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Thread: Removing more seams than I've left sewn

  1. #1
    FanOfFabric's Avatar
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    Please tell me that it's normal to have blocks that you've re-done multiple times?

    I'm new to quilting and I think my current project/quilt top is more advanced than I should be working on maybe, but I don't want to quit. It's a basket pattern, actually 13 different basket blocks, that make up a quilt top from my first Shop Hop recently. Now I'll admit that I haven't used a ruler/tape measure alot in recent years, but geeeez, this is not as easy as it looks! I have so much respect for all of you on this board with all the beautiful quilts that you show!

    Did you start out taking blocks apart many times??? Will I eventually learn what to do and what NOT to do? Can you tell I'm feeling a little discouraged today? Thank you for listening to me whine today. :?

  2. #2
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    We all bite off more than we can chew occasionally. My second quilt top has so many little triangles in it, it sits nicely in a box waiting for me to get good enough to finish. I wish I had waited and learned a couple of new ways to do it, like paper piecing, that would have made it easy.

    In the mean time, I have gone on to other quilt tops, some pretty complex and been successful at it. So far, a triple irish chain in queen size is my most ambitious quilt done, a patten called "homeward bound" the most ambitious top complete. It just takes time and patience.

    Best of luck. this group of people will get you through.

    tim in san jose

  3. #3
    Super Member Minda's Avatar
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    I think we've all been there. Just take it one block at a time and don't even think ahead to the next block. Try not to be discouraged. Even experienced quilters have to 'unsew' sometimes. :wink: :D

  4. #4
    Super Member Butterflyspain's Avatar
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    Did you start out taking blocks apart many times??? Will I eventually learn what to do and what NOT to do? Can you tell I'm feeling a little discouraged today? Thank you for listening to me whine today. :? [/quote]

    Oh Yes, I have been there many times, you are not alone on that one.

    Did you hand baste the pieces together that made up the basket. When i get really cheesed off with something I find that hand basting first before i sew sometimes solves the problem.

    Take it easy....... tranquilo as we say here in Spain.... :D Elle

  5. #5
    mgshaw's Avatar
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    It is quite normal!!! Some days nothing will go together right and other days they will practically put themselves together.. On the bad days if I have to rip it too often its best to just walk away for awhile. But try to figure out what the problem is before going on. Are you doing something wrong, is your 1/4 seam correct, is your pattern correct, or as is my case usually just have HUB syndrome going on!!! (head up butt)

  6. #6
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    Ohhh my gosh if it's not normal then I have a major problem!! :wink: First of all welcome to the most helpful place in the world!! Trial and error are really the best teachers!! You'll get it, just keep trying. I'm not an experienced quilter...seamstress yes, quilting though not so much. I don't think I've made very many things, quilt blocks, clothes, any sewing project that I didn't have to rip out at least one ooopsy!!!! Hang in there, it really does get easier!! Just make sure to keep having fun...when it seems like a "chore" put it away for awhile and find a new muse for a minute, day, week, month. Whatever it takes then come back to it.

  7. #7

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    FanofFabric...don't worry!!:))We've all been there, done that. I have to say I've never been good at ripping...just going forward:))I seem to rip now more then ever after more experience.:0)My first investment would be an omni ruler. It is the best and so makes the cutting very efficient and accurate. I'm not sure a basket block is a good thing for a beginner...maybe if you could post some pics and hear some short cuts on how to do the one you are working on...if that is 'ok' to do so. Remember..ruler (I like the different size square ones/6" my fav!) and a good rotary cutter w/mat. SKeat PS who will say don't quit whatever you do..and, if you feel frustrated w/this block, then set it aside for awhile and sew on something else till you gain some more confidence. I did that on a Halloween quilt that I bought as a kit...did one block and could have pulled my hair out...so very carefully tucked it away and am now excited to pull it back out and do it. And, am glad I waited on this one:))

  8. #8
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    I have to agree with everyone's commments and please be assured, you are not alone! I can't tell you how many times, I've cut out carefully and measured carefully and haven't had pieces go together "right". I rip and rip and rip if necesary. Rotary cutters, mats and a good omni ruler (that's a brand name-think it's spelled right) do help one to be more accurate. But, please don't quit.......If real frustrated, start another one less complicated......

