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Thread: Overwhelmed

  1. #1
    Senior Member cminor's Avatar
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    Hi all! :)

    I am very new to quilting, although not so new to the site but I am 100% overwhelmed and confused. Let me start by saying I am not very creative at all. I tend to like the quilts I see by the color they are which I know is not the way to determine a pattern to use - but I just can't help myself. So, how do I stop myself from seeing color - and focus more on the block? I know I have to do it - I just don't know how :(

    I made one quilt without much instruction last year. I love it, but it seems more like a blanket to me than a quilt. Yes, technically I quilted it - kind of - but looking at what others do, I have a very long way to go. I have some fabric, 3 or so quilt tops that I have started and gave up on for one reason or another, and a ton of scraps - but what should I do with them???

    I could probably start by using my sewing machine instead of looking around on the site - but it's almost like I can't help myself. . . .

    What would be a good scrap-ish begginer pattern? My other issue is I have a hard time putting the colors together in my head. I thought about just cutting squares, putting them together as I go and even before I started I got worried. Did I want to cut all my fabric up? What size squares? Did I even want squares? What about rectangles . .this is why I don't really get anything done. . .

    How do you stay on track? :-D

  2. #2
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    First, cutting up pretty material always makes me sad at first, but then i get over it :-D
    Why not try doing a 9 patch? Just cut up some 4 1/2 in squaes, throw them in a bag, shake it up, and then pull 9 of them out, dont think about it, just do it!1 You will be surprised how pretty it turns out! :-D

  3. #3
    Power Poster cutebuns's Avatar
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    Is there a way to find some way to work with experienced quilters? I volunteer at a store and we make quilts for abused children, there are two of us that are more experienced than the rest and we tend to help the others when they need it, even with their own work,

    Some people have to follow a pattern exactly like it is printed, it is the only way they can do it, and that is okay, find what works best for you and go with it, as you go along you can expand on that.

  4. #4
    thismomquilts's Avatar
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    I agree with both statements above... a buddy quilter is wonderful to have - even if you have to skype with someone - I taught a friend earlier this year how to quilt over skype - - then we'd sit, visit and quilt 'together' over skype!!! IT was grand.
    Scrappy - great idea already mentioned... it will help you learn to match seams and everything... it takes practice, practice, practice to get the coloring so it looks really good - you can always ask at the LQS to help you - at least you SHOULD be able to - my people are always helpful!! Just keep trying - don't give up - my first quilt(s) are/were hideous - but my very first one is on my bed and actually goes with me no matter where I go.

  5. #5
    Super Member Janstar's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board and just keep looking, you will learn tons.

  6. #6
    Super Member blahel's Avatar
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    I am just like you..color challenged and think way too much before starting a quilt! Whatever you decide to do try to finish a piece..sometimes it looks really horrible but once you finish it and quilt it, it looks good.
    Do simple things until you find what you like ie do a pillow, baby blanket or potholder etc.
    I have almost finished a disappearing nine patch (baby blanket) but am gathering courage to quilt it as i am backing it with fleece and I am worried that it is going to bunch up on the back. I have almost thought about it enough to start..soon!
    :lol:
    I probably should be quilting now but always get sidetracked here looking at everyones beautiful creations!

  7. #7
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I know what you mean by getting sidetracked here. But it's so much fun to be here. Color is hard for me too so I ask for help at my fabric store when buying my fabric. They are a huge help.

  8. #8
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    All great tips (as usual). Quilting is meant to be fun...not a mind-numbing, terror-fest. Everyone is creative, it's just sometimes too locked up by fear of potential "failure". So as one of my son's friends says "Chillax" (chill out and relax). Look at nature, at cityscapes...try not to see trees and landforms or buildings, but shape and colour....I got loads of inspiration from an Art Gallery and Museum trip I took with my visiting sister-in-law. I keep a notebook handy for those "flashes of inspiration" that bob up from time to time.

    When I first started out, I too was a little intimidated by some more experienced quilters....but by coming here and soaking up all the pictures and ideas, it has helped me realise there is beauty in diversity. So go forth and CREATE!

  9. #9
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I wonder if you are not being hard on yourself :wink:
    If you are more comfortable picking a quilt pattern based on the colors the patten maker chose, there is nothing wrong with that. Many quilters only purchase kits, others follow the exact fabrics listed on the pattern right down to the letter... Some change it all up including reconfiguring the pattern itself :D:D:D
    There are not any rules...it is all about what YOU enjoy...

