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Thread: Started my very first quilt tonight

  1. #1
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    Hi there,

    After reading too many Jennifer Chiaverini novels, I finally decided to try quilting myself. I'm making a quilt for my two-year-old's "big girl bed," using a modified sailboat block pattern. I just started tonight, and managed to complete 1/4 of my first block! (considering I don't actually know how to sew, I'm pretty proud).

    I do have a few questions, though. First, the pieces I've sewn are really stringy -- threads keep coming off of the edges. Is that supposed to happen, or am I doing something wrong? (and if I am, how do I stop doing it wrong?)

    Second, how exact does your cutting need to be? It turns out I'm not a natural at rotary cutting (I wasted an entire fat quarter tonight just trying to cut squares properly), and I feel like even my "good" patches still aren't quite precise. Is there such a thing as "good enough," or do I need to get back to the cutting board? My patches aren't horrible, the lines just seem to waver a touch.

    Thanks in advance for your help. I'm so excited to learn how to do this right!

  2. #2
    mgshaw's Avatar
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    Hi! Welcome to the board and to quilting!!! Are you using a ruler with your rotary cutter? If you are and your cuts are still wavy maybe put a little more pressure holding down your ruler. A lot of fabrics do fray, not much you can do except handle with care.

  3. #3
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    Congratulations on starting your first quilt! :D You have come to the best place for help, we all started somewhere and had the same questions that you will.

    My input would be to try and find someone to spend a couple of hours with you to go over the basics of sewing, quilting, cutting and material selection.

    Each square will get better and don't stress out, enjoy yourself.

  4. #4
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    Congratulations on starting your first quilt. You do need to make sure your seams are straight or your blocks won't fit together. Are you doing it by machine or hand. If you would like to see a different way to do a sailboat quilt check my sight http://appliquequilt designs.com/Sailing-to-Dreamland.html. It is an easy applique pattern.

    Janie

    http://www.appliquequiltdesigns.com


  5. #5
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    Wow, that applique quilt is totally adorable! Mine's much more basic -- just a bunch of squares and triangles -- but I'm hoping it will turn out cute.

    I am using a ruler, but still seem to have some control issues. DH got me two rotary cutters for my birthday, and the cuts I made with one of them would make you think I'd been hitting the vodka (I wasn't, I swear!). I just couldn't "drive" it. I'm doing better with the second one, but things are still a little imprecise. I think maybe I just need to practice some more.

    Thanks to all of you for your responses.

  6. #6
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    When you are using your rotarty cutter and ruler...

    Line up the ruler and place your finger tips on the ruler and press downward.

    Hold the rotary cutter against the ruler and straight up and down, not angled, you dont neet to see where it is going, it follows the ruler.

    and

    Push down on the rotary cutter, not against the ruller. It doesnt take presser against the ruler to go straight, the ruler is a guide.

    When you cut past where your hand is holding the ruler, stop and walk your hand up the ruler and push down again, so you always have control of the ruler where the cutter is cutting..

    Practice will make you better

    Hope this helps...

  7. #7
    Senior Member adyldrop's Avatar
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    http://www.purlbee.com/rotary-cutter-tutorial/

    Here try this tutorial on how to use a rotary cutter! Good information here--good luck and welcome to quilting your new found ADDICTION :D :lol: :shock: :D :D :roll: :D

  8. #8
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    Lots of things to suggest...

    Prewash your fabric then really give it a heavy starch. Stiff fabric is much easier to cut straight.

    Get a good quilting ruler. Being able to see what you are doing is important.

    Keep your fingers out of the way.

    It should not take a lot of pressure to cut fabric.

    Cut only one layer at a time to start. Measure very carefully.

    Use good fabric. Cheap fabric unravels.

    We all were (are?) beginners at some time. I never touched a sewing machine till about two years ago. three complete quilts and three more tops later... voilla!


    tim in san jose

  9. #9
    Super Member Celeste's Avatar
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    Welcome, and congratulations on starting your first quilt! Will you post a picture of your progress?

  10. #10
    Senior Member CindyBee's Avatar
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    Quilting Newbie, many of us here are self-taught and if we can be successful you can too! Any good basic quilting book would be a valuable investment for you right now if you don't already have one. You'll learn how to prepare your fabric for cutting, how to rotary cut, how to find the perfect scant 1/4" seam and how to square your blocks. Accurate cutting and seaming will insure the success of your project. Maybe try a mini-quilt of a simple 4 patch first just to familiarize yourself with the entire quilting process from start to finish before tackling your first "real" project.
    Also, there are tons of free videos on the net demonstrating just about everything you want to see in the quilting process. You CAN do this :D

    Cindy

  11. #11
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    What, no pictures??