  9. #9
    FanOfFabric's Avatar
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    Thank you to each and every one of you for your responses. It's good to hear that maybe it's not just happening to me. :) I'm just so excited and want to learn too fast I guess.

    Hand basting may be very helpful to me as a beginner, just to make sure before I sew it. That's a good idea. Over the last several months, I picked up rotary cutters and a couple different size cutting mats, as well as 2 different size Omni rulers. I have a roomful of gadgets and accessories and now I just need to put them all to use and hopefully end up with quilts. :P

    For now, I think I'm going to tuck this particular project gently away and learn more of the basics and then go back to it later on when I know more. I recently picked up fat quarters to make a quilt top using the "turning twenty" pattern that is simple squares/rectangles. I think that's where I'll focus for now. Surely I can do squares accurately!?!?!?. LOL We'll see.


  10. #10
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanOfFabric
    For now, I think I'm going to tuck this particular project gently away and learn more of the basics and then go back to it later on when I know more. I recently picked up fat quarters to make a quilt top using the "turning twenty" pattern that is simple squares/rectangles. I think that's where I'll focus for now. Surely I can do squares accurately!?!?!?. LOL We'll see.
    Not necessarily. But... Turning 20 is a nice easy pattern. Yellow Brick Road is another nice one, if you think it through, there will be no matching seams to any other block, nor any matching seams within the block. It's easy but looks very complicated. It's the background for my toes.

    tim in san jose

  11. #11
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    Boy oh boy did I rip just as many as I sewed when I started! :lol:

    I got really good with a razor blade to rip them out too!

    I also learned a walking foot is good to use too.

  12. #12
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    keep ripping, it's worth the time :roll: Don't do what I've just done and plough on ahead anyways. I've just finished a top and didn't like the material. So, I didn't give it the respect it needed and when corners didn't exactly match I thought "oh well, it's only a bit out" and figured I'd square things up and it would be fine in the end. Well, I've ended up with a top that looks fine to the untrained eye but I (and everyone here would) see the unmatched corners. Thank goodness the blocks have few matches but even a simple quilt is too much work, effort and material to treat it carelessly. I've learned a good lesson and applaud your determination even though it's frustrating.

  13. #13
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    I call unmatched corners interest building movement. LOL At least thats my story and I'm stickin to it!!

  14. #14

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    Turning Twenty is a fun pattern to do. You will love the look of your fabrics w/it too!:))Here's a good tip to use to keep at a good start...if you do not have a quarter inch foot (mine has a guide on the right side to guide me exactly each time)or if you don't have it in the budget right now, I measured exactly where my needle dropped to the 1/4" on the ruler then marked a good line across the machine plate using the adhesive green tape hand sewers use. That was my guide for awhile...now I have the foot and love it. When you sew exactly the same width each time, it makes a huge difference in the end result and you will be happier. Since you are a woman, and we like instant success I would not recommend basting for it will take you too long in the end and you will put it away :0). I too am this, so I totally understand:))Just sew the same 1/4" and you will hug yourself in the end!:))Skeat

  15. #15
    FanOfFabric's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the words of encouragement. I spent most of the afternoon far away from my sewing room and after reading all the great posts here, I'll be back in there with a new perspective tomorrow! At least for awhile tomorrow.

    You know how shopping for fabric fixes everything? Well, this time I shopped for a couple new pressure foots for my sewing machine, instead! It's still therapeutic, right? :)

    Mona

  16. #16
    Senior Member CindyBee's Avatar
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    Hi Mona! I'm new at this also and I feel your pain, LOL. One thing that made piecing much easier for me is that quarter inch foot. That and accurate cutting. If you don't have the quarter inch foot you can place a small square ruler under your pressure foot and lower your needle on the quarter inch mark. Then, just but up several thicknesses of post it notes next to the ruler and Voila! - instant seam guide. Hang in there and don't give up. My first quilt (baby quilt) has been pieced and put away for a couple of weeks while I take time out to practice my free motion skills. I practice for an hour or so each day and I'm ready to quilt it now! So, practicing helps a lot also. Good Luck. I know you will be successful :D

