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Jenny makes it look so must be me!

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    Jenny makes it look so must be me!

    Jenny makes everything look SO easy. Everyone on here makes it sound easy. Quilting is not easy (or at least if it is done by me! It is a complex set of skills. I struggle on.

    I do not come to quilting from a seamstress background...made a few Halloween costume in the day. Have not had the opportunity to take classes due to living in the black hole of LQS. Have tried on my own over the years and have had some colossal failures and a bunch of UFO's that sit laughing at me. A few mild successes lately with wallhangings and baby quilts.

    What brought all this on?

    Well, I started a Valentine wallhanging a couple of years ago when I was still handquilting. I got all the piecing done and about 1/2 of the handquilting before my wrist/thumb gave out. Simply can't handquilt anymore due to pain. Trying to learn to FMQ on a series of wallhangings. Decided to just ignore what I had done (it was pretty basic, almost like stitch in the ditch with hands) and finish the thing with FMQ. So here I am trying to get in a rhythm of stippling and actually manage to sew the super slider onto the quilt. Do these things happen to anyone else? I guess I will have to get around to prying the thing off, but the Valentine quilt is a UFO until next year.

    I decided to try an Irish Chain (as per tutorial) wallhanging for March. Haven't ever done 9 patch before. I cut a couple of strips (with what I thought was a lot of care!) and when I tried to match up the wasn't good. Jenny "feels" for them.....I match and pin and am very careful and the blasted things still don't always match. I decided the strips weren't cut close enough to perfect. Found my binding buddy (2 1/2 inch wide ruler) and used that to check all the strips. Recut a couple. Better, but some still not exact. Yes, I do have and use a 1/4 foot on my machine...would be struggling even worse without. I press the devil out of them. Sigh. Guess I will have to check each one after I sew and go back and adjust if it doesn't.

    I know learning can be a struggle, but it shouldn't be this hard. I think it is me. I will admit that the part of quilting I like best is choosing colors, fabrics, patterns, and putting it all together....the designing part. The piecing skills are slowly progressing and if I ever do a large quilt I will have it professionally quilted. The small things just sometimes get me.

    Just a small rant...I am not giving up yet, but it would be nice for something to be easy for awhile. Thanks for listening. Maybe someone somewhere is struggling also and it help them to know they are not alone.

    Quilt on, everyone!

    Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.

    Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

    I feel your pain. I have been sewing most of my life but this quilting stuff demands a different skill set. I just finished a top where I tossed THREE pieced rows in the trash because the construction was so bad they didn't even begin to line up with the other rows. Like you, I thought I was being so careful. SIGH. A couple of weeks ago my local shop talked me into buying a June Tailor slotted ruler. Its way expensive but I think it may be worth it. I have cut out my first quilt on it and I can tell you it has made a world of difference! I am going to try to find a foot for my machine that has a little fence on it. I think that will also help a lot. I can see that my seamlines vary a bit at the beginnings and ends sometimes. My eyes just dont work as well anymore. I need mechanical guidance. So that's what I am doing to try to tighten up my quilting outcomes. Mostly, I refuse to give up! Hang in there and keep trying new approaches.


      Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

      I am right there with you . . . about 6 years ago the hubby gave me a sewing/embroidery machine for Christmas -- that machine was huge and I was afraid of it -- so it sat in it's box for about 6 months or more -- around that same time - I use to have someone else make quilted rag handbags and personalized bucket handbags for my store . . the last order of 15 handbags -- the lady never came through for me - never called -- and never returned any of my calls -- so I was stuck with peeps wanting custom quilted rag handbags and such . . . hells bells the last time I even touched a sewing machine was in 7th grade home ec class

      -- thought to myself . . self what in the world am going to do -- so I purchased a 40.00 janome machine (it was 1/2 price) from Joanns online website -- gathered some fabric that was needed for when the machine arrived -- hubby and I went to Joanns store picked up a sewing table -- the machine arrived - I head right over to you tube and watched one video over and over again on making a quilted rag bag - BAM I pumped out my 1st rag handbag . . it looked really ragging . . L*~ . . it was perfect . . so I made a few more
      back then it use to take me forever to make one handbag . .-- well the speed of that little janome was really sloooooooow . . after about 5 or 6 rag bag -- I finally decided to break out the big boy . . all the bells and whistles I needed at the time . . drop in button - half *** self threading needle and auto tension -- zip zip zip - pumping out 2 or 3 handbags a day - not counting the blooming effect though . .

      then I caught myself looking at other quilted rag handbags that others were making -- so I added a new thrill here and there
      and peeps were loving them . . made me feeeeeel so good . .

