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Thread: Some Newbie Questions

  1. #1
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    Hope you all dont mind- I just had a few questions. Im sure you all remember how overwhelming it can be when you first start out and dont know a thing :-)


    1. Why do you make your own binding? Is it just more customized? Cant you just buy the stuff that I see in the store?


    2. What are blender fabrics?

    3. What ruler/cutting mat size do you all recommend(real limited budget,so I know the big sizes are out of the question ).

    4. Does it matter what size your rotary cutter is? I have one, but have no idea what size it is- i forgot LOL

    5. Any helpful beginner tips or timesavers? Anything you found out the hard way?

    6.With all the fabrics,batting,threads, tools etc... seems like its not a inexpensive hobby to start. Any tips to share on how you keep the cost down to a reasonable amount? (if I start shopping for fabric like I do scrapbook paper~I KNOW i'm in trouble :mrgreen:



    Thanks everyone for your help!

  2. #2
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    Look in thrift stores for fabric and notions. Yard sales are great.

  3. #3
    Power Poster sharon b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    Hope you all dont mind- I just had a few questions. Im sure you all remember how overwhelming it can be when you first start out and dont know a thing :-)


    1. Why do you make your own binding? Is it just more customized? Cant you just buy the stuff that I see in the store?

    If you make your own it will match the quilt better as opposed to having to make do with what the stores have


    2. What are blender fabrics?

    My understanding of blenders are they are fabrics that are not a solid- but not a pattern- does that make sense ?

    3. What ruler/cutting mat size do you all recommend(real limited budget,so I know the big sizes are out of the question ).

    I use a 24x 24 mat and a size 45 cutter. I find that is a good size for my hand

    4. Does it matter what size your rotary cutter is? I have one, but have no idea what size it is- i forgot LOL

    Size 45 cutter - fits my hand nicely.

    5. Any helpful beginner tips or timesavers? Anything you found out the hard way?

    Too many to list , can't pick just one

    6.With all the fabrics,batting,threads, tools etc... seems like its not a inexpensive hobby to start. Any tips to share on how you keep the cost down to a reasonable amount? (if I start shopping for fabric like I do scrapbook paper~I KNOW i'm in trouble :mrgreen:

    Shop sales and use coupons as much as possible !


    Thanks everyone for your help!

  4. #4
    Super Member maine ladybug's Avatar
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    I haven't found a hobbie yet that doesn't get expensive. Just watch yourself!
    We make our own binding because it goes with the individual quilts that way and it is of better quality usually than what I've seen in the stores.
    Blenders are fabrics with texture but not much design. That are a color that goes with the other fabrics you are using ( ie it blends with them). I would suggest that you get the biggest cutting mat you can afford. When you are cutting large pieces of fabric it will help. If I could only have one ruler it would be the 6 1/2 by 24" one. I use that one the most. As for the rotary cutter, I would suggest the 45. It is up to you to find the one that works best for you though.
    Hope some of this helps. These are just my opinions.

  5. #5
    Super Member candi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maine ladybug
    I haven't found a hobbie yet that doesn't get expensive. Just watch yourself!
    So true!

    Just stick to this wonderful board, and you will learn A LOT! Good luck!

  6. #6
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    Hope you all dont mind- I just had a few questions. Im sure you all remember how overwhelming it can be when you first start out and dont know a thing :-)


    1. Why do you make your own binding? Is it just more customized? Cant you just buy the stuff that I see in the store?

    It is only a single thickness of fabric, making your own you are using a double thickness and you can choose a wider variety of fabrics, too


    2. What are blender fabrics?

    Fabrics that are usually one color with different shades to them, they "blend in" because they don't have other distracting colors

    3. What ruler/cutting mat size do you all recommend(real limited budget,so I know the big sizes are out of the question ).

    Minimum would be a 12" X 24" but you will find squaring up 12 1/2" blocks a challenge, I would go up atleast one size if possible

    4. Does it matter what size your rotary cutter is? I have one, but have no idea what size it is- i forgot LOL

    a 45mm is good for most cutting, I only found it helpful to use a 60mm when cutting through 6+ thickness of fabric. The smaller 30mm (?) are needed to cut around curved templates

    5. Any helpful beginner tips or timesavers? Anything you found out the hard way?

    Read the directions atleast 3 times before starting a pattern. Measure 2+ times before starting to cut.

