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Need Your Help in Basics of Quiltmaking

Need Your Help in Basics of Quiltmaking

Old 02-26-2012, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Enid, OK
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WOW....you were so lucky. THey just don't teach these classes at Adult/Continueing education classes any more. NO painting, pottery, or arts of any kind. THey only teach computer and social networking classes, or digital photography. I MISS the art classes!
Also want to add that I think we are going to see a more defined/detailed return to quilting due in part to the costs of making a quilt. If the LQS/industry wants to gain new customers and keep the old ones, they must adapt. Very few people I know can afford to take classes that render a $300 baby quilt! For those who have built their stash during the "flush" years of the late 90's early 2000's, we are lucky/blessed and should carry on the art of passing on our knowledge to the ones who are just learning. It is fine to learn how to "make do with what you have", but it is also going to be in vogue to learn the art so that when you spend the $ to buy the materials to make a quilt, it will be of heirloom quality!

Originally Posted by QuiltingNurse View Post
I took my first class through a class at an Adult school. It was 6 weeks in length and 2 hours per evening. It was meant to just give an introduction into quilting and then if you liked it, move on to classes. It was suggested that we begin with the Quilting 101. The adult school class was superb! We began with the very basics and then made a hand pieced 9 patch block. It truly was the art of quilting!! It served as a foundation to moving on to bigger and more complex blocks. While many fell in love with quilting and could do the basics, they needed a class (perhaps 6 weeks to do the series of blocks. I am one of those people. I began quilting in the mid-1980's and that's the way we were taught. Let's get back to the art of quilting, teach the basics and work with those who want and need the classes for the more complex blocks. I remember taking a monthly class in how to do the hand applique Baltimore album blocks, how to hand quilt, how to choose fabric, battings, threads, acccurate seaming and piecing, 1/4 inch seam allowances, moving on to machine piecing, etc.
I thank those instructors who provided such a rich foundation. Hope we get back to it.

