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Need Your Help in Basics of Quiltmaking

Need Your Help in Basics of Quiltmaking

Old 02-25-2012, 05:24 AM
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Default Need Your Help in Basics of Quiltmaking

I am developing a class to refresh/renew knowledge and skills in those techniques and/or information about quiltmaking. In reading the posts here and other sites it appears that there is a gap in certain aspects of quiltmaking that one was not either exposed to or perhaps forgot. Back in the early days of the revival of quiltmaking we learned quiltmaking from the very basic to advanced. It was the days before all the develpment in technology, supplies and euipment so we had to do it all ourselves.

What information do you find lacking today.
What do you wish you did or could learn to be a better qultmaker.

It is almost like learing complex math or science without having to do the calculations because the gadgets will do it for us. Yet we don't know how the gadget arrived at the right answer.

So I'm asking.......what would you like to know.

I do appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

I thought this would be a short 3 hour lecture/demo class but have become overwhelmed at all the information that might be needed.

What you might consider dumb questions are appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:26 AM
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I never took a class, so I probably don't have the best suggestions, but I think learning how to draft a quilt block would help a lot of new quilters.

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Old 02-25-2012, 05:45 AM
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I started quilting in the "olden days" and learned with templates and scissors. Still do this occasionally. The thing I have the most trouble with is cutting long, straight strips. After years of fighting those crooked areas (dog legs?) I still get them. I fold, refold, press, line up, square up, pray, cut, and they still show up. Maybe this is too basic for your class but wow, would I like to know the secret of straight cuts. Especially when the strips are narrow, say 1 1/2" to 2 1/2" wide by WOF or LOF.
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:54 AM
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I am still lacking in the art of squaring up a block and the importance of cutting along with that darn 1/4 inch seam!
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:03 AM
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For me, it is the binding. I just can't ever seem to get a smooth, nice looking binding. In some places, it is usually narrower than other places, or else it looks "lumpy" when I'm done.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:15 AM
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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!
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:37 AM
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An interesting discussion!

I've been taught and trained and read and... and ... and .... on how to do borders.
Sometimes I do a magnificent job and they are flat and smooth
... then when I least expect it, I have waves. UGH!!!
I have the know-how, but obviously something is missing .... or hasn't sunk in!!!
So that'd be my #1 Magic Wand personal request, Holice!

JanRN, your request is not a silly one, not at all! You at least see the problem and know the implications ... many others just say ho-hum, let's just motor on, and who cares? then they wonder whatever could have gone wrong!

Holice, from my perspective, I often see the difference between well done and not so well, being the difference in attention to detail (or not!). I won't say I have that totally mastered, but I can be pretty persnickety, heading towards anal at times! I learned from a heavy task-master (my Mother), and many times had to unsew til it was perfectly straight and even and squared and lined up and all! Often times it haunts me ... and wonder if she would be pleased with my sewing today? Or not have interest in my quilts? Or would continue to find the least imperfection possible?

So .... some of the things I have observed that seem challenging to some and perhaps would be on your basics list ... "perfected" 1/4" seams, straight seams without dog legs at the beginning or the end, measure 3 times cut once, accuracy, accuracy, accuracy!!!!!!

Oh there's so much more ... and the continuing discussion will be most interesting to follow!!!

Last edited by QuiltE; 02-25-2012 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:49 AM
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One aspect that confuses and is a lesson often learned the hard way .. is the understanding of fabric grain and how and when its important.
The other issue I see with beginners is color... They finish a quilt but wonder why theirs does not have the "zip" of what they see either hanging in the shop , magazines, shows etc. It was a HUGE light bulb moment for me in my quilting journey after attending International , was color and using it effectively.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:56 AM
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What an interesting discussion. I took a 3 hr for 6 weeks basic class when I first started making blocks that were not just square blocks sewed together. I thought that taught me all I needed to know. I have since learned that even though we are taught how to do things we still have to be accurate in our cutting, sewing and press with care. My mother was a stickler for doing thing the way they should be done not just do them to get them done. So, I agree with everything that Jacque said and I think accuracy it the single most important thing to learn.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:05 AM
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Holace, I agree with they first need to learn the fabric grains, how to line up the fabric so they get a straight cut, and cutting templates. and the color wheel. How importan it is to have a consistent 1/4 inch seam, and yes reverse stitching as in using a seam ripper.Just my 2 cents.
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