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Perfecting the art of quilting

Perfecting the art of quilting

Old 11-25-2012, 02:21 PM
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Default Perfecting the art of quilting

I am new to quilting, although I did spend many years sewing clothes for my daughter when she was younger. I am amazed at how PERFECT and squared-up most of the quilts posted here appear. Just curious, how long did it take any you to perfect your quilting skills?
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:23 PM
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There is no such thing as perfection.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:26 PM
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OK, then, let me rephrase...How long did it take to hone your skills to a point you felt confident in your quilting abilities.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:41 PM
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With sewing skills, you should be set to start on a easy to moderate quilt and achieve good results. I sewed for about 50 years before doing my first quilt (my avatar, a queen size) and didn't have many problems (all straight lines, though). I did take a beginning quilting class which helped with rotary cutting and pressing which are new skills if all your experience was garment construction.
There are no quilting police and few rules, just do what works for you. There is one rule I follow:
The 6 foot rule. Before you start your quilt, look at your fabrics from at least 6 feet away to see if any one of your selections jumps out. As you lay your blocks out, look from 6 feet to double check your layout, and lastly, when you're all done, if you don't see any mistakes from 6 feet, you're good! (this last is also the galloping horse rule, if it looks good from a galloping horse...)
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:01 PM
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I'd say it took me about 30 years to acquire *all* of the skills required to make what I consider to be a decent-looking (not award winning!) quilt. This includes pattern selection (some of my early choices were ridiculously long-term commitments), fabric selection, piecing skills, batting selection, thread selection, squaring up, quilting, and binding.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:10 PM
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Okay, I will never say my skills are perfect or even close to it, but I am pretty comfortable with many quilting patterns now. My points are good, which is something I worked hard at. I have been quilting for 3 years. I consider myself an experienced beginner. The best I can say is that the more you do it, the more confident you get. Don't be hard on yourself if something isn't perfect.

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Old 11-25-2012, 03:16 PM
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It has taken me 20 years to be somewhat confident in my skills. Unfortunately I have to limit myself now to what my body is comfortable doing.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:54 PM
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I took an approach probably more like you did when you were sewing clothes for your daughter. When I first started sewing clothes I chose simple patterns that I knew were within my skill set. As my sewing skills improved I chose patterns that were progressively more difficult. One part of the pattern might be a challenge but the rest I knew I could do. When I started quilting I did the same thing, my first few quilts were pieced from rectangles and squares. I chose patterns where you didn't have to worry about matching seams from one block to the next, ex. rail fence, crayon box from Bonnie Hunters site. Then I chose a pattern with a few half square triangles and a few seams to match from one block to the next. As my piecing skills progressed I would choose patterns that were a little more difficult and and I also increased the size of my quilting projects. For me it was important to pick something I could complete in two to three months and that were challenging me to increase my skills without being too frustrating.
As far as to when you feel confident in your abilities, in my opinion that is kinda determined by your personality. There are quilters who create quilts that could win awards, but never enter or show them because they don't feel their work is that good and there are beginners that are very confident from their first project on. But perfection, is something that I don't feel is achievable in quilting, there will always be something you'll wish you did differently.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:00 PM
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I too have been sewing all my life, (learned to sew on a machine at age 5) but was mostly garments and interior decorating type stuff. I just got serious this summer after buying a 12' short arm setup. The best thing I ever bought that pertained to quilting was the 1/4" quilting foot. For years working in factories we made 1/2" seams. It was VERY hard for me to get use to making the scant 1/4" seam.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:15 PM
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I did not make many quilt before I realized how odd my first quilt looked. All it takes is practice, just like with anything else in life. This is such a broad field with so many techniques that mastering them all would take a lifetime. Like you, I had about 20 years of sewing experience before I started quilting. To this day I did not manage to have accurate 1/4" seam, BUT that being said all my seams are consistent, and for me that is the bottom line. I think that starting with simple quilts of your own design may be a way to go or following a simple pattern. You will be surprised how fast you learn. Good luck and we are here to help!
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