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Thread: This is why I only do applique quilts

  1. #1
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    This is why I only do applique quilts

    I've been doing applique for a lot of years. When I first started out and tried to do regular piecing quilts, my squares were so crooked I'd end up tossing them. So I figured I'd give it a try. I was so careful measuring, cutting out and sewing. I took my time. And I got this..



    Horribly crooked!!! I didn't want to just throw it out after 2 days of cutting so I decided instead of a quilt I would just make a wall hanging and hope it didn't look too horrible. This is what I got (before I quilt)...



    I really don't get it. Why am I so bad at this?? Is there a trick I don't know about? The only good thing about my wall hanging is that I don't have any quilting friends that will point out all the flaws!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Diannia's Avatar
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    This really isn't bad for your first attempt! Don't be so hard on yourself. Do you have a 1/4" foot...that helps a lot. Lots of us feel the same way you do...only about applique! Practice, practice, practice...

    Diannia
    I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Consider this ... was your first applique project as perfect as what you are doing now?

    As Diannia said ... Practice, practice practice ............... and then practice some mroe!
    And soon you'll be thrilled with your progress and think about all the exciting new projects ahead using both piecing and applique.
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    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  4. #4
    Super Member Crqltr's Avatar
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    Are you rotary cutting? Using templates. When I first started I was marking, then cutting. Found out it was not my sewing...it was my cutting. Try using thangles for your triangles. I think it's pretty darn good for starting quilt!

  5. #5
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    Totaly agree, you keep trying and you will get better and better! As I told my kids when they were young, how do you climb a ladder? From the ground up, keep trying and you will make it to the top.



    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    Consider this ... was your first applique project as perfect as what you are doing now?

    As Diannia said ... Practice, practice practice ............... and then practice some mroe!
    And soon you'll be thrilled with your progress and think about all the exciting new projects ahead using both piecing and applique.
    Quilt outside of the box!

  6. #6
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    I am still horrible with triangles. One of the ladies in the guild taught me to cut them so they come out right. It's all about finding a cutting and measuring style that works for you. I started piecing with simple patchwork squares, nine patches, etc - no triangles, just worked on seam matching. Then I moved up to things like shoo fly, churn dash, and friendship stars. I'm just starting to try some of the patterns with more triangles now after almost 6 years of serious quilting.

  7. #7
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I would double check my seam allowance.

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/tutoria...ce-t89997.html

    Your wall hanging looks great. After you quilt it, some of the 'off' seams will dissappear.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  8. #8
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    What are thangles? No, I didn't use a rotary cutter. It's been so long since I've used them their as dull as a butter knife!

  9. #9
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    you'd be surprised if you went ahead and finished the whole quilt how much your technique will improve after all the practice...and, any perceived errors will be lost in the big picture of the whole quilt....looks great for first time. Cutting, sewing and pressing all work together to determine whether something is "perfect" or not...and very few of us do "perfect".
    Kate

  10. #10
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Okay first of all, a true quilting friend will NOT point out the errors. If she does, she's not really a friend. A good friend might offer assistance to show you how to improve, though.

    A couple of thoughts. First of all, when you press your pieces, are you using and up-and-down motion with the iron, or are you wiping the iron across the fabric? Wiping will cause your blocks to stretch. If you're not a pre-washer, you might consider washing the fabrics, or not using any water in your iron. I've had pieces of fabrics shrink after I've cut and sewn them, because I used starch or steam as I pressed.

    Second, your pins in the first picture are in an odd spot. I don't pin much, but when I do, I pin over the seam that I'm going to sew. As I'm sewing, when I reach the pin, I stop and pull it out, then continue to sew.

    You might consider doing some paper piecing. I actually got my start in quilting by taking a paper-piecing class, I was at a sewing show and the class I originally wanted to take was full. The benefit of paper-piecing is you get very accurate blocks. There are wonderful tutorials and videos out there to learn from. Make sure you start with a simple block, the Ohio star would work wonderfully.

    I understand how you feel, I'm frustrated because I don't think my quilting skills are where they should be, especially in relation to my piecing skills. It sounds like you're the same with your applique skills. Just keep plugging away at it. You will be surprised at how quickly you improve. There were times when I'd get frustrated, wad my project up into a ball and throw it in a bin. Pull it out 6 months later and amazingly, I'd improved and now had the skills to work out that particular problem.

    Your blocks are beautiful. As Paper Princess said, quilting will improve it.

  11. #11
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Keep up the good work! It is not bad for your first!!!! Work on the things mentioned above!!! Get yourself some new rotary blades, cutting matt, be careful on 1/4 seams and you will only get better and better.

  12. #12
    Super Member mermaid's Avatar
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    Darlin', I can see a big difference in your seams..If you don't have a 1/4" foot, can you move your needle? Draw a quarter inch seam line on a white block, line the edge of the block with the edge of your reg. foot, and move the needle until it is just a skosh over the line. Stitch and measure . Some folks line up the edge of their block with masking tape on the machine bed. It just takes a little while to train your eye on the edge of the foot & you'll soon be finding it easy to do.

