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The Quilt Show presents A to Z for Ewe and Me, the latest quilt in prizewinning quilter Janet Stone's 26-quilt alphabet series. Designed exclusively for members of TQS, the 69"x 82" quilt is a playful yet sophisticated sampler. Each letter in the alphabet has its own panel, where it's combined with a related pieced or appliquéd block. Make one for the child in your life, or make one for the child in you!
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TOPIC: Looking ahead and scared to death...

Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 28 May 2014 11:23 #118362

  • suehenyon
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Listening to the pro's talk about their process, especially free-motion, is a many year endeavor because there is so much to be learned. There are resources everywhere. My favorite is Cindy Needham's "Design It, Quilt It" on Craftsy because she teaches users of home machines how to listen to their machine to gain control. She quilts really slowly, as does David Taylor (see his TQS show). Me, too. Diane Gaudynski "warms up" for several minutes on sample pieces before working on a piece. I have a stack of samples that I may put together to make a king-sized quilt one day :lol: Samples of threads and designs might take as much time as actual quilting.

Learning a couple of basic shapes or designs is where many of us started, and added on as skill developed. Over time, we learn to relax and enjoy the process, as important as a finished product. Don't get over-whelmed!
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 28 May 2014 10:22 #118361

  • QuilterLynn
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I think the fear is a motivator to keep looking at ideas and learning new techniques and being open to "Wahoo" moments. Just last night I was browsing through the new AQS mag and it is all so perfect and beautiful, I just had to keep telling myself, "Lynn, they all started in the same place you did!"

So give yourself some freedom and just have fun! It just makes my stress fade away when I pick up a needle and thread, either by hand or machine. It just does! :) :) :)
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 28 May 2014 01:17 #118360

Thanks everyone. I guess I'll just forge ahead, enjoy today and worry about tomorrow tomorow. :D
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 27 May 2014 20:43 #118359

  • brendasr8
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I agree, Ritzy! I've done some grid quilting but was looking for some new ideas on it. I appreciate all of the replies!
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 27 May 2014 20:38 #118358

  • ritzy
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Great advice ladies!
Blessing from Northwest Indiana, USA
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 27 May 2014 18:34 #118357

  • rehak
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Hi Brenda -

If you are quilting your straight lines with a walking foot, you can also do your travel stitching that way. On a large quilt, you just have to decide if it's easier to tie off a bunch or to wrestle the quilt through the harp space. Depending on your feet, you can also switch between an open-toe walking foot and an open-toe darning foot without breaking thread. I can do that with my Bernina and used that when quilting a wholecloth that had long, straight lines with the traveling between the lines being very curvy. I generally do shorter straight lines in free motion; that just takes a little practice. I've found that what works for me is to use more of my whole body when controlling the direction and speed of straight lines, while fine free motion is done more with my fingers. A little practice will show you what works best for you. Also try doing your free motion with the feed dogs up and with them down. Depending on what I'm doing, I sometimes find that having the feed dogs up helps me to control things better. It's counter-intuitive, but it works for me.

Finally, the advice I give to all quilters:

- Don't stress over the little stuff while you are quilting. You will notice all of the little mistakes and jiggles while you are doing the quilting with your nose just inches from the quilt. When it's done, however, little mistakes get lost in the big picture.

- The more quilting you put on the quilt, the less you will see the mistakes.

- If you repeat a "mistake" in your quilting, it becomes a design decision rather than a mistake. Consistency is more important than perfection.

- If the quilting holds the quilt together, then it has done its job and is successful.

And, as Rita says, enjoy the process. It's a hobby and should be fun rather than stressful.
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 27 May 2014 16:25 #118356

Martha don't be scared. We have all been where you are now and it gets easier with each quilt you make. As for the grid lines, you can get a stencil grid to mark those onto your quilt. (It's best to mark your quilt before you put the batting and backing together with the top.) You don't have to do them as small as Janet's, or at all if you don't want to. I probably won't.

