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  1. #1
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    Default Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    I'm 45 years old, and started sewing back in my teen years. I was a garment maker through the years along with sewing for the home, and just decided to try my hand at quilting in the past year. I'm not sure what in the world is the problem, but it seems that in every item I've made this past year, I've had so many mistakes!

    Was it like that when you first started out? I'm wondering if this hobby will get better for me.... or if I should just quit while ahead.

    The thing I'm currently frustrated with is piecing backing fabric together to make it fit my front. In trying to save money I bought a few remnants. I thought I had everything worked out, and then once I sewed it together, it wasn't large enough.

    Another project I sewed the borders on from the underneath and it warped the sides. I'm used to having lighter color fabric on top, so that's what I did. I wanted to put scallops in, though, and that was impossible with the puckers so I had to pull the border off, and sew them from the top. That helped immensely, but I couldn't get rid of one little ripple.

    Another project I walked away from in the middle of cutting, returning to it the next day. I didn't measure the block size prior to resuming my cutting, thinking I remembered the size. I was wrong, and then had to cut down the blocks from the prior day as I was off by 3/8".

    My husband told me I need to take notes on all of the videos I watch with hints and tricks. I'm thinking I also need to write down cutting sizes if I walk away from cutting mid-project.

    Anyway.... did anyone else feel like it was worse before it got better? Any tips/tricks to share for those who are discouraged?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    First tip - breathe. Forgive yourself for making a mistake (or even a few). You are learning a new process. Nobody starts off being perfect. When we can learn from our mistakes, we rarely (I don't say never) make the same one again. After all, there are so many different mistakes to try!

    Second, you need to remember to figure in your seam allowances when you're piecing a backing, and allow extra for a fudge factor. Being frugal is good - after all, isn't that how quilting originally started? Using up and making do with the resources available? If your backing is just a little bit off, try putting a strip off-center in the middle Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2014-01-31 07.22.38.jpg 
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ID:	128250of the backing - Voila! Design element! Say your backing is too narrow - cut the backing about a 1/3 away across, cut a strip 2-3" more than you think you need, and sew it in there on both edges.

    I learned this tip recently regarding borders - don't cut them from the width of fabric if they're going to be more than 3-4" wide. There's more give in the width-wise grain of the fabric than the other way (along the selvage). If you are putting on wide borders, better to cut them across the fabric. They are less likely to be wavy... Here's a good article about borders Quiltville's Quips & Snips!!: Border Hints!

    For cutting, I try to keep a cheat-sheet of cuts that I need to make. For example: the block I'm working on needs 7 3" square color (medium) 6 3" squares Light, 2 3" x 8" rectangle Dark and 2 3 x 8" rectangle light. If I were to make a full quilt of these blocks, I'd figure out how many of each piece I need (I use a spreadsheet) then check off the cuts when I'm done. I also clip stacks of 10 together so I don't have to keep counting.

    My last hint is - keep at it. Keep trying new things. You'll get the hang of it. If you let it get the best of you, you'll never know what you could have accomplished. Keep breathing... this is supposed to be fun.

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  4. #3
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    Sometimes you just need to step away-not quit-so you can clear your head and refocus. I usually do OK, just an occasional goof-up. Then again, somedays nothing I do works. That's when I come downstairs and put it out of my mind for a day or two
    (or even a few weeks). Go back with a clear head, take your time-it's not a race- and start again
    “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, is and remains immortal.”

    ― Albert Pine

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  6. #4
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    I've been making quilts for quite a while now. We all make mistakes. I have had some "kick me" moments but I just forge ahead because I enjoy quilt making. I don't know what size quilts you're creating. I'd like to suggest that you work on smaller ones until you become more comfortable with the various techniques involved in making what you would consider a success. Simple is better when you're just beginning.

    You've obviously done well with garment making. That takes a different type of concentration and not always that easy. If you can make garments you can certainly master quilt making. Baby quilts are a great way to begin. They're easier to manage and they come together quickly. You can donate them to a worthy cause or give as gifts if you know young folks who are having babies. You'll get some good practice.