Last edited by jaciqltznok; 02-26-2012 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:16 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by Sadiemae View Post
Many will disagree with me and that is okay, but I feel color is worth taking a few minutes during your refresher course to discuss. I see so many quilts that would be absolutely gorgeous if more thought had gone into fabric selection. I am not talking about a graduate course, but I would discuss the basic color wheel elements.
I too agree! You do not need an art degree to learn how to "read" the values of light, medium, dark!
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Rose Marie View Post
My biggest mystery is the 1/4 in seam. Never have been able to get a block the right size using a 1/4 in seam, what is the secret? Always have to go scant by several clicks.
This is such a basic and important need, yet is the hardest to achieve.
I agree with you Rose Marie, the 1/4" seam allowance is my biggest problem. I too have to move the needle several clicks for a scant because if I don't, the block comes out too small because the seam allowance is too big. Then if I make the seam allowance smaller, the block comes out bigger and when I go to square it up to the proper size and there are points along the edge, I will lose the points. I feel like such a dummy for not being able to get this seam allowance problem when it sounds so simple. I think learning to press seams is important too. If two seams come together and you go to press the seam to one side, the area where the seams meet is bulkier and that takes up room in the seam too. Ugh!
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:53 AM
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What are dog legs?
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:53 AM
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For me, the most important skill is cutting the fabric correctly with the grain, and making sure that seam is 1/4 inch. Then squaring up the block is important too. You HAVE to be accurate.
I realize all the other skills mentioned are very important too, but this would be my top priority. Sounds easy, but it's not.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:53 AM
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I am just glad that I learned how to sew before I learned how to quilt. Knowing the quirks of working with fabric which is not a finite medium goes a long way toward making any finished cloth product. I learned to sew on my Mother's Featherweight. Making a straight consistent seam is a skill necessary for any kind of sewing. By the time I got to High School I was making a lot of my own clothes. I went to school before pants were allowed for female students. Working with clothing construction quickly shows how important things like grain, texture and proper "pressing" can be. While I have almost entirely pieced by machine I am a mostly handquilter. While I have done some hand embroidery I much prefer to have some handquilting handy when I sit down to watch TV or gather with friends to chat. I worked in a shop for about 18 months that did custom dressmaking and alterations. I often ended up doing the handsewn hems etc. because of my skills learned as a handquilter. I think having a desire to handle "pleasing" fabric makes it easier to do the sometimes tedious steps necessary in the creation of anything.
It is important for the student to have a machine that they are comfortable with and that they know the basics of stitch length etc. Knowing which feet are most helpful with different aspects of construction of anything is also a good way to instill confidence in students. If the students are able to complete a project within a reasonable amount of time from start to finish, a pillowcover or small wallhanging, they will be more eager to proceed past that point to a complete quilt.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jaciqltznok View Post
the science and math ARE what is missing. Knowing the "why's" of using chemicals, straight of grain, etc. These days quilting is more about slapping things together and calling it a quilt, instead of "learning" the art and enjoying the process of making something worthy of our time and money! While I do appreciate the fact that many are without Mentors, like elder family members, quilt shops, etc, I also realize that if they can sit for hours at the computer reading this forum, then they can also read the books that teach these skills. Perhaps not the newest books that just teach how to whack at the fabric with no regard as to what is really going on, but the older books that take your through the WHOLE learning process. I see people offering/taking beginner classes that last 4 hours in ONE day. WHAT??? How can you learn a complex art like quilting in 4 hours? A TRUE beginner class should take 10 times that! I teach 3 hours a day, two days a week for 8 weeks and often that is not enough! Those who really learn bring back more questions, which lengthens the learning process..which is always a good thing! Also there are more techniques today, more tools to learn and understand, more videos to watch, more books to ponder, etc, etc, so I think that has added to the " done is better than perfect" thought process we see so much of in today's fabric manipulators. They see pretty, they want pretty, so they start their journey knowing nothing more than that. THose who have NO prior experience with textiles will have the hardest time being self taught quilter's that is for sure! This forum does help with that in one way, but hinders it in another. Example, everyone here has "their" way of doing things, right, wrong, quick, simple, etc...so how does a novice pick their way through the info? Just what is the best way to bind, cut straight, baste, etc? Being on this forum is a lot like being a member of Congress without the paid lobbying! Everyone knows what they want, and no two want the same thing..hehehe
I admit to being a bit biased, in that I prefer things done the more traditional ways. For longer lasting "skills" anyway. If it were not for those traditions we would NOT have the industry we have now!
Beautiful, beautiful post.

I was lucky enough to learn at my grandmothers' knees. Both sewed clothing and household items like curtains, one made basic quilts and the other was a master at any quilting technique or pattern. I began learning more than forty years ago and learned the basics - from drafting blocks to cutting templates to sewing perfect blocks. I learned early that a seam ripper was my best friend and still strive for perfection in my blocks.

For a new quilter, I think that learning to draft the traditional blocks and how to construct them offers a firm foundation. Maybe they'll end up liking to do the newer patterns that have few corners to match and fewer pieces, but they'll have a firm foundation and hopefully an appreciation of the techniques that go into the more complex patterns.

Along with learning to draft a block, the basics of the fabric itself - warp, weft, bias - and why it matters is important.

The more basic information a new quilter has, the easier it will be to learn the specifics of the different styles of quilts that they ultimately want to make.

Like you, I still lean more to the traditional but have updated to use some of the new supplies like rotary cutters that make the prep for construction much quicker.

My favorite technique books are by Sally Collins and after all of these years quilting, I still pick them up occasionally.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:04 AM
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I'm not sure I have the years left to teach all you have written about. However, there is a common thread coming through. ACCURACY in all aspect of sewing/quiltmaking appears (no is neccesary) to be the "rule" in good quiltmaking. I am reading every word you all write.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:16 AM
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One thing I must add, don't insist there's only one way to do anything. When a student discovers a different way that works better for them than the way you have insisted is the only one way to do it you lose respect and diminish in their eyes.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:43 AM
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As a relatively new quilter--difference in 1.4" seams--scant 1/4",etc. How to square your fabric as well as the block itself before putting the piece together. Just exactly how to use that ruler with all those lines) Pressing not ironing and why. I learned the hard way. Type of foot to use--walking foot and just what is does vs the regular foot or the 1/4"foot.
These are things that I now have some idea about via a LQS class and the free quilting tutorial on Craftsy.
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