It takes a lot of practice to get good a free motion quilting which is how Janet did the feathers in the trees, the micro stippling around the border etc., but again you don't have to do these on your quilt. I have practiced FMQ a lot but I still love using the walking foot on my machine and have made several quilts using only the walking foot, and been very happy with them. Like all difficult tasks the trick is to break it down into manageable chunks. In this instance that would be a block at a time.

The first step will be to stitch in the ditch around all the sashing. This you can do with an open toe walking foot on your machine. Invisible thread will become your best friend here and if you have never stitched in the ditch then you should practice before working on your quilt proper. Once you have stitched around all the sashing then you will just be working on one block at a time. Because you will have secured it with the SID around the sashing you won't need to worry about the rest of the quilt at that moment but be able to focus on the block you choose. You can SID around each letter and block if you want to as well. Anything with a curve becomes easier to do in free-motion but it could be done with the walking foot as well. Once you have reached that point then whatever you decide to quilt in the blocks and the border is a bonus. You could continue to use the invisible thread and stitch right over everything either with a straight stitch or with a decorative one from your machine. There are so many options to choose from. The main thing, is that you need to practice quilting with both a walking foot and in free motion now so that when you are finished the quilt you feel more equal to the task. If you still feel that you are not ready, then set it aside and come back to it when you are. I do this all the time and find it really makes a difference.

Don't let the fear of quilting a quilt take the joy out of the hobby. Look on every quilt as part of learning the craft. It's a journey of discovery, enjoy!
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 27 May 2014 15:39 #118355

  • twiglet
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You can move down seam lines or edges of applique to get to your next start point. If I'm quilting to the edge I travel up off the quilt in the wadding I'm going to trim later. Lots of tricks to learn :D

Mug rugger and lounge lizard
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 27 May 2014 15:36 #118354

  • brendasr8
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If you are quilting by 'traveling' from line to line, are you then frequently quilting backwards (with free motion quilting, of course)? If yes, how are you keeping the lines so straight?

I gather that those of you who are using a walking foot are tying off a lot?
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 27 May 2014 15:12 #118353

  • ritzy
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Brenda, you only have to tie off it if there is no way to go to the next area to be quilted.
Blessing from Northwest Indiana, USA
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 27 May 2014 13:46 #118352

  • twiglet
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I use masking tape to mark the straight lines. You can reuse it if you are careful. You'll need to decide later if you are doing it by hand or machine :D

Mug rugger and lounge lizard
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 27 May 2014 12:59 #118351

  • brendasr8
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Tagging onto Martha's mention of the straight line quilting in the background, how is that done? And is each line of quilting tied off separately?
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 18 Apr 2014 22:45 #117398

  • suehenyon
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I have my first quilts hanging in my house. I love them and believe me, the mistakes are absolutely hysterical...now that I know what they are :roll: :roll: . Just enjoy the process of getting the top done and just be looking for ideas for quilting way down the road. Many of us finish our BOM's in 3 or 4 years.

Hey TQS search pros, how do we find the Smilebox that came out about 8 years ago, called My First Quilt?

To this day, one of my favorite pieces is a table runner that is all outline stitched with a walking foot. I gave it to a friend who proudly displays it a couple of times a year. I see it and reflect that a really simple solution can look good.

The Rembrants of the quilt world end up making show quilts. The rest of the millions of us do "good enough" quilting, and get by being proud of each minute step. Be good to yourself and enjoy the process! Welcome to the forum!
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Re: Looking ahead and scared to death... 18 Apr 2014 20:47 #117397

Here is my 2¢. This is a really great award-winning pattern, well written. enjoy the process! how you want it quilted is a decision you don't have to make for months. for me if I really love the piecing and I am happy with the quality, I start dreaming about how the quilt wil be quilted and the thread I will use.
. I can spend hours searching for ideas! to be honest I "quilt by check book". I love my long armer @ we work together to get the quilting just right, but it takes more than 1 visit. Have fun, Robin
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