musicteacherJuly 5, 2014

I have been lurking around looking at the beautiful quilts you guys seem to be churning out by the hundreds. I have made maybe 3 baby quilts and one full sized "quickie" quilt, and they take me sooooo long to make. I really enjoy it, but I would never have the guts to make a quilt for ONE of my grandbabies, and maybe never get finished with ones for the others. I am not retired yet, but even when I am cannot imagine being so good at this. Do you have special equipment, or better instinct for picking fabrics, or just way better skills than I do? I agonize forever trying to chose a pattern and find the right fabric and the sewing - even by machine takes me so long! How do you do it? I am so impressed by your beautiful, imaginative quilts! Do I need to take a class?

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Welcome! I have no special skills and have taken no classes. I have a very supportive hubby with a good eye for color. He bought me a frame and mid-arm for my quilting and never complains when I bring home fabric. I have a basic mechanical machine (no electronic gadgets yet). I use simple techniques that have basic components and avoid complicated patterns. I don't make large quilts, mine are usually slightly smaller than twin size. I also don't stress over small things. If a point is a little off or corners don't match exactly it doesn't bother me. I intend for my quilts to be used, loved, and worn out.

Hope this encourages you. Just spend as much time as you can sewing and you will be surprised how much you get done.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 11:04PM
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Welcome, musicteacher! We're glad you have come out of lurkdom to visit us on the forum. We'd love to see photos of the quilts you have made.

Some of us here get a lot more done than others. Some have more free time to make quilts, and some of us still work full or part time and have less time for our hobbies. Some of us have young children at home or grandchildren that take some of our time. There are new quilters here and those who have been quilting for many years.

I think quilting classes help new quilters learn the basics and begin with good habits. The more you learn, the more confidence you will have in choosing patterns and fabrics. Never be afraid to ask for help in the shops, also, more experienced quilters may be very glad to help you. It took me many years to gain this confidence in planning my quilts. So please don't be discouraged - just keep making your quilts and learning from each one. A good sewing machine that you are comfortable with, a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and basic sewing notions are the bare bones of "equipment" that you need.

If you have a quilt guild in your area, you might want to join them. And try to visit any quilt shows that you can - they are so inspirational.

We're here to cheer you on and answer any questions you might have!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 11:21PM
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Welcome music teacher! The advice listed by Beverly and Teresa is good solid advice. I would add picking up a basic how to quilt book as a reference guide, but other than that...just have fun and enjoy the process!

I did take a beginning class after quilting for two years or so and would recommend taking one. I learned not just from the instructor, but fellow was most helpful for is this forum...they are wonderful group of quilters!

If you have been reading the forum, perhaps you've read or seen the monthly lotto blocks. We encourage everyone to participate as they can. Feel free to join in any's a great way to practice blocks without the commitment of making a whole quilt, plus color is pre-selected for the blocks.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 8:58AM
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Hello, and welcome! As the others have said, there are lots of levels of experience represented here. Also, I think many of us have more than one project going (sometimes many more than one!) and we post pictures as we are finishing them. may think we're zipping quilts out really fast but maybe we just finally got around to finishing several of them! LOL


    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Welcome! I agree the with others. I learned a lot of the basics by doing a Saturday Sampler at a local shop. They demonstrated a technique each month with the current block. I went with our quilt group that was just starting at the time and we all learned together.
I also argree with Donna about finishing several quilt all at once. I have a closet full of unquilted tops. Sometimes I get in the mood to quilt and finish more than one in a short time. I now try to quilt a top as soon as I finish so it doesn't sit in the closet too long.
Glad to have you join us!
Linda OH

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:17PM
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Happy to have you join us. Sometimes when I am picking fabrics for a quilt I get input from my Mom, my Sister, my M-I-L, and my S-I-L as they are very color coordinated people. So don't feel like you have to do everything on your own. And folks on this site are very helpful when you have questions so all you have to do is ask. I do a lot of my quilts by hand as I just find that more relaxing than working on the machine, so for larger quilts it takes me a very long time to complete them.... the quilt I am working on now for my parents I started in 2009 and am just now quilting the layers of the quilt together, so I am bit slow at turning out a new quilt, but others here are faster at completing quilts and I love to see their progress on their quilts and their finished quilts as that helps keep me motivated. So I hope you find quilting inspiration here on this site as I have found. I like to quilt because it's fun, if I have a day where I am not having fun I take a break from the quilting and work on a different project like crochet, knitting or cross-stitch. I hope you enjoy your future quilt projects. I have learned through trial and error how to quilt with mostly being self-taught and have quilted for a decade and half now, but one of the things I love about quilting is that there is always something new to learn so it keeps this hobby from being boring, I learn something new with every quilt I make. Don't feel like you gotta' be turning out quilts right and left to enjoy quilting, find your own pace and quilt when you find it fun to do.

Best to you and happy quilting,

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:56PM
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As you've probably already noticed this group has lots of expertise to share. They're like having a spare brain when you are stuck on something.

Although I've quilted for many years now I'm not a prolific finisher. This forum is great for pushing your limits with plenty of eye candy to tempt you.

I really enjoyed taking classes over the years. It's both social and informative. I've noticed that no matter whether you love the class or not, each teacher adds a tip or trick to your bank of knowledge.

Start stitching and be sure to share your labors.
Happy Quilting...LindaB/CA

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 4:42PM
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Hi musicteacher, As was previously stated, making the lotto block of the month on this forum, or finding a free BOM or mystery quilt from another site, is a great way to sharpen your quilting skills. That was one of the ways I was able to learn, become more precise, learn a few speed tricks and not be afraid to jump out of my comfort zone. Keep the blocks for yourself if you want to. I prefer making the smaller, lap size quilts as I get bored in making larger quilts. I am so the queen of UFO's and WIP's, but have been working on that part of my life. :-) No matter how long a person has been quilting, there are always new techniques to learn, new tools/rulers or something to spark our interest. Don't be afraid to ask questions as someone here will know the answer or be able to guide you in the right direction.

