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Thread: New to quilting

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    New to quilting

    Hi everyone! I'm new to quilting and wanted to ask a few questions, first off do any of you do only hand quilting and if so do you have any tips?

    Also I bought a quilting kit with a rotary cutter and mat, does it take practice to use right because I can't seem to cut very straight?

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    it does take some (practice) to learn to use a rotor cutter & mat- line up your ruler using lines on the mat to help get everything straight- hold the ruler with your fingers well away from the (cutting edge) i place a finger along the outside (opposite edge of cutting edge) to hold it from moving- place cutter along edge of ruler & roll cutter up the edge of the ruler- away from yourself- you do not have to push hard (as long as you have a good sharp blade- if you are making long cuts- stop and move your hand up on the ruler as you go along-keeping the ruler straight as you go...with practice it will be (second nature) as for hand quilting---many of us do hand quilt= many of us do both- machine quilt some projects- hand quilt others.
    when learning to hand quilt consistancy is more important than stitch length- practice making your stitches as close to the same size as possible- with time you can work on making them smaller.
    some people use very short needles for hand quilting (between's) some people prefer a longer needle (sharps, milner's, straws) try out a few until you find the one that fits your hand, makes it possible to create the stitches you want. Basting is important and quilt from the center out toward the edges- some people use a frame, some a hoop and some just hold their basted (sandwich) on their lap to quilt.
    you may want to check the local quilt shop or guild for beginner classes, or groups to help you begin....there are also many videos & tutorials, here on the board, on u-tube and pinterest
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board! There are a lot of hand quilters out there, but I am not one of them....no patience for that kind of thing. But someone will come along and have some great help for you. A rotary cutter and mat require a straight edge or ruler to cut against, helping to ensure a straighter edge. There is a bit of a learning curve to using the ruler and mat, but once you get it down, you will be zipping that process. YouTube is a wonderful place to find tutorials on everything quilting and I am sure there is one that can guide you in using the rotary cutter and mat. The best tips I can give you are to keep those fingers out of the way of the cutter, and press hard enough on the ruler to keep it in place....if it slips even a tiny bit, your edges will not be straight. Have fun quilting!

  4. #4
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to the best place to learn a lot about quilting! I have found so many good answers here.

    I can't offer any hand quilting help, but would suggest a class to learn the basics about quilting. Check with your local community college for classes or quilt shops. My first class was with the adult ed here in CA....that was before all the budget cuts...so that might not be available any more. Sewing machine stores and quilt shops and quilt guilds offer good help.

  5. #5
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Welcome form S CA!!! It does take some practice to cut straight. Just keep at it you will get it. I have learned so much here on this board!!! Many classes are available out there both on line and in quilt stores, Joann's ect. You might want to check out Craftsy on line they have a lot of free classes as well which help alot.

  6. #6
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    This is just one of many youtube videos to help you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ebyZrgkIbk
    Have a great day sewing and remember to "not sweat the small stuff"!!



  7. #7
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    welcome to the board and happy quilting
    Nancy in western NY
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  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Welcome, new quilter, to the board and to quilting as a hobby (or an obsession). The one thing that keeps me quilting more than any other is the quilting community. Find other people to quilt and you will become instant friends. Join a guild and you will have activities to keep you interested. Go to quilt shows and you will come away with so many projects in mind that you will always have something to do.

  9. #9
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome from Indiana. Everything having to do with quilting takes practice. Keep at it and I'm sure you'll do well.

  10. #10
    Power Poster gabeway's Avatar
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    Practice on old clothes to get good with rotary cutter. There are places you can get clear slip guards to put on bottom of rulers to keep them from slipping. I actually took a hand quilting class at LQS an learner a lot. Also can start with something like a cathedral window that can be all easily hand quilted.
    Wayne & Gabriele, the married quilters.

  11. #11
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    Welcome from one of the many hand quilters here on the board. As everyone else has mentioned, all of the parts of quilting take practice. If you have a flat surface that you are using your mat and rotary cutter, you can also try a couple of spring clamps to help hold the ruler in place. Also helps to have a ruler with a lip on the one end to keep is straight on the mat. Another tip is to put clear rubber or sandpaper (I like/use rubber) dots on the 4 corners of the ruler. Gives some resistance while it's on the fabric. One of the reasons I really enjoy quilting is that I really enjoy sewing on my machine but also like to do hand work - just about any kind. With machine piecing and hand quilting I get the best of both worlds. Do you have a LQS near you for classes or just to ask some questions? Does anyone in your family or friends quilt that they could give you some hints/clues? We're all here to help but sometimes seeing something 'up close & personal' makes it 'click' better/quicker.

