the beginning until I got used to doing them and got a foot. You can use graph paper to gauge your machine, or perkins dry good
    http://www.perkinsdrygoods.com/store...php?cat=3&ID=1

  20. #20
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    I knew you all would give me some great ideas and things to try. Now to find a pattern that will work with my new stash of layer cakes, jelly rolls, charm packs and yardage..... ahhh. Loving it. Mazy

  21. #21
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    youtube is good to find out alot of quilting stuff just watch a lot of videos and you will get alot of information. good luck and keep quilting

    Deb

  22. #22
    Junior Member Christine George's Avatar
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    Welcome from Milwaukee Mazy

  23. #23
    Super Member Arleners's Avatar
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    This is a real easy quilt. The block is originally by Billie Lauder, but this web site gives good clear instructions. It looks like a log cabin, but is MUCH easier to do and there are no matching points.

    Do the happy dance.

    http://www.angelfire.com/va3/jclane/...xLogCabin.html
    Arlene

  24. #24
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Triple Rail Fence was one of my first. You get to sew the different fabrics together and you get to cut squares. Then you do have to pay attention to the orientation but there are no points to match (just the corners). It is a great beginner pattern.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  25. #25
    Super Member Thumbelina's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome from NE Ohio.

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