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Thread: So many questions...where do I start??

  1. #1
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    So many questions...where do I start??

    I guess I'll just jump in and ask - I've never been accused of being shy

    I'm working on my first quilt - it started out as a tie quilt and then I got brave and decided to give quilting a try. OH boy - I took to it like a duck to water - once I started I haven't been able to stop!! I got ansy though - so I'm trying to start quilt #2.

    The plan was to make a scrap quilt - I found an ad on Craigslist for fabric - unfortunately - it's not useable for a quilt top (I don't think) as it appears to be old hotel curtain fabric - in navy blue, maroon, tan, and brown. 4 HUGE trash bags of this - all cut into about 4 inch strips. The only thing I could think to do with it was sew some together to add to the batting when I start my next quilt. So - I'm wondering (other than buying fabric - WOW it's expensive!!) are there other places/resources to find fabric? I've bought a few remnants here and there and scavaged some old clothes and sheets from around the house - just wondered if I was missing a good spot for fabric?

    I'm in the process of finding a fabric cutting machine - any suggestions? I had the Simplicity Rotary Cutter and took it back as it wouldn't cut worth a flip - I'm researching that now. I'm not so good with a rotary cutter - it's not as easy as those ladies on youtube make it look!!

    Ok - there is much more running around in my head to be asked - but I better take it slow I guess - information overload is not your friend!!!

    Thanks in advance y'all for your help!

  2. #2
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    Clearly Nokie you are going to fit in here nicely. So many questions never enough time and ideas running amuck.

    Rotary cutters do take a little practice but you will find them a huge time saver and keep your peices more precise. Take it slow and use every safety precaution you can (they have a nasty bite). There are many sites on the internet that have great sales for stash building. Sew some of the hotel fabric together and give it a wash see what happens. Remember what our pioneers used for quilts and how adored they are now.

    Keep asking questions and please show us some of your results, there is lots of praise waiting for you here.
    Merivale
    Australia.

  3. #3
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    Connecting Threads and Thousands of Bolts are two web sites where fabric is less costly and beautiful. They both run sales and you can be alerted via email. Some Walmart stores sell fabric at very reasonable prices. It is worth the investment in my opinion to use quilter's fabric because other materials are more challenging to work with. I am making a quilt using my husband's old shirts and the cutting and sewing is much more challenging than regular quilter's cotton.

  4. #4
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    Thank you both so much for your response. I didn't know there was such a thing as quilter's fabric....I will have to look at that for my next project. I keep telling myself I need to finish this one I'm on, along with the other tie quilt I started before I do anything else - then I tell myself...stop that! LOL....I figure if I can read 3 books at once and have several crochet projects going - my quilts will be happy to do the same!

  5. #5
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    Yeah, you're hooked. Welcome to the quilting world

  6. #6
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    Welcome to this special corner of the world - you're going to love it here! As for finding affordable fabrics.....well, you have to just keep your eyes and ears open all the time! I recently found on Craigslist a nice lady out on eastern Long Island (in the Hamptons) who was de-stashing her fabric collection. She used to have a business making doggie bandanas and had every conceivable print for every different holiday of the year. Everything was only $1.00 a yard!!! My best friend and I came home with more than 80 yards between us - now THAT was a FIND!!
    Great buys are out there.....Craigslist is a great source. Looking forward to seeing your work!

  7. #7
    Senior Member QuiltingHaven's Avatar
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    Welcome to the wonderful world of quilting. Make sure you get signed up at Jo Ann's Fabrics and Hobby Lobby so that you can get 40% off coupons plus other specials that they have. Also, check out Walmart's (watch the quality of all the material - some is good, some not so much). Check out the Salvation Army stores, garage sales, and Good Will. Ebay also has some good buys on material that you can bid on - always ask if it is quilting material. Also, check the board here, many of our great quilters sell their stash when they find that they have overloaded their quilting areas or don't need some of their material. Take your time with the rotary cutter, it is your best friend. Also, use the coupons to get quilting supplies like rulers, books, notions, etc. It will take time to get a good supply of quilting supplies but all of sudden, you will notice you have gotten lots of stuff and not had to spend too much money.
    Busy in Ohio

  8. #8
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    As for getting fabric reasonably, go to all the thrift stores in your area, browse everything and also ask members of the staff if you can leave your name for when they get fabric in stock. Best way to learn about fabric, is to spend time at your lqs (great sales - get on their mail list), or Joann's etc. Fondle the fabric, get to know what quality looks like. You need a large cutting mat - self healing - get on Joann's or Hancock's mailing list - use the 40-50% coupon to build up your notions, buy batting. Buy Aurifil thread #50 - in shades of grey for piecing. Or gutterman - you don't need all the colors unless you are a purist.

