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Forum > Quilters' Corner > Where would an absolute beginner start? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Where would an absolute beginner start?
Tools? Fabric? Practice what first? Quilt Pattern Choice?
CathyinMI
CathyinMI
Beginner
MI USA
Member since 2/19/07
Posts: 96
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Date: 3/26/12 6:22 PM

Tools and Supplies: I have a few rulers, a rotary cutter, just ordered a mat, have a few safety pins but I'm just not sure where to start! A book or two might be nice! Learning machine piecing would help.

Practice? How do I get those scant 1/4" seams, cut accurately and press correctly? It seems a little overwhelming but at the same time I'm excited about combining colors, etc.

Quilt pattern choice? Actually I really love plain quilts with stippling but I suppose free motion quilting might be a little difficult to start with.

Is it true that vintage Singers are good to quilt with as compared to cheaper new ones?

Suggestions? I'm lost.

AdaH
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AdaH  Friend of PR
Intermediate
IA USA
Member since 11/21/09
Posts: 2483
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Date: 3/26/12 6:38 PM

I learned to quilt from a book called "It's Ok if you sit on my quilt" by Mary Ellen Hopkins.
I am so glad she was my first teacher via her books. She didn't think you had to get everything perfect right away.
Finding a quilt shop and taking classes is the next best way to learn.

------
Ada

CathyinMI
CathyinMI
Beginner
MI USA
Member since 2/19/07
Posts: 96
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In reply to AdaH <<


Date: 3/26/12 6:42 PM

Thanks Ada! I think I'll go to Amazon and look for that book!

Learn To Sew
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Learn To Sew  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
Member since 4/12/05
Posts: 11359
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Date: 3/26/12 6:46 PM

The group here told me to go buy this book for a beginner. I am reading it slowly. I have not started the first project, as i am in a class right now and want to finish my first quilt before starting something new.

freshman year

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I really enjoy quilting. I love to play with fabrics, colors and pictures. I recently discovered how much fun applique can be. As I love making pictures, landscape quilting can be challenging, but seeing the picture come to life is so rewarding.
Bernina 630, my main machine
Pfaff 2036, my class machine
Babylock Molly
Bernina 1200DA serger
Unique Sewing Cabinet 450L

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
Intermediate
CA USA
Member since 9/18/04
Posts: 1738
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Date: 3/26/12 6:55 PM

Take a look at Quilt in a Day books; you might check them out of your local library before you decide to purchase. Quilt in a Day books have very detailed instructions and excellent diagrams. Eleanor Burns did TV shows for most, if not all, of her published books, so there are DVDs available.

You can watch some of the shows here: Quilt in a Day Media Theater.

The QiaD techniques are interesting and fun. Eleanor Burns usually comes up with some interesting ways of sewing block units that do not require sewing along a diagonal fabric cut -- you assemble, then cut. Often her blocks are just slightly oversized, and then you trim to the correct size. It's an extra step, but It's quick, and ensures that your sub units are the right size even if your sewing is slightly off.

ETA: You asked for pattern suggestions. Here are a few from QiaD:
Log Cabin
Quick Trip
Rail Fence

CMC
-- Edited on 3/26/12 7:04 PM --

CathyinMI
CathyinMI
Beginner
MI USA
Member since 2/19/07
Posts: 96
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In reply to Learn To Sew <<


Date: 3/26/12 7:04 PM

thanks Learn! I've read a few of your posts about the classes and it was an eye opener! I think I'll wait to take one!

I'll check out that book, thanks!

Oh - and an issue I forgot to mention is the fabric! The cotton I've seen hasn't been very high quality and it feels so harsh! Anyone have tips for buying fabric for quilting?

CathyinMI
CathyinMI
Beginner
MI USA
Member since 2/19/07
Posts: 96
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In reply to CM_Sews <<


Date: 3/26/12 7:06 PM

Thanks for the suggestion about the library, I was at Amazon already but it might help if I looked through them!

Franksdottir

Franksdottir
Advanced Beginner
Member since 4/25/08
Posts: 3253
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In reply to CathyinMI <<


Date: 3/26/12 7:29 PM

There are a lot of books in the library about quilting, and a lot of different "rules." Every teacher seems to have her or his own didactic rules for quilting. I would advise you to take out as many books as possible and see what makes the most sense to YOU.

If there is a quilt shop near you they will have classes for beginners, and there are fabric shops such as Jo-Ann's, some of which also offer quilting classes. Some people really enjoy classes, others want to learn at their own pace by themselves. Again, this is totally up to you, and what makes you the happiest.

In my opinion, the single most important thing about quilting is to have fun. We are adults, so we all know that there are always aspects to anything we do which we don't like as much - even if you love to cook there are still dishes to do, But you should enjoy the overall experience. The best way to enjoy the process is to not overthink it. You will make mistakes in the beginning. You will make mistakes after you have been quilting for a while. You will mistakes even if you win the big prize at the Paducah show. Please don't let that discourage you.

Quilting is so much fun, and the more you do, the more fun it is. If you are learning from books, start small. Try making some four-patch blocks so you get used to the feeling of putting the pieces together. Use fabric which you like, and see what combinations of colors and prints appeal to you. Use a new, sharp needle (#11 is my preference, but see what works for you), and good cotton thread. Keep your seam ripper handy.

When you have more questions, please feel free to ask. There is always something new to learn. It is one of the pleasures of quilting, it never gets old.

------
Barb

Franksdottir

Franksdottir
Advanced Beginner
Member since 4/25/08
Posts: 3253
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In reply to CathyinMI <<


Date: 3/26/12 7:31 PM

Where have you been looking for fabric?

------
Barb

CathyinMI
CathyinMI
Beginner
MI USA
Member since 2/19/07
Posts: 96
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In reply to Franksdottir <<


Date: 3/26/12 7:33 PM

What is a good cotton thread? I've read negatives about Coats and Clarks and Gutterman. What do you prefer?

Edited: I quoted the person above you I thought!
-- Edited on 3/26/12 7:36 PM --

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