    6.With all the fabrics,batting,threads, tools etc... seems like its not a inexpensive hobby to start. Any tips to share on how you keep the cost down to a reasonable amount? (if I start shopping for fabric like I do scrapbook paper~I KNOW i'm in trouble :mrgreen:

    Joanns coupons :D for supplies, watch here for super sales at different shops/stores. You will find many tips here on the board for saving money. Used clothing for fabric is one :wink:



    Thanks everyone for your help!

  7. #7
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    You can use clothing fabric?? Thats awesome because my 4 kids are always outgrowing something! :thumbup:

    Thanks everyone for answering my questions :-) I really appreciate it!

  8. #8
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    Good questions.

    I would wait for Joann's 40 or 50% off coupons.

    17" x 24" mat if you can affort it.

    I have been collecting large men's shirts from the thrift store on the days they have $1 clothing sale. I currently getting plaid flannel shirts for a rag quilt.

    Garage sales are good source too if you are patient.

  9. #9
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Yes, stretchy or thin fabrics can be used, just find iron on stabilizer to put on the backs of them. What fun memory quilts they make :D:D:D

    Jeans, cotton shirts, etc... all work well too. Thriftstores and garage sales are a great source of fabric :wink: My family/friends are saving their jeans for me :D:D:D

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    Hope you all dont mind- I just had a few questions. Im sure you all remember how overwhelming it can be when you first start out and dont know a thing :-)


    1. Why do you make your own binding? Is it just more customized? Cant you just buy the stuff that I see in the store?
    I like it better, i use the fabrics from the project that are left over.


    2. What are blender fabrics?
    blenders and tonal fabrics add depth to a quilt..they "read" the main color..

    3. What ruler/cutting mat size do you all recommend(real limited budget,so I know the big sizes are out of the question ).
    Self healing mat at least 18x24
    Ruler 6 1/2 x 24 or 18


    4. Does it matter what size your rotary cutter is? I have one, but have no idea what size it is- i forgot LOL
    no it doesn't matter, 45mm is the most commonly used for most of us.

    5. Any helpful beginner tips or timesavers? Anything you found out the hard way?
    measure twice...cut once! Read ALL the instructions,before you begin cutting fabric.

    6.With all the fabrics,batting,threads, tools etc... seems like its not a inexpensive hobby to start. Any tips to share on how you keep the cost down to a reasonable amount? (if I start shopping for fabric like I do scrapbook paper~I KNOW i'm in trouble :mrgreen:
    Coupons at Joanns, watch for when people on the board tell you about a great sale on fabrics!



    Thanks everyone for your help!

  11. #11
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    Hope you all dont mind- I just had a few questions. Im sure you all remember how overwhelming it can be when you first start out and dont know a thing :-)


    1. Why do you make your own binding? Is it just more customized? Cant you just buy the stuff that I see in the store?

    Double thickness lasts longer, match colors or contrast colors in your quilt, thin or narrow--it's up to you, much cheaper than buying the stuff in the store if you're using up scraps to make it.


    2. What are blender fabrics?

    Blenders are tonal fabrics that "read" as a solid. They create movement and/or interest to a quilt without distracting from the pattern. Kind of like sponge painting a wall.

    3. What ruler/cutting mat size do you all recommend(real limited budget,so I know the big sizes are out of the question ).

    For a cutting mat--I strongly suggest the 36 x 24" size. It is perfect for cutting width of fabric and measuring yardage. You're going to need at least 2 rulers to start. I would choose a 6.5 x 24" and a 12.5 or 15" square to start. Take a known good ruler or tape measure with you to check them for size before you buy.

    4. Does it matter what size your rotary cutter is? I have one, but have no idea what size it is- i forgot LOL.

    For a rotary cutter--45mm is the most popular and easiest to control. The 60mm is useful for cutting 4+ layers at a time and for flannel & fleece.

    5. Any helpful beginner tips or timesavers? Anything you found out the hard way?

    Always pre-wash flannel--it shrinks a lot. Use starch liberally especially on fabric that you plan to cut into triangles. If it isn't fun--you're doing something wrong!

    6.With all the fabrics,batting,threads, tools etc... seems like its not a inexpensive hobby to start. Any tips to share on how you keep the cost down to a reasonable amount? (if I start shopping for fabric like I do scrapbook paper~I KNOW i'm in trouble :mrgreen:

    Definitely shop the sales and use coupons. Also check out rummage sales that have "craft items", check freecycle, haunt your local thrift shops for cotton clothing & bedding that you can re-purpose. Don't skimp on thread. The cheap crap is useless and is way more aggravation than it's worth but you can still get decent thread at Joann's, Hancock Fabrics, Connecting Threads, etc. Feel free to use cotton, poly/cotton, poly, rayon, whatever as long as your sewing machine & needles will work with it and it's good and strong.