    Also buy the Olfa 60mm cutting wheel, and lots of spare blades. I like the Alto's cutting system - I have the accuquilt but do not use it unless I am making lots of the same cuts. And it is hard on my arthritic rotor cuff (surgery maybe this winter). Best of all, practice - practice, good luck, my first project is still an UFO - really kinda messy, but I did it hand piecing on the plane when I commuted from NJ to CA every week for a year. Also did alot in the hotel room - then I took beginning lessons at my lqs - oh yeah, find out if your lqs has classes for beginners - I also find a live instructor is better for beginners. Good luck, keep us informed - we love converts to quilting.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Look at Connecting Threads, google it. They have really nice fabrics, Kits, threads, etc. Good prices too. Kits are a good deal to just built up your stash. Don't have to make the quilt designed for the fabrics. Quilt shops have the highest prices, as a general rule. I personally would not use anything but new fabrics. 100% cotton is what most people use.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    When I first started I was an ebay nut I ran across a lady doing ironing board covers and I took a chance and messaged her and asked what she did with her scraps...she replied nothing. I paid the shipping and she sent them all to me, Was wonderful!!! You'll find you can shop clearances and there is nothing like Joanns coupons!!! As for rotary cutters look at the reviews on OLFA and use a coupon at joanns you'll be happy. Use a coupon again for an OLFA mat. You will not struggle with those! Look at the reviews. Fabric is one of those things that if you look you can find sales just feel it and you'll know if it worth even the clearance price. I only buy from trusted manufacturers online. Moda, Robert Kaufman, Henry Glass. When you see something you like buy it because like fashion some fabric is seasonal and when it's gone you can't find it anymore. Happy quilting!!
    *Rachel*

  11. #11
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    There are quite a few online quilt/fabric sites, these are a couple that I've used in the past and was very impressed with their price and quality of their fabrics, and also their service, these are Thousands of Bolts and Jhittle. The other places that can be great finds are yard sales, thrift stores, etc. The rotary cutter does take a little practice, but personally, I find that the 45mm cutter is a whole lot easier for me, plus, I can get the blades a whole lot cheaper than the 60 mm. I also want to welcome you to the wonderful world of quilting.

  12. #12
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board! The others have given you good advice, I don't really have much to add. Ask all the questions you want, chances are someone else is wondering the same thing and doesn't want to ask
    Heather

  13. #13
    Senior Member vwquilting's Avatar
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    I happen to like muslin, or flannel fabrics in my quilts. I also use sheets for backing. I also use cheap high loft synthetic batting. This makes my quilts soft and fluffy. shop church rummage sales for fabric and sheets or shirts or skirts for fabric. Enjoy it is a world of fun.

  14. #14
    Senior Member roseirish48's Avatar
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    my mother would use old drapes for quilt backs. she used denim cut from the back of the legs of ragged jeans also. she would use the denim for backing or for fronts depending on who the quilt was for. I buy fabric at rummage sales, thrift shops,goodwill,walmart,Joannes,Hancocks and Mill Ends. I save all my scraps and put them to use in scrap quilt tops for my church group. I check out remnant bins is the various fabric stores I go to. You would be surprised how many times you can find the just right piece needed to give a quilt some pizazz. one cute quilt I made was from five remnants I picked up for a quarter a piece from Mill Ends. They were the end of bolt strips of 4 blocks of Asian girls in various colored clothing. I cut 20 squares from these strips, framed them with solid strips and alternated with plain blocks cut from another remnant. total price of twin size quilt top was less than $5.00. happy fabric hunting and quilting.

  15. #15
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    Welcome!

    I found the rotary cutter challenging when I started as well. Check out the cutting mat you are using. Some of them are more like hard plastic and some are the softer self healing mats. I started on a hard plastic one and I found it felt like the cutter would sometimes almost slide out from under my hand when I used it. I like the softer ones much better, like the Olfa mat one of the ladies suggested.