    Concentration is key. I do agree with your husband. Take notes and re-visit tutorials that demonstrate techniques when you're not comfortable with a particular step. Always double-check. Take your time. ALSO - seeking perfection is not as important as you may think. Once it's quilted and washed and one is looking at the whole quilt those imperfections usually disappear to the eye.
    Last edited by rebeccas-sewing; March 27th, 2016 at 12:46 PM.
    Goodbye Europe! Hello California! Home sweet home.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    Sounds to me like you are just like the rest of us lol. Mistakes happen and a pucker won't show once the quilt is washed and you quit looking for the pucker! I'm learning that I don't need to be an expert to enjoy the craft and the fabrics. Keep going

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    You know a long time ago while starting out quilting I read that some ladies purposely leave a mistake in their quilts. So, this rather messed with my head and now I always look for the mistakes. I must say that those few words relieved me when after I would get the whole quilt top together and then realized I turned something the wrong way. I leave it. I don't worry about it because for any quilter who looks at it, they will search and find it. For anyone who does not sew, they will never know. It is almost a quilters code LOL. But a very human side to quilting.

    Another thing with garment making, we have picked up very bad habits through the years which for that hobby works out but for quilting may not. I know I was really bad for grabbing the fabric behind the feed dogs and pulling it through. Also, with garment making I was always stretching my upper fabric layer out in front of the feed dogs which would warp the lay of the fabric. For the garment it would not matter, for quilting it is a nightmare.

    And lastly the returning to the quilting work on a later date, can result in cutting errors. I still do this. But I always review what I am doing by reading it at least twice or viewing the video one before I cut and once during the cutting to avoid cutting mistakes.

    You ARE completely a normal quilter! Congrats! Enjoy the frustration and the reward at the end of the project!
    Blogging ahead.....research in quilting and sewing with a dab of cooking/recipes too.

    https://myquiltprojects.wordpress.com/

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  12. #7
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    Hi Kimber and welcome. I've only been quilting about 2 years, and have a similar sewing background. So your confession really relevant and fresh for me. I hope you will be patient with yourself because quilting is so rewarding. For me the hardest part was realizing I wasn't going to be very competent quickly. Face it, there is so much else in our lives that we do very well. Our career skills, homemaking, social skills, etc. It feels strange to be so frustratingly inept! I made all the mistakes - cutting errors, seam allowance sizing, distorting when pressing, failing to read directions carefully, etc etc. And yes, I too had to revise a pieced quilt back several times to make it work. I had to start laughing at myself and face the fact that I needed new organizing principles to make this work. I finally started making a chart before I allow myself to pick up that ruler and cutter. A swatch of what I am using, to identify rows with boxes for each strip or piece to cut. As Kathy Crofoot has advised. This has helped me tremendously, if only because it is forcing me to double check everything and be systematic. And I make test blocks on unlovable fabric before I cut into the beauties I will use for the quilt. Maybe it's me, but the 'flying by the seat of the pants' approach I used initially just didn't work well. So I am definitely enjoying myself more now. Good luck, and let us know how it's going.

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  14. #8
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    One: It ALWAYS gets better with practice
    Two: Mistakes are part of the learning process. Just learn from them
    Three: Stop worrying over it so much. It WILL get better, but you won't enjoy the process if you keep being so hard on yourself.

    My husband told me I need to take notes on all of the videos I watch with hints and tricks. I'm thinking I also need to write down cutting sizes if I walk away from cutting mid-project.
    I do keep notes a lot, and I write down such things before I even start. Then I KNOW I have it right.
    Last edited by shirleyknot; March 27th, 2016 at 01:07 PM.