  12. #12
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Welcome from Indiana! Do you have a Joann's in your town? I know that the one where I live has had rotary cutting classes, beginning sewing and beginning quilting classes. Find a local quilt shop and go in and talk to the ladies (My favorite LQS actually has a gentleman that works there and teaches classes!) If they don't hold classes, they may be able to point you in the right direction. You tube is your friend. I am mostly self taught and there isn't anything quilting that you can't learn about on youtube or other websites. All I can say is : Sit down, buckle up and hang on tight because quilting is wild ride!!!
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  13. #13
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meldmac View Post
    Hi everyone! I'm new to quilting and wanted to ask a few questions, first off do any of you do only hand quilting and if so do you have any tips?

    Also I bought a quilting kit with a rotary cutter and mat, does it take practice to use right because I can't seem to cut very straight?
    You don't say whether you have a ruler. A ruler is essential in getting a straight cut. Plus some practice.

  14. #14
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    Sorry should have elaborated a little. I have a rotary cutter, mat and ruler.

    As far as Joannes we dont have those in Canada, we do have a Michaels and local quilting store, not real fond of the one down the road as they were really rude when i went in and asked a few questions about beginning to quilt. She basically told me she wouldnt help unless i took a class even though i had just spent over $100 there.

    I am pretty good at teaching myself and am finding this board wonderful already, thank you so much for your great advice.

    At some point i will be getting a sewing machine but until I get rid of a bunch of other stuff we dont have much room here. I have been a crafter for 25+ years since I was 14 mostly cross stitch, but also knitting, crochete, scrapbooking, some small felt projects recently as well. I go back and forth between them but have always wanted to learn to quilt. I have started to piece together some placemats to quilt to see how they go. I am a little daunted about the binding process though.

  15. #15
    Super Member Thumbelina's Avatar
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    Welcome from NE Ohio.

  16. #16
    Super Member Momma_K's Avatar
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    Don't let the binding bother you to much. Many quilters here use the pillow case method and it seems to work just as well unless you really want a binding, then you can learn on here. This board is wonderful and you'll never stop learning. If ever you have a question there is always someone here ready to answer, just post a thread and ask or go under the menu of threads to see if the issue has already been posted. It really is an easy place to navigate, the more you hunt, the more you learn! Welcome from Tennessee!!
    Thank You Lord for answering my prayers, in this I am truely blessed!

  17. #17
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    Welcome to the wonderful world of quilting from Virginia. I am a hand quilter. I do some machine piecing and quilting, but I prefer hand work. For a beginner, I highly recommend these books. (By the way I have them and refer to them often.) First, for piecing, Harriet Hargrave's "Quilting Academy" books. She has Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior books. She starts with the basics in her Freshman book with squaring the fabric, cutting it, and simple piecing. Each books progresses with more difficult projects. They are easy to understand and follow. Since you don't have a machine, you might be interested in hand piecing. Jinny Beyer has an excellent book "Quiltmaking By Hand." For hand quilting, I learned from Roxanne McElroy's "That Perfect Stitch" book. She passed away just before her book was published, but her daughter Dierdra McElroy has continued in her mother's footsteps and has a DVD also called "That Perfect Stitch." As far as hand quilting, my suggestions are after deciding how you want to learn (class, book, or DVD), invest in a good hoop or frame and thimble. The hoop shouldn't be any larger than the measurement from your elbow to the knuckles on your hand. Anything larger, there will be space in the hoop that you can't reach and I think would be cumbersome to handle. I have a 14 inch Jasmine hoop that I've used for 15+ years and it's still in excellent condition. However, I've tried to find this company on line recently with no luck. I know it was a family owned business and the lady who designed the hoops and frames had been ill. I'm strongly suspecting that it's no longer in business. The pro side of a lap hoop is that I can sit in my comfortable chair and quilt. The down side is that with all that quilt in you lap you can get very warm. I also have a 14 inch Grace floor hoop as well as a Grace Z44 floor frame. I use the floor hoop a lot for small quilts. The floor frame is amazing, but I'm sorry to admit that I never mastered the art of quilting away from myself with my thumb. So, I use the frame for basting. The next thing is a good thimble. Just try one on until you find one that fits comfortable. Just make sure it has deep dimples to hold the needle. I alternate using Roxanne's thimble, and Thimblelady. Because I have an allergy to metals I need a silver thimble, but if allergies are not a problem for you there are many others on the market to choose from. I learned to quilt with the pad of my finger rather than the end of my finger. It creates less stress on my finger. Also, check in with Craftsy. I believe that site has some online quilting classes. You can pay for the class, download it and learn at your own pace. I believe I just saw an ad for heirloom hand quilting class for $39.99. I don't know the lady who teaches. I haven't taken any classes from this site, but I have friends who have and they have been extremely satisfied. Happy quilting!

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