Welcome aboard.......

Sharon G (live in Florida but am in Indiana right now)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 6:35PM
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What a nice group of people! Thank you for your advice and encouragement. Guess I'd better quit talking about it and just do it. I was my dream years ago to make a quilt for a wedding present for each of my three kids. Missed that one. I did make a baby quilt for my third grandchild - my daughter wanted a particular style for her nursery. It turned out pretty well - though it took me an entire summer - for a baby quilt! : ) I did learn something though. I wanted to make extra cosy so I used a wool batting and it was a white and navy quilt. The yellowness of the wool showed through just a little bit. She loved it though and he had all of his monthly "birthday" pictures taken in front of it.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:20PM
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    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:27PM
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LOL - I meant to answer the questions in your post but I was overcome by the baby picture and forgot the rest of my message!

I still work full time and don't have as much time to sew as I would like. I tend to go in spurts, then don't touch the machines for days or weeks at a time. Kind of depends on how much the rest of life takes over, but if I could I think I would sew every day. There will never be enough time to make all the quilts I have in my head.

As far as speed goes, it's like everyone has said. You do anything enough and you get faster. I don't think it's dependent on the equipment. We had a treadle machine quilter in the group for a long time and she was FAST, plus she could do free motion feathers better than anyone with a stitch-regulated longarm. It's all about practice and passion.

Like Val suggested, try the monthly lotto. It's a great way to practice without committing to a whole quilt. It really helped me a few years ago when I was afraid to even try a half-square-triangle!

Mostly, just have fun. A finished quilt will be loved and treasured, even if it's not perfect. Perfect points, perfect fabric... no one really cares except other quilters and we all have our own idea of "perfect".

Welcome to the group!


    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:54PM
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Welcome, musicteacher!

Your baby quilt is just adorable - and special! You did a great job.

I started handquilting with "quilter-friendly" panels 20 years ago so I could learn how to hand quilt. My mom taught me and it was really fun. Then I started reading Quilter's Newsletter magazine and decided I wanted to try piecing my own quilts. My son was about 11 at the time (17 yeas ago) and he found a picture of a quilt he really liked so decided to take a class to learn the quilting basics. I finished the piecing rather quickly then it took me another year to finish hand quilting. It was an oversized twin bed size (black backing, hand quilted using black thread!) Now the majority of my quilts are machine pieced and machine quilted. I am still working on getting better at free-motion quilting. I don't have a long-arm machine - I just wrestle my quilts through my Pfaff sewing machine and they seem to come out okay.
I retired 4 years ago but still don't have enough time to quilt as much as I would like!
The block lottos have been great for trying new squares and I would encourage you to give them a try. If your are the winner - it is an added bonus!

Just to let you know ... I have more UFOs than I like to admit! I have a queen sized quilt that I started in 2000 ... and have been hand-quilting, Maybe I will get it finished this year???

Also - remember - there is not quilt police (unless you enter your stuff into competitions),


    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:35AM
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Love that baby cute! And so is that little guy :-) !

This post was edited by littlehelen on Wed, Jul 9, 14 at 9:39

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:37AM
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Adorable, oh and the quilt too! But really, I do like the quilt.

Hope you start enjoying the process soon. The quilt lotto gave me a renewed interest in quilting. Now my problem is having so many I like and not being great at completion.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Your baby quilt is great, so you apparently know the basics.
That is where we all start but never end as there is always more to learn. Although I have been quilting for many years now and have made more quilts then I remember I still have UFO'S and still don't finish all that I start. I learned via a class, hand pieced the top and had it sandwiched but it took me another 4+ years to finish hand quilting it. Got inspired by watching a quilt show on TV and haven't stopped since. Time isn't the issue, commitment sometimes is. If your afraid of color do a scrap quilt, anything goes. lol As someone mentioned, there are no Quilt police!!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:18PM
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If you have lurked here long enough you probably know that each one of us has a different quilting personality. Some make gobs and gobs of quilts, some take a long time and make only one at a time - (that's me, I hate UFO's). Some quilt alone and some join guilds and go to classes. Some were taught and took lessons at the beginning, some struck out alone. The main thing is, are you enjoying the journey? So what if it takes you awhile or you make mistakes. And there is probably going to be one or two aspects of quilting you won't like. Mine is making the quilt sandwich. Some don't like to do the finishing steps (binding, quilting, etc.) Don't compare yourself or your work with others, but do ask for help or suggestions, that's what's so great about this forum, you can learn so much from others without criticism.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:03AM
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I agree with Rita. And don't be afraid to start projects. My first quilt that I started back in 2000, I cut all I mean all the fabric pieces out in 2 weeks time for queen-size pinwheel quilt. When I sat down and started to hand-piece/hand-sew the pieces for the first block together, that's when I figured out I had cut out all I mean All my fabric pieces out backwards. So I was determined to not throw away $40 worth of fabric so I made a backwards pinwheel quilt. So from that project I learned to label the top side of the plastic quilt pattern templates I made so I know which side is suppose to face up and which side is suppose to face the fabric. So if you cut out fabric pieces wrong then either sew the pattern backwards or save the cut pieces and scraps and later combine them to make Crazy Quilt blocks. But most important thing just have fun with it. Good luck with your quilting endeavors.

Best to you,

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 7:27PM
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