    Thanks everyone for your help!

  12. #12
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    Hope you all dont mind- I just had a few questions. Im sure you all remember how overwhelming it can be when you first start out and dont know a thing :-)


    1. Why do you make your own binding? Is it just more customized? Cant you just buy the stuff that I see in the store?


    2. What are blender fabrics?

    3. What ruler/cutting mat size do you all recommend(real limited budget,so I know the big sizes are out of the question ).

    4. Does it matter what size your rotary cutter is? I have one, but have no idea what size it is- i forgot LOL

    5. Any helpful beginner tips or timesavers? Anything you found out the hard way?

    6.With all the fabrics,batting,threads, tools etc... seems like its not a inexpensive hobby to start. Any tips to share on how you keep the cost down to a reasonable amount? (if I start shopping for fabric like I do scrapbook paper~I KNOW i'm in trouble :mrgreen:



    Thanks everyone for your help!
    Question !. I tried using the stuff that was pre-made, tried real hard, gave up and made my own. I learned a good method on TV, and will just stick to that. I ue sizing to press it in half after I cut it, and never have any problems and I am NO expert!

  13. #13
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    Wow! Lots of good tips. I'm pretty new at quilting and enjoy learning. I get. Material at thrift stores, freebies from friends and have been buying here! Addicting!! I've learned at lot here too'

  14. #14
    Senior Member KarenSimon's Avatar
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    maine ladybug 17 X 24 mat, 45 mm cutter, 12 1/2 inch square ruler. Yes, an expensive hobby.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    1. Why do you make your own binding? Is it just more customized? Cant you just buy the stuff that I see in the store?
    Oh - do you mean that shiny gynormous band? Sorry - don't like it because it's not a "blanket" that I'm sewing. The binding is the ribbon and the bow to any quilt I finish. When I make my own binding, I can use fabric to match or complement the project AND I can make it the size I want.

    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    2. What are blender fabrics??
    They are neutral tone-on tone fabrics that come in many colors and help you transition within a quilt. They are not necessary but they can come in handy.

    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    3. What ruler/cutting mat size do you all recommend(real limited budget,so I know the big sizes are out of the question ).
    I have the medium-sized mat 18"x24". Personally, I find the large one too large and the small one insufficient. Often I fold my fabric twice and this mat is large enough and when I want to cut the fabric using a single fold, the mat is large enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    4. Does it matter what size your rotary cutter is? I have one, but have no idea what size it is- i forgot LOL
    The 45 mm (medium size) is the best size for me. I have it and with a new blade, I can cut through UP TO 8 layers. Generally, I only cut about 4 layers. The larger cutter seems overkill to me and the blades are too expensive. I also have the little one (28 mm) and use it to cut between templates. I don't think it is strong enough to cut larger pieces. If anything - get one that is ergonomic.
    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    5. Any helpful beginner tips or timesavers? Anything you found out the hard way?
    Unfortunately, yes: The key to successful work is not necessary in time-saving methods. I spend more time in the prep-work (accurate measure, accurate cutting, accurate sewing with a consistent 1/4" seam allowance, and careful pressing) than anything. If I don't I'll pay for it later.

    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    6.With all the fabrics,batting,threads, tools etc... seems like its not a inexpensive hobby to start. Any tips to share on how you keep the cost down to a reasonable amount? (if I start shopping for fabric like I do scrapbook paper~I KNOW i'm in trouble :mrgreen:
    If you plan to make a masterpiece, then you will want to get the high-priced good-quality supplies. I believe in supporting my LQS (and I love to visit there regularly) BUT there is nothing saying that I can't buy supplies online, at a Joann or WalMart, or even at a yard sale. The key is to get a feel for what is "good" quality. Even an online shopping at a reputable store with free shipping is a saving. Some people manage to buy ONLY for the project they are working on. I wish I were that disciplined.

  16. #16
    Super Member donnalynett's Avatar
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    I have my plexiglass templates made at a local glass shop. They will cut any size I want and they are the same as the expensive ones you see at fabric shops, etc....I pay anywhere from $2 to $8 depending on the size. I then mark the size on them with a permenant marker and store several in gallon-size ziplock bags.