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  16. #9
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    Quote Originally Posted by rebeccas-sewing View Post
    I've been making quilts for quite a while now. We all make mistakes. I have had some "kick me" moments but I just forge ahead because I enjoy quilt making. I don't know what size quilts you're creating. I'd like to suggest that you work on smaller ones until you become more comfortable with the various techniques involved in making what you would consider a success. Simple is better when you're just beginning.

    You've obviously done well with garment making. That takes a different type of concentration and not always that easy. If you can make garments you can certainly master quilt making. Baby quilts are a great way to begin. They're easier to manage and they come together quickly. You can donate them to a worthy cause or give as gifts if you know young folks who are having babies. You'll get some good practice.

    Concentration is key. I do agree with your husband. Take notes and re-visit tutorials that demonstrate techniques when you're not comfortable with a particular step. Always double-check. Take your time. ALSO - seeking perfection is not as important as you may think. Once it's quilted and washed and one is looking at the whole quilt those imperfections usually disappear to the eye.
    Rebecca's right here. I started out making tote bags ( from a tutorial Jenny did her on MSQC ) and then went on to making table runners, and finally small quilts. I am now ( 4 yrs later....but so you know I have to realize I have been chronically ill for a lot of those four years ) making two queen sized quilts.

    Here's the tote bag tutorial I started out with from Jenny & MSQC
    https://youtu.be/S7i6Wrl4rZ8

    Even in pioneer times, little girls were started out making 9 patch blocks...and then of course they went on to more complicated blocks I am sure. For the most part, I practice making the quilt blocks of each and every tutorial I have watched since finding the MSQC and the forum group. IF I find that the quilt block I am making is a little difficult, I set it aside, and go back to it months later. I have a bag full of different blocks I have made, and when I pull them out of the bag, you can see just how much better I have gotten over the last few years....and I am pretty proud of myself. I started out with the Flower Garden Quilt. It seemed pretty easy to me Here's the tutorial ( see below ) :
    Here's the 1st Flower Garden Quilt Tutorial Jenny did :
    https://youtu.be/inSg61NaAW8

    Then, a few years later, she did the same quilt and showed us how to make this quilt with Sashing !
    https://youtu.be/7yElxKHl_OQ

    I am also making the Friendship blocks for s group here.....( I need to make 12 of them, and have only finished 3 so far )
    https://youtu.be/JVva-OjTzqA
    I think that the newest tutorial Jenny did this week would be a great tutorial for a beginner....( and this is just my opinion. Someone else with a lot more skill than me might think differently ...and that's the beauty of this forum ! ) I have learned so much from everyone here.
    ( here's the tutorial for this week)
    https://youtu.be/KrfXiF14pnU
    Just take it slow....don't take everything to heart. My DH Terry's grandma used to say that if something handmade didn't have a "MISTAKE " in it, it wasn't made with love. I have remembered that all these years.....I began sewing when my DD was a baby, and I look back and see some of the awful dresses I made for her at first.....now, 35 yrs later, I am proud to say that I have made wedding dresses,prom dresses ...you name it. I have a granddaughter that thinks "Grandma" can make anything...and I make all of her school clothes ! Quite a accomplishment I think for a little girl ( she is 13 ) who could say "Grandma I would rather wear designer labels " ....but she doesn't, she thinks is awesome to have clothes no one else has !
    Last edited by redcaboose1717; March 27th, 2016 at 01:11 PM.

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  18. #10
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: Did you ever go through a point where you wanted to give up?

    Please don't give up! Quilting can be fun, relaxing, meditative, and rewarding. I have been quilting since 1990 and I've made only ONE quilt that I can say MIGHT be perfect. You just started quilting in the last year. Although you are a sewer did you think about taking a beginner quilting class at a local quilt store? Since I wasn't a sewer I took three beginner classes the first two years and learned many things that helped me tremendously. I also learned not to be so critical of myself and my work. For each thing you learn to help you and as you get more confident, something else will jump out of the woodwork and drive you nuts. It's part of the learning process, part of creating and part of the art piece. Relax and breathe.

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