  12. #12
    Super Member Quilt4u's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome from Mass. On the fraying you can use fraycheck spray that will help with the fraying. As for cutting try basting spry or sandpapper dots underneath the ruler to help hold the fabric in place. And good luck.

  13. #13
    reneebobby's Avatar
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    ANother tip these ladies do (I haven't tried yet) is using basting spray on your ruler helps grab the fabric and hold it in place for cutting. Just go slow, and enjoy. These ladies (and gentlemen) are extremely helpful.

    Welcome aboard.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all of the tips! I know they're going to be helpful.

    To answer a few questions, I'm piecing by hand (it may be a different story when I get to the quilting part), using Jinny Beyer's Quilting By Hand as an instruction book. And I will post photos as soon as I figure out how to download pics off the camera (technology is not my strong point).

  15. #15
    Junior Member Arizona Sunrises's Avatar
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    You can't expect perfection from your first project (or one after that, for that matter). Your corners are going to be a little wonky. Your blocks are going to be a little lopsided. :) Your little girl won't care a bit. She's going to be thrilled to have it, and you're going to be more than proud to have finished your first one.

    I don't have much piecework under my belt...so I'm right there with you. What I can tell you is that you'll gradually get better as you go along without realizing it. By the time you near the end of your 2nd or 3rd project, you'll catch yourself saying "that doesn't look half bad".

    Hang in there and keep up the good work.

  16. #16
    Craftybug's Avatar
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    Hi, and welcome from North Carolina, if you are planing to continue quilting get a rotary cutting ruler board.You can find them at Walmart, ia a big 15" by 15" square with a ruler printed on each four sides and it has groves in the middle for each inch. It is not cheap but it makes your cuttting a lot easier.

  17. #17
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    Quilting newbie-welcome to the addictive world of quilting. I hand quilted my first quilt and found it easier to mark my stitching lines and not worry as much about a precise seam allowance (this was also before rotary cutters). I marked the stitching line with a pencil on the back side of the fabric and then would match up the stitching lines and pin like crazy. My blocks ended up square and neat. Hope this helps some.

  18. #18
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    All the advice given here has been great. Good luck and don't give up!!

  19. #19
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board and to your new hobby (read as addiction)! Follow some of the already mentioned tips and you will improve as you go along..Don't worry...it doesn't have to be perfect...no stress :lol:

  20. #20
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    My thoughts on the rotary cutter are what size did your hubby get? If they're the 60mm, maybe that's too big for you right now. I think the 45mm is the perfect size, not too little and not too big. Good luck.

  21. #21
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I learned to quilt by watching videos.
    Quilterstv.com is free and you can learn everything there.
    Qnn is the best but costs 24 dollars a yr since Fons and Porter bought it.
    It used to be free.
    Brightcove used to be good but it has changed and dosnt show full videos anymore.
    Books by Eleanor Burns are the easiest to follow and have the best methods to use. She is the queen of quilting and has come up with the most innovating ways to simplify and be exact.

  22. #22
    mamatobugboo's Avatar
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    Welcome!! I remember my first quilt well...I almost quit the craft, but I sure am glad I didn't!!

    Regarding your rulers and rotary cutting - do you have the rulers with the non-slip backing on them? You can purchase them (they are usually green) with the backing made into them, or you can purchase the backing separatly then cut and stick to the backs of your rulers to keep them from slipping on your fabric. These links to joanns will show you the non-slip backing you can purchase for current rulers or the non-slip ruler(s) you can purchase with the non-slip stuff "built in"!!

    http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.j...RODID=prd17402
    http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.j...&source=search

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebird
    Congratulations on starting your first quilt! :D You have come to the best place for help, we all started somewhere and had the same questions that you will.

    My input would be to try and find someone to spend a couple of hours with you to go over the basics of sewing, quilting, cutting and material selection.

    Each square will get better and don't stress out, enjoy yourself.
    I agree with Bluebird. Just take your time. Theres no race. Just enjoy. Show us pics on how your doing...... Congrats . oh yes Welcome to the forum. These gals are the very best to get ya started. I started back in May with all their help..

  24. #24
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    Oh, you are going to love quilting!!!!!! Don't be discouraged, I haven't been quilting long either and I found using the rotary cutter took some practice. Really, take your time cutting, it's worth it to be accurate. Use a plastic ruler, and put your rotary cutter right up against the edge (after lining it up), cut away from you (moving your other hand as necessary to keep the ruler in place). But, don't be worried about messing up fabric. Like the old saying goes, Practice makes perfect!

    (One other bit of advice (boy, you're getting a lot, huh?), don't pick a design or block too hard to start out. There are lots of designs that look fantastic all made up that are very "easy".)

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