    Many quilters have problems with a scrap quilt, they feel the need to match it up... random is not in their vocabulary :D They use many different fabrics that they have chosen to match well in their eyes... Others randomly grab pieces and throw them all together... Neither is the right or wrong way... both types of quilters make awesome scrappy quilts :D:D:D

    Choose a block that looks fun to make... try using 3 or 4 different colors in each block... You can always pick out a light or dark sashing fabric to tie them all together :D:D:D Practice a different type of quilting on it... If it comes out less than perfect, only you will know that... we are our own worse critics.
    I have a couple that will be kick around utility quilts... great for picnics, etc... I learned a lot making them, but most of all I had FUN :D:D:D

  10. #10
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    I agree with Amma. I have found that fear (of not getting the colors "right", etc.) can be paralizing (sp?). Since I am color challenged, my cure is to do scrap quilts 'cause I only have to know the difference between light and dark. Works for me - and it's so rewarding to turn little dibs and dabs of fabric into a gorgeous quilt. I think the most important thing is to have fun. So just jump in and have a blast!

  11. #11
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cminor
    I tend to like the quilts I see by the color they are which I know is not the way to determine a pattern to use - but I just can't help myself.
    So you know what colors you like. That's a great start.
    What is even better is that the same color can easily translate to other patterns.

    Here is a suggestion that can take the dilemma away:
    Look at JUST the pattern - without color. I would go to quilter's cache and print out the patterns on a black and white printer. Then you can focus on the pattern. Pick one that is suited for beginners and THEN add the fabric/color selection.

    Most of all - relax and have fun.

  12. #12
    Bottle Blonde's Avatar
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    I was having a lot of trouble working with color. I needed to identify light, medium and dark, because I was buying mostly medium fabrics. I used my printer and copied my fabric in black and white. It helped erase the color and I could focus on the value and how the placement of a dark, a medium or a light fabric would change the block I wanted to make.

    One of the best things I did was to purchase a color wheel and I really studied it - I learned all the terms and completely understand the concept of the color wheel. I learned what a tint is and what tone means and what it means to use complimentary colors. This information does help when your trying to make decisions at the fabric store.

    Another excercise I did was kinda silly and fun - but it made a huge mess. I played with all the clothes in the house! LOL .
    I found all the different colors I could and spread things out on the bed and the floor. I just tossed things around and put together different combinations - I was able to figure out which combinations I like and what I don't care for very much. I took pictures with my phone and look at them sometimes when I am at the fabric store. Pretty silly, but it helps me.

    One thing I know for sure .... every project goes thru an ugly duckling stage. Just keep working on it and many ugly ducklings turn into beautiful swans, some stay ugly, but you will love it anyway.

  13. #13
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninnie
    First, cutting up pretty material always makes me sad at first, but then i get over it :-D
    Why not try doing a 9 patch? Just cut up some 4 1/2 in squaes, throw them in a bag, shake it up, and then pull 9 of them out, dont think about it, just do it!1 You will be surprised how pretty it turns out! :-D
    Great idea.

  14. #14
    Super Member blahel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bottle Blonde
    I was having a lot of trouble working with color. I needed to identify light, medium and dark, because I was buying mostly medium fabrics. I used my printer and copied my fabric in black and white. It helped erase the color and I could focus on the value and how the placement of a dark, a medium or a light fabric would change the block I wanted to make.

    One of the best things I did was to purchase a color wheel and I really studied it - I learned all the terms and completely understand the concept of the color wheel. I learned what a tint is and what tone means and what it means to use complimentary colors. This information does help when your trying to make decisions at the fabric store.

    Another excercise I did was kinda silly and fun - but it made a huge mess. I played with all the clothes in the house! LOL .
    I found all the different colors I could and spread things out on the bed and the floor. I just tossed things around and put together different combinations - I was able to figure out which combinations I like and what I don't care for very much. I took pictures with my phone and look at them sometimes when I am at the fabric store. Pretty silly, but it helps me.

    One thing I know for sure .... every project goes thru an ugly duckling stage. Just keep working on it and many ugly ducklings turn into beautiful swans, some stay ugly, but you will love it anyway.
    what sort of color wheel did you buy?

  15. #15
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    Oh, I so TOTALLY understand.
    It has helped me to make mystery quilts. With those, the instructions don't give colour, but things like "1/2 yard of dark, 1/2 of medium to match and 1/2 medium accent". That way, you aren't stuck looking at a picture and unable to visualize the quilt any way except in those colours.

    I have also found that the more quilts I look at, the more sure of myself I become simply by identifying what appeals to me, what catches my eye, and what colours I am drawn to. I've been lucky to have had boxes of old quilting magazines handed down to me, and they are valuable sources of quilt browsing.

    I've made some random blocks, just trying out techniques and colour combinations. They will always be orphans, but have taught me things!

  16. #16
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    You might want to check out the Quilt in a Day books by Eleanor Burns. They show step by step how to make a quilt and get it done. Good way to get yourself introduced to making quilts quickly.

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