  17. #17
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    Templates are for what size you want to cut something, right? Thats a great idea! Ive seen templates, or maybe they are rulers too?, they seemed expensive. If I was sure I would use it over and over than I wouldnt mind paying, but I wont pay a lot for something I wont use too often :-)

  18. #18
    Super Member Tinabodina's Avatar
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    The one thing that you must do is to take your time, enjoy. Quilting is not instant gratification. When I first started quilting I was in a high stress position. Quilting MADE me slow down and de-stress. Don't rush it and it will be the best therapy money can buy. Don't look at it as just a hobby. 8-)

  19. #19
    Super Member moonrise's Avatar
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    1. Why do you make your own binding? Is it just more customized? Cant you just buy the stuff that I see in the store?

    I make my own because when I buy 108" wide backing, there's usually plenty leftover for binding. It matches perfectly, and there's no sense in wasting it! :-)

    2. What are blender fabrics?

    Fabric that looks like it's been "sponged" to create a mottled effect. I personally don't like solid colors (boooooring), but I love blenders!

    3. What ruler/cutting mat size do you all recommend(real limited budget,so I know the big sizes are out of the question ).

    If I had to narrow mine down to bare minimum, I'd keep my 24"x18" Olfa cutting mat, my 24"x6" ruler, and my 6-1/2" square ruler. And I'd really like to keep my 12-1/2" square ruler as well, but I could make do without it if I HAD to.

    4. Does it matter what size your rotary cutter is? I have one, but have no idea what size it is- i forgot LOL

    I've only used a 45mm, and it serves my purposes just fine.

    5. Any helpful beginner tips or timesavers? Anything you found out the hard way?

    Practice, practice, practice, especially lining up those points.

    6.With all the fabrics,batting,threads, tools etc... seems like its not a inexpensive hobby to start. Any tips to share on how you keep the cost down to a reasonable amount? (if I start shopping for fabric like I do scrapbook paper~I KNOW i'm in trouble :mrgreen:

    Shop sales, and look for coupon codes when ordering online. Some online stores give you free shipping if you order a certain amount, and that helps as well. :)

  20. #20
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    I want to thank all of you for this thread! Thanks for the questions and for the wonderful answers. I learn something everyday I check this site. I feel very fortunate indeed to have found such a generous and loving group to spend time with!
    Blessings.

  21. #21
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Go to the library and read, read, read! Many helpful quilting books at most of them.

  22. #22

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    I make my binding because I usually use a fabric I used in the quilt. I cut by binding on the straight of grain so it is probably cheaper than pre made binding.
    I use a 45 mm rotary cutter, and my cutting mat is 18X24.
    I'm not sure what everone calls 'blender' fabrics.
    I'm guessing its the tone on tone, off white fabric used as a background fabric when piecing a block.

  23. #23
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    I think of blenders as a bridge between colors, a gradual change from one tone to another. Original color,then a slight change of hue to another. Does that make sense to you?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolo
    I think of blenders as a bridge between colors, a gradual change from one tone to another. Original color,then a slight change of hue to another. Does that make sense to you?
    yes that makes sense. I think I had some in my old stash that got left in Ohio

  25. #25
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith2
    Hope you all dont mind- I just had a few questions. Im sure you all remember how overwhelming it can be when you first start out and dont know a thing :-)


    1. Why do you make your own binding? Is it just more customized? Cant you just buy the stuff that I see in the store?


    2. What are blender fabrics?

    3. What ruler/cutting mat size do you all recommend(real limited budget,so I know the big sizes are out of the question ).

    4. Does it matter what size your rotary cutter is? I have one, but have no idea what size it is- i forgot LOL

    5. Any helpful beginner tips or timesavers? Anything you found out the hard way?

    6.With all the fabrics,batting,threads, tools etc... seems like its not a inexpensive hobby to start. Any tips to share on how you keep the cost down to a reasonable amount? (if I start shopping for fabric like I do scrapbook paper~I KNOW i'm in trouble :mrgreen:



    Thanks everyone for your help!
    One last answer for question 5- Before you begin ANY project, take a deep breath and remember- There are no mistakes, just opportunities for self expression. The Amish have a tradition in quilting that they always put at least one piece of a quilt on wrong to show humility, and their understanding that only God is perfect. I never have to add one on purpose. At least one piece of every quilt 'volunteers' to be wrong for me. lol! :oops:

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