  13. #13
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
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    None of us were any good starting out. Practice makes perfect.

  14. #14
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I don't think you should be expecting perfection after 4 blocks.

  15. #15
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    I bet your appliqué is beautiful. Would you show us a photo of that?

  16. #16
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Dull rotary cutters are no good, that's for sure. I'd suggest you change the blade.

    It looks like you didn't square up some of your HSTs and as a result some of them are oversized. In that case, nothing will line up and it is no wonder that you are frustrated. I always sew my HSTs and QSTs oversided and square them up. It may be more prep work but MUCH LESS headache in the long run.
    Martina
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  17. #17
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    The book "Mastering Precision Piecing" 2006 by Sally Collins was the single best book that helped me the most. I checked it out at the library.
    Cut fabric accurately - square up the fabric first (use rotary cutter)
    Get that scant 1/4" seam allowance
    square up each section that you piece together
    press gently without distorting the section. gently means with as little iron gliding as possible.
    before you sew, put the needle down and butt the edge of the fabric up to the needle.
    Slow is key. I pin a lot. Going slowly enables you to sew over the pins and not break your needle.
    Hope this helps.

  18. #18
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    Love 2 Sew, here is the post link to some of my applique: http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...s-t208187.html

    MadQuilter, what is HST and QST?

    Thank you all for the advice! I'll get more blades for my cutter and probably a new mat. I think I'm going to make a single 2 color irish chain quilt and see how I do with that. That should be easy I would think.

  19. #19
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Get a Go Baby, it's not expensive, and a few basic shape dies. Your cuts will be accurate and each one the same. You will have much better results when sewing. It looks like your seam wobbled some on the border. That is easy to fix. Go back and sew a straight over the wobble and then pick out the crooked part.
    Last edited by BellaBoo; 01-17-2013 at 11:49 AM.
    Got fabric?

  20. #20
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    I agree with the other ladies. This isn't bad for a first. I too prefer applique because my piecing skills are lacking. However, after getting Harriet Hargrave's "Quilting Academy" books and following her techniques, I have improved considerably. I believe it's either her Junior or Senior book that deals with triangles. The Sally Collins book is also great for learning accurate piecing, but I find Harriet's book easier. Harriet gives you projects to practice on. I now measure each piece that I sew to make sure it's accurate. It takes more time, but a lot less frustrating than to have a finished block you are unhappy with. Keep at it. The more you do, the better you will become.

    Having said all that, I still prefer applique.

  21. #21
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
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    I think the front looks pretty awesome, who cares about the back?

    Personally I do not do a perfect 1/4in seam allowance, I move my needle to the right a number of clicks, found that thread and pressing takes up some of the allowance. It works for me.

    Quilting friends don't point out flaws, LOL ... I would never do that to a friend, been there done that myself and it does just take practice to get points to match etc. Don't forget to get those seams to hug up to each other so that they meet.
    Warm quilt hugs, Sue in CA
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  22. #22
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonomine View Post
    MadQuilter, what is HST and QST?
    HST means half square triangle. 2 triangles sewn together to make a square. (Or, draw a line diagonally through the square to make 2 triangles.)

    QST means quarter square triangle. 4 triangles sewn together to make a square, or draw an X through the square to make 4 triangles.

  23. #23
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I am a piecer and if you cut sepperate triangles and then tried to sew them together I would have gotten the same results. I use rulers that help get the triangles correct.
    For years I used Elanor Burns, Quilt in a Day, special rulers but I switched this summer to June Taylor perfect Half Square and Quarter Square Triangles. I like that even better. If you use that it will give you those perfect Ohio Stars you want.

    Here is a video showing you how to use it-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvBURxlgwFo


    I really like your table runner. It is very pretty.

    By the way I think your applique is awesome and I wished I could aplique like that.
    Last edited by Annaquilts; 01-17-2013 at 12:53 PM.
    Anna Quilts

  24. #24
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    Wow! your other quilts are beautiful! And I don't think your sample was so bad. Just practice, and if you don't enjoy it, go back to the applique. I think you get "A" for effort!!
    The joy of the Lord is my strength.

  25. #25
    Super Member PenniF's Avatar
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    So many suggestions - but i'll add another - Elmers washable school glue at the seam intersections....just a tiny dab in what will be the seam allowance, press to dry it- and stitch your seam....your pieces won't move or shift. Also....since you are obviously such a talented applique artist (i looked at your beautiful photos)....finish the quilt - and anyplace that you just can't tolerate on the finished product - applique a pretty flower over it. It will make a beautiful quilt. I think you did a great job for your first back to piecing effort....cuz any "experienced" piecer who says that she never has things that don't line up perfectly, is fibbing to you. Don't give up !!!
    Of all the things i've lost, i miss my mind the most.

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