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Thread: Ready to quilt (first time)...need advice

  1. #1
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Wow, I finished this quilt top, my first, about five weeks ago or more, but life got in the way. I finally have a little breathing room today, and I'm ready to start quilting. I'd love to have a little advice from more experienced quilters. Here are a few questions I have:

    1. How far past the quilt top should the batting extend? I bought a queen-sized batting, but it's a lap size quilt. I want to cut off the extra to decrease the bulk and make this easier to work with, but I don't want to cut off too much.

    2. Do I need to mark the fabric if I'm going to follow the lines of the pattern? I also want to do a heart in each white pinwheel triangle, but I thought I could go back and do those after doing all the other quilting. Is there a reason I shouldn't?

    By the way, this pattern is available for free on the Fun Stuff page at FoolsGoldCA.com.

    Land of Happy Endings Quilt
    Name:  Attachment-234099.jpe
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Size:  67.1 KB

  2. #2
    saf
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    Super Member saf's Avatar
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    what a pretty quilt. Love the colours. A newbie here myself so any advice I give would be suspect but I'm sure one of the more experienced quilters will be along shortly.

  3. #3
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Beautiful quilt! I am probably not the best at answering your questions, but I will give it a shot. I cut my batting about six inches bigger than my quilt...3 inches per side. I make the back of my quilt that size also. It is probably a bit bigger than I need to cut it, but it works for me.

    If you are going to follow the pattern, stitch in the ditch, you won't need to mark your pattern.

    Oh, I just looked at the picture again. You already have it pinned. Good for you.

    One thing I learned the hard way is that q quilt can get a bit heavy while quilting, and gravity wants to pull it away from the sewing machine. I now place my ironing board perpendicular to the sewing machine and let it hold up part of the weight of the quilt.

    It looks like you are 'good to go." I find the machine quilting very satisfying. I hope you do too. (I have been quilting 2 years....sort of a confident beginner...)

  4. #4
    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    fun quilt top!!

  5. #5
    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    worst thing I ever ( !) did to a quilt top was not have enough back material.. don't scrimp or ever think ( perfect fit).. always leave enough for what it takes and more !

    Good luck.. really enjoy your top you have ! Plus.. think of the batting.. cotton dense or polyester fibers.. all up to the pile you want afterwards. more pile between stitches iwth polyester fibers.. cotton dense for needle on machine.. easier to manouver..

    Ell

    things I have learned along the 30 year path.

  6. #6
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Are you going to hand quilt? I never thought about that, but I know nothing about that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member shnnn's Avatar
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    Are you hand or machine quilting?
    yep on the few inches for batting and backing, I dont measure mine just put it all together then cut off the extra a couple inches around. Mark as much as you need to. I don't think going back to do the hearts later would be a big no-no, but if you are going to hoop each section it might be quicker/easier to do them while your already there instead of going back and re-hooping.. just my thoughts...
    Most important, relax and enjoy

  8. #8
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    I'm new so I have limited advice. I like to use spray adhesive like 505 or June Tailor for all layers; I think though if I ever did a large one I'd also do pins to make sure it held. That leads me to the other thing; you'll notice as you go you are going to have to stop all the time to remove your pins as you go; try pinning inside of the blocks so you don't have to remove to many pins; it'll go faster and less frustrating to constantly stop to remove pin. For your first quilt you did a great job; no one could tell you are a newbie by this one.

  9. #9
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dina
    One thing I learned the hard way is that q quilt can get a bit heavy while quilting, and gravity wants to pull it away from the sewing machine. I now place my ironing board perpendicular to the sewing machine and let it hold up part of the weight of the quilt.
    I had been planning to hand quilt, but mostly because I didn't think machine quilting would be an option. I have a very basic sewing machine, and I thought it would be too small for me to fit the quilt in to get all of the pieces.

    Oh, one other question I forgot to ask - Should I start quilting in the center of the quilt, or the edges, or doesn't it matter?

  10. #10
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by romanojg
    For your first quilt you did a great job; no one could tell you are a newbie by this one.
    Thank you! That means a lot. When I look at it, I see all the corners that don't match up. LOL But I keep reminding myself it's my first quilt, and I will get better with time. I already know what quilt I want to make next, but I won't allow myself to start a new one until I finish this one completely. Otherwise, I'll end up with a hundred unfinished projects as the next new idea lures me away.

    Thank you, too, for your advice re: pins. That makes a lot of sense.

  11. #11
    Senior Member shnnn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenelTX
    I had been planning to hand quilt, but mostly because I didn't think machine quilting would be an option. I have a very basic sewing machine, and I thought it would be too small for me to fit the quilt in to get all of the pieces.

    Oh, one other question I forgot to ask - Should I start quilting in the center of the quilt, or the edges, or doesn't it matter?
    Start in the center.
    I managed to get a queen sized quilt quilted in a $60 Brother. It was a tight fit, and I got a good work out from squishing the fabric into the small space, but it got done! I can't imagine not being able to do a lap quilt.

  12. #12
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Your quilt is beautiful! I can't wait to see your quilting choices :D:D:D

    You have been given a lot of great advice, all I can add is to have FUN while quilting this beauty!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dina
    Beautiful quilt! I am probably not the best at answering your questions, but I will give it a shot. I cut my batting about six inches bigger than my quilt...3 inches per side. I make the back of my quilt that size also. It is probably a bit bigger than I need to cut it, but it works for me.

    If you are going to follow the pattern, stitch in the ditch, you won't need to mark your pattern.

    Oh, I just looked at the picture again. You already have it pinned. Good for you.