    Not sure where you live, but there is a great store called Marshall's Dry Goods in Batesville, AR that has Great prices on fabric. Mostly, just enjoy the journey. A quilt out of the heavy fabric might be the perfect thing for trips to the park. Or, how about a quilted dog bed? I made one with the fabric from an ugly fabric exchange--it turned out really cool! But, some of the fabrics didn't hold up so good.

    Good luck!


    Good luck!

  16. #16
    Senior Member maryfrang's Avatar
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    Good place for scrap fabrics of all kinds is shopgoodwill.com they ususally sell pounds and some are already cut. Also keepsake quilting has scrap bags. Check also with LQS some will sell scraps by the bag. Good luck and hunting.

  17. #17
    Senior Member quilting in my60s's Avatar
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    Just a note about Olfa rotary cutter. I was at Walmart one day and say Fiskars blades for about $4 and thought I would try them on my Olfa rotary cutter. So far it is working and saved myself a bundle!
    quilting with my dogs

  18. #18
    Super Member Judith1005's Avatar
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    If you have a Tuesday Mornings in your area...They also sell Fabric bundles at a great price. A lot of people on a fixed budget also shop Goodwill, Nearly New for fabrics/clothes. There are also people on the board who are all the time giving away fabric for free or the cost of shipping. (check in Items for Sale or Trade...or in Free offers and Donations) You could also post for a little help. This board is so generous and supportive to fellow quilters.

    You might want to check out Liberated quilting or Mordern quilting styles. They are now so precise on their cutting techniques. If you want to quilt traditional....It is super important to be precise on cutting. So practice and have fun quilting. There is beauty in every quilt.
    My little shinning stars. Brantley, Kaylynn, and Emmalee

  19. #19
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    Welcome....you are in the right blog. The quilters here are congenial and very sharing of information. I think that the fabric you have purchased is called 'Bark Cloth'. It is a fabric used in the '50's. I think that it would make a good picnic or beach blanket. Add some bright colors to it. I do a lot of shopping in goodwill stores for fabric.

  20. #20
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    I think you will enjoy the rotary cutter when you practise with it a little it is such an improvement over the scissors my mom and Aunt used a generation ago. I have found fabric from Fabric. com and from other sites on innernet to be very reasonable. I have made lots of two color quilts like the winner circle pattern and the six yard bolts are just right they run specials and you can sometimes find a quilting partner to share a large order and have lot of fabric to choose from. I have also bought lots of fabric at yard sales, Quilting has been such a love since I took it up and everyone seems to enjoy the results they are well used and appreciated. Have a great adventure.

  21. #21
    Super Member feffertim's Avatar
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    Don't worry about finishing one project before starting another. You will not be a true quilter until you have several UFO's (unfinished objects) or LIW (Ladies in waiting as I prefer to call them). Do check out connecting threads, their fabric is great and good value, often they have sale fabric for $2.50 a yard.

  22. #22
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    when my husband and i first married i had two under the mattress type boxes full of fabric i had bought 1 yard at a time.i would allow myself 20.00 a month for fabric.it went a lot farther in those days! but i can still get some small peices every month and then when someone is having a baby, i have the fabric right there and all i have to do is pick it out of my box! 30 years later i have a fabric cabinet made from a entertainment center i bought at auction and about 15 totes in my basement.i recently went to a garage sale where the only thing the older lady had who was running the sale was fabric.all of it quilter's fabric as she was downsizing.i bought everythink she had left for 250.00,i figure i got about 1500.00 worth as it came home in 8 plus garbage bags and two boxes.i still had to buy fabric for the last quilt-not al of it but some!

  23. #23
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    Welcome to our way of life quiltilg is so much fun and remember there are no quilting police here just great friends

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    We make pet beds and stuff them with our scraps and snippets then donate them to the Humane society.

  25. #25
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I think what we refer to as "quilting fabric" is generally just 100% cotton fabric. It is predictable in its use and in handling. Rotary cutting is so popular because a lot of patterns are made by cutting strips, sewing the strips together and sub-cutting into smaller bits. I can't even imagine going back to using scissors. Do you know what your problem with the cutter is? Was your blade dull? Did you not apply enough pressure? Was your fabric too thick (or slick)? Did you hold the cutter at a different angle (needs to be 90 degrees to the ruler)? Just hang in there. With the help here you'll be an expert in no time.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

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