    Cindy

  17. #17
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    Yes, Mona, I've certainly been there...heck..I'm still there! I try to get the 1/4" seam thingie done correctly...that seems to be the key to the whole thing. I still unsew..some days more that others. I thought it was part of the process! :oops:

    Good luck to you and just have fun on the "turnig twent" That was my 1st "big" quilt. I handmade a queen and hand-quilted it. Thats when I learned that I wanted to learn how to work my sewing machine! :roll:

  18. #18
    Super Member DA Mayer's Avatar
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    Do you have the 1/4 inch foot for your machine? That has saved me hundreds of times. Also i find that at the end of a seam I tend to pull my block away from the needle so I have a too narrow section. chain sewing with a piece of scrap fabric at the end has helped me with that. Are the shop hop stores close where you can take your block in and ask for advice. i was putting mine together wrong and once i was told, things went better.

  19. #19
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    Hi, I understand the discouraged part real well. On my first quilt, all was going well, til I sewed my 2 rows together and they didn't match up. I wanted to quit right then & there, but the gals on here encouraged me to rip in out , and keep going. They kept my spirits high and it turned out great. I am now on my 3rd quilt. I started out very simple. 9 & 4 patch. Good Luck on yours, and PLEASE don't give up. Maybe walk away a day or two and look at it thru fresh eyes. Let us know how your coming along.

  20. #20
    Super Member Quilt4u's Avatar
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    Been there done that; that is why I have so many UFOs.

  21. #21
    FanOfFabric's Avatar
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    I don't have the 1/4 in. foot yet, but as a result of so many suggesting it here on the board, I've ordered it today. To be honest, I didn't know one existed - so I just keep learning. :)

    I'm hoping that will help me. I find that I also have a tendency to trail off at the end of the seam also. I did take my 3 blocks that I've done to one of the shops today, as a matter of fact. I'm glad I did - it was very helpful to talk to someone about it. She suggested the 1/4 in. foot as well. Actually, she said that she personally took a piece of Dr. Scholl's moleskin that you would normally use on your foot, and cut a strip of it. She measured 1/4 in. from her needle and placed the strip on her sewing machine. That raised edge kept her fabric from going beyond the seam allowance. Much like the earlier suggestion of using post-it notes or tape from CindyBee and Skeat. I'm going to mark mine off as well tonight.

    I have decided today to work on a Hummel House pattern which, like the Turning Twenty and the Yellow Brick Road, is more basic and a better fit for a beginner like me. This will help me get a little more experience, work on my seams and feel more confident. I'm not quitting on the basket blocks - merely setting them aside for a bit. :)

    Everyone here is awesome. I truly appreciate the responses with the encouragement, suggestions and stories of your own experiences. I'm glad I found this board. Hopefully I'll be posting pictures soon!

    Mona

  22. #22
    bj
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    Super Member bj's Avatar
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    Hi Mona and welcome! I use the moleskin that your quilt shop person suggested. I have a 1/4" foot, but I find I sew a little straighter if I have that little guide to help me. Good luck.

  23. #23
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    The best way to start as a beginner is with half square triangles. There are so many ways to put them togather to make a block.
    If you use El Burns patterns you will always have a perfect block. She oversizes so you square up to the perfect size block. She also has you square up each section of a block so that every piece is the right size as it goes togather.
    I have never had a problem with her patterns. To top it off she always has the simplest method to use.






  24. #24
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    Hey we have all been there.. At times I've had to just walk away from it for a while. the nine patch patterns are good to start with but the key is accuracy. When you have four, five, ten or whatever pieces of material and you're a smidge off every other time, they just won't go together.
    I started putting a little piece of that stuff you use to line shelves or open jars between my long ruler and the fabric and then I don't shift it when I cut.I sometimes moved it just a hair and the end of a strip was wider than the beginning of a strip. What a pain to re line up and cut then.
    I started out with a sampler quilt and you learn several different tricks in doing that. There are curves and appliqued blocks.They were all joined with sashing strips that made you square up each block to fit the sashing.It went together so well. But it was hand pieced blocks and machine pieced together. I am so much more accurate by hand but it takes forever.

  25. #25
    FanOfFabric's Avatar
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    I've heard others speak highly of her patterns too. The idea of oversize to begin with and THEN squaring the block to 12 inches make so much more since to this beginner! :)

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