      THEN came along M* - Jenny and her Tuts -- *smacking forehead*~ . . NOW 1/2 of my poor livingroom looks like a sweat shop . . LMAO*~ . . . with my sewing machine - embroidery machine and a serger (which I haven't learn how to even thread yet)*~ grrr*~
      and the fish tank went out the door when the hubby gave me the Accuquilt Studio fabric cutting machine with a few dies the following Christmas . . - so my Studio sets on the fish tank cabinet the hubby built about 10 years ago . . thank goodness for a Huge livingroom *orange peel smiles*~ . .

      so hang in there -- we all grow in one way or another . . .
      2015 is here
      Be Bold and Bravely put one foot in front of the other :)


        Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

        I know exactly what you are saying. This is a strange combination of technical skills, creativity, and precision. I've been at it for a year and still have to totally concentrate on each step; cutting, sewing, pressing. But o man when it works it feels so good. Remember that Jenny ( and a lot of those here) has been at this for decades. It will get easier for us. One thing I noticed in your post is that you are "pressing the devil" out of it. Unfortunately, pressing has to be done correctly or it can stretch the fabric and make everything wonky. Maybe an "oldie" can jump in here and give us some tips on pressing?? I'm thinking with bias edges especially, that may be where I've created some problems.


          Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

          This is the place for me... I too love the fabric color and creative part of this hobby... I'm like Jenny.. only more so.. I DO NOT worry if the seam is not perfect of they don't match..Rarely do I use patterns.. people (other than the fussy ones) are thrilled with what I do and I have TONS OF FUN..most of what I do is for free or charity.. the way I see it,, it's how you feel about your work.. if it's from your heart.. it's wonderful... go with the flow and let your hair down...hugs, B
          "Each day well-lived and Happy;
          that's all there is to Life!"


            Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

            Thank you so very much for your post. I have gotten the cutting down pretty well but when it comes to nesting seams and sewing rows together, oh my. I pin, sometimes baste and still seams dont always match. Dont feel alone now. Jenny must have years and years of pratice . My favorite parts of quilting are buying and choosing fabric. My quilting class has 6 members. Three were professioal seamstresses- one did from tailored womens suits to wedding gowns. It takes me two months to do what they do in two weeks. And none of this bothers me. I rip out , redo and love my class. My classmates call on me to select fabrics, I call for help on tricky seams. Every thing i have managed to finished I have given away and nobody sees the mistakes .
            Last edited by Marta; February 15, 2014, 10:43 AM.
            "Never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it"
            Hillary Clinton


              Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

              Keep plugging away, mine has improved tremendously in the last three years. I finally have some points here and there that aren't chopped off.
              I found that if I was having lots of trouble matching a seam intersection to do this. Put your needle down at the match point, sew to the edge then go back and sew the rest of the seam after your seam intersection actually matches.
              Last edited by Claire Hallman; February 15, 2014, 10:49 AM.


                Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

                Raising my hand here! Seems there a few of us in 'the club'. LOL!
                My mom was a good sewer, as was her sister and my grandmother. Heck, they sewed everything! Even their own underwear. I sewed the once in a decade pair of shorts, perhaps a small dress, and supposedly the broken sewing machine at school was all my fault - so I tried crocheting. Loved that and made several afghans about 30 years ago that are still in use today.
                One day, I got the urge to try quilting. That was back in 1996 when we moved here. There were only books which I put back on the shelf. No videos to watch, no Pinterest to oogle over the projects, no night time classes I could attend. Until one day I was at a Grange for a small craft show and I saw a signup for a beginners quilt class that was to be about 2 miles from my house. The best part was the classes were at night when DH could watch the kiddos! I have been hooked ever since.
                My quilts are not perfect and when I make a cutting mistake and don't notice until later, I work with it. Heck, most of the time I start working with a pattern and end up with a pattern of my own. Those 10 minute table runners? The first one took me about 3 hours to get right. Those 10 minute blocks - yup, you guessed it - about 3 hours later I had a pretty nice looking one.
                One of my sisters quilts I made a few years ago - I HAD to have the perfect buttery yellow and sage greens I bought yards and yards of different hues only to have it all sit for another 2 to 3 years before I was brave enough to cut in to it. Silly yes. But I have learned over the years that it is JUST FABRIC and I need to JUST DO IT. So what if it's not perfect? It is nice to have the fabric work together though. I get that.
                Try to keep that quarter inch seam and don't press the bee-geebers out of your blocks because the fabric will stretch. Just lay your iron on top and press lightly lifting the iron up and down, not down the whole time and pushing it back and forth. I use Mary Ellens Best Press (and water it down a little to make it last longer) , that takes out most wrinkles.
                I would like to try my hand at - well I call it 'free applique'. No pattern, well - not one already made - use the ideas in my head, just a huge piece of fabric and start laying down pieces to see what happens. Probably a mess is what I'll get, but not brave enough to try it yet. Must be nuts here cause I don't think I am creative at all. LOL! I guess I will never know until I try.
                Hang in there. You even said your piecing skills are slowly progressing. That's the key I think. Just keep on going.
                (Sorry for so long, I CAN keep on going as you can tell.)