    One thing I learned the hard way is that q quilt can get a bit heavy while quilting, and gravity wants to pull it away from the sewing machine. I now place my ironing board perpendicular to the sewing machine and let it hold up part of the weight of the quilt.

    It looks like you are 'good to go." I find the machine quilting very satisfying. I hope you do too. (I have been quilting 2 years....sort of a confident beginner...)
    Thank you for the great advice of using the ironing board beside your machine. I have been having the exact same problem...not enough room to the left so the quilt wants to pull through crooked and it does get heavy. I'm almost finished with this first biscuit/rag quilt...have to attach 3 more rows and have been avoiding it due to the problem that you described. Now I will get busy again and use my ironing board. :)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaM49
    Quote Originally Posted by Dina
    Beautiful quilt! I am probably not the best at answering your questions, but I will give it a shot. I cut my batting about six inches bigger than my quilt...3 inches per side. I make the back of my quilt that size also. It is probably a bit bigger than I need to cut it, but it works for me.

    If you are going to follow the pattern, stitch in the ditch, you won't need to mark your pattern.

    Oh, I just looked at the picture again. You already have it pinned. Good for you.

    One thing I learned the hard way is that q quilt can get a bit heavy while quilting, and gravity wants to pull it away from the sewing machine. I now place my ironing board perpendicular to the sewing machine and let it hold up part of the weight of the quilt.

    It looks like you are 'good to go." I find the machine quilting very satisfying. I hope you do too. (I have been quilting 2 years....sort of a confident beginner...)
    Thank you for the great advice of using the ironing board beside your machine. I have been having the exact same problem...not enough room to the left so the quilt wants to pull through crooked and it does get heavy. I'm almost finished with this first biscuit/rag quilt...have to attach 3 more rows and have been avoiding it due to the problem that you described. Now I will get busy again and use my ironing board. :)
    If you look at http://www.daystyledesigns.com/ she deals with setting up a space to make it easier to sew large quilts plus it has lots of other stuff. I hope it helps.

  15. #15
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Machine quilting is certainly an option for a lap-sized quilt, even for a larger quilt. It is a very pretty quilt.

    If you decide to machine quilt, I would first stabilize the quilt by quilting in the ditches where the blocks are sewn together. Then you can remove the pins and you will be able to do any other quilting that you want to do, such as the hearts.

    3 inches or so extra batting all the way around is plenty. Plan for the same amount of extra backing.

    Hand quilting is wonderful - I admire those who do it, but I don't have the patience.

    Show us the quilt again when you're finished. I love the fun, bright colors.

  16. #16
    Super Member LeslieFrost's Avatar
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    Your quilt top looks great! Very colorful!

    You can also combine hand quilting and machine quilting, if you like. You could do the stiching in the ditch along the major lines, then add the hearts by hand afterwards.

    If you're going to do all by hand, I would recommend stiching 1/4" inside the major squares, rather than stitch in the ditch. SITD is very hard by hand, as you encounter so many layers at some points. I do the 1/4" inside the sewn lines. I mark them with masking tape, as I cannot hand stitch a straight line without that guide.

    Looking forward to seeing your progress!

  17. #17
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster
    If you decide to machine quilt, I would first stabilize the quilt by quilting in the ditches where the blocks are sewn together. Then you can remove the pins and you will be able to do any other quilting that you want to do, such as the hearts.
    I love this idea! I'll have to step back from the whole thing and make a plan of action before I start. I can hand stitch all the hearts afterward. Maybe I'll even hand stitch them with a different color thread. Red, maybe? The quilt pattern was created for Susan Mallery's series of Fool's Gold romances. (I work for Susan.) The Fool's Gold logo has a red heart in it. Maybe I'll use red thread to hand stitch the hearts afterward.

    I'm getting excited about this!

  18. #18
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    Beautiful quilt.

  19. #19
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    I love this pattern!

  20. #20
    Super Member GramaLaura's Avatar
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    Wow first time quilter...you did a beautiful job! I love to use white in my quilts. Show us again after you finish :-D

  21. #21
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Me too! It blew my mind that it's really all the same block, just one pattern, and you just turn the block in different directions. I'm sure that's not uncommon, but since this was my first quilt, it was a bit surprise to me. LOL

    I started machine quilting yesterday, after the advice I got here. Wow, that's hard to get that big quilt into my little sewing machine! I had to change my strategy. At first, I was planning to quilt inside each seam by a quarter-inch. So I started with one of the squares of a central nine-patch.... but because it's a square, that meant that I had to rotate the entire quilt by 90 degrees THREE times. Yikes! I couldn't imagine doing that for every single seam in the quilt.

    I ripped out that seam and decided I would follow the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines from edge to edge of the quilt (but not the border). I did one horizontal, one vertical, and then decided that was enough for one day.

  22. #22
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GramaLaura
    Wow first time quilter...you did a beautiful job! I love to use white in my quilts. Show us again after you finish :-D
    Thank you! I will. I do love the white, but I think maybe it's a little too white-white. I already know what pattern I'm going to make next, and it has a white background as well. I think I'll go for a more creamy white next time.

  23. #23
    Power Poster Tweety2911's Avatar
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    I won't repeat advice since there is plenty already stated. Just wanted to compliment you on your beautiful quilt and what a great job you did on your first one! Look forward to seeing a picture when it is finished:-)

  24. #24
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    You did a great job for a first quilt, and I really admire you for asking advice....I didn't and had many issues that could have turned out so much better.....machine quilting is another skill that I am getting better at, it's one of those practice, practice, practice things. Again, it's a beautiful quilt, will be waiting to see the finished project.

  25. #25
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    first time quilt beautifuL !!!!!!!!!!!

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