                What if you woke up today and the only things you had were the things you thanked God for yesterday? :icon_hug:quilting trish


                  Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

                  Sweetheart , We ALL have been there. We ALL will goof up again. We ALL have UFO's. Welcome to quilting!!! I just tried the churn dash quilt with the inner pinwheel. Measured sooooo carefully. Cut sooooo carefully. Not going to happen. So I took some of the pinwheels apart and I am making a Chevron quilt. Coming out lovely. It took me several tries before I turned out an Irish Chain quilt. (with goofs to my eye) and gave it to my DIL and DS. She absolutely loved it. So did her mom. As someone on this forum said: There are no "quilt police". Your one of us. Chin down, keep quilting. Sending hugs.


                    Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

                    Been there, done that! What helped me was to BACK UP. I bought a charm pack, sewed those squares together, sandwiched, straight line quilted, self binding. And it was fine. Why keep being frustrated with really hard stuff? Try something easier for awhile, that's what precuts are for. Gave me a chance to learn some basics and still have something decent at the end. Try it!


                      Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

                      I've been sewing and quilting for about 55 years and I still haven't 'arrived'. It's my therapy so I press on.

                      Scottie Mom Barb


                        Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

                        I have sewn since I was a little girl. I still make lots of mistakes and if you are looking for every seam to be perfect, it sure isn't me. I enjoy sewing and quilting and do the best that I can. And yes there are many times I've ripped out something because I didn't like the way it looked. I have gotten over the it has to be perfect and just enjoy the process of creating although perfection gets to me at times as the strips waiting here to be cut for the Irish chain will attestify.

                        Over/incorrect pressing will cause the fabric to go wonky.


                          Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

                          Don't give up. You WILL get better with practice. I have only been quting a couple of years. I can definitely see improvement in my piecing. I try to watch online tutorials as much as I can and pick up lots of tips and different ways of doing things this way. I also take classes at our local adult school and that helps a lot especially because it provides someone to answer questions. If you can take a class somewhere it is helpful. Maybe you can join a local guild. There are probably quilters gathering somewhere in your area, it's just a matter of finding them. I find that generally quilters are kind and willing to help newbies learn. Maybe you can take a Craftsy class. You can ask questions and many times they've already been asked and answered. Good luck. We're rooting for you. You can do it, and we're all here to help and support each other.


                            Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

                            As a newbie myself, I feel your pain. I grew up in a family of people who could sew. My grandmother sewed for the girls at William Woods College, even making formals for the dances for them. She made all her own clothes, went to town to see the new styles and then to P.N. Hirsch to buy yard goods and went home without a pattern and made beautiful clothes. Two of her daughters my aunts were the same way. I am enjoying piecing the tops. I'm doing a Disappearing 4 Patch for a friend. It was pointed out that some of my smaller pieces didn't line up perfectly. I replied, if you want perfection, go to Dillards and buy a machine made quilt.

                            My big fear is cutting fabric. I have three projects that I have yard goods for and am terrified of cutting into the material. I just look at them and freeze. I wish there could be a tutorial on cutting out pieces, on of my projects is a Block of the Month, I have to cut out 52, 2"x2" squares for the first block, there are also rectangles and half squares that have to be cut also. If you have ever seen a deer in headlights, you should be able to imagine me at that thought. I have to have it done by March 19 in order to get my next block.

                            But it does get easier. I bought a new to me sewing machine. I was using a 45 year old Capital zig-zag machine (it was built by Singer for a private label). I could barely lift it. I bought a used Pfaff. And I go to either of the two local quilt shops for support and info if I have to. Now I have the forums here. I also bought a 1/4" quilters foot for the Pfaff. It makes it so much easier to get a straight 1/4" seam.

                            So keep working and relax and enjoy it. If it comes out perfect people won't believe you made it yourself. LOL


                              Re: Jenny makes it look so must be me!

                              I have been sewing for almost 50 years. Its not always great, some is passable. and yes I have been known to throw things in the garbage rather then rip and repair. Its not about being perfect. Its about having fun and making something you like. Unless you are sewing for competition and looking for ribbons, your stuff is fine. Also remember the pieced top you sew that you think is wonky and lumpy looks totally different when sandwiched, quilted and bound. We all learn as we go, some things work others don't. The same thing does n't work for everyone. Find your groove and your niche and have fun. If people complain about things not lining up tell them you intended it that way and that they are not on your list to give anything to. Relax enjoy. I teach a wonderful group of ladies quilting, does not mean I know it all far from it. there are many classes they teach me. We just love sewing and yakking together. Its fun , its therapy.
                              sigpic:icon_hug: Iris Girl = April = fabric, Fabric FABRIC!!
                              Time spent with cats is never wasted.
                              Sigmund Freud