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marigold
#1 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 8:58:04 AM(UTC)
marigold

Rank: Member

Joined: 6/21/2017(UTC)
Posts: 41
Location: Idaho high desert

Kind of a whine alert. Bring cheese and crackers!

By the calendar I have been quilting for a few years now...but by actual machine time it's been waaayyyy less. I've tried a beginner's quilting class at a LQS (not that great), looked at lots of quilting books, done internet research and watched lots of YouTube videos. Sometimes it's very confusing--honest beliefs that you should press to the dark only or press open; always prewash, never prewash; tons of methods to baste and bind, etc.

I am usually discouraged with what I finally end up with. I try to do it right and then discover that somehow I've shot myself in the foot with my decisions (like choosing to press seams open on a disappearing 4-patch). I can see what I did wrong but not how to do it better the next time. Although I usually seem to do pretty well with matching seams and corners (yay, me) I cannot seem to put on a decent binding or know how to choose and do the simplest quilting designs.  So I often feel like I've ruined my work at the end.

I really enjoy seeing all the beautiful work that is posted. And I assume that probably most of you great quilters have previously struggled with getting it right. I wondered if you might share your own bumpy roads. What are the parts of creating a quilt that have given you problems? And how did you overcome them?

Right now, repeating over and over to myself that "Done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect." is so far the only thing keeping myself from sitting in a corner feeling sorry for myself. And that's not very attractive OR helpful.

Anyone care to share how YOU overcame any discouraging experiences?

mari

Chelle
#2 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 11:04:23 AM(UTC)
Chelle

Rank: Member

Joined: 2/4/2006(UTC)
Posts: 4,089
Location: Brentwood, CA

Well, I still have issues like not getting creases in the backing when I sandwich, and while its still not perfect I have gotten better by using clips to hold the pieces down on my table.  I always hated connecting the two ends of binding together, until someone told me an easier way to do it.  I just recently started making half square triangles because I was afraid to mess them up LOL (I would paper piece them before).  I took it slow and tried making the eight HST at a time, and it worked out :)  I just had to not think so hard about it.  I also tell myself this is made with love and if I pressured myself to get things perfect I would end up hating the craft.  

I think we can always make improvements and I think we are always learning.

As long as I'm breathin', there's no bad days.~ Alabama
Nana bear
#3 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 11:31:19 AM(UTC)
Nana bear

Rank: Member

Joined: 4/8/2014(UTC)
Posts: 1,024
Location: Ontario

I agree with Chelle. I have been "quilting" for about 4-5 years and have seen improvement as I go along.....My problem areas remain accurate cutting. Binding was an issue until I got a binding tool and once I figured out that the pictures on the card were upside down, the binding went smoothly. My last area is pattern comprehension - I have a habit of reading too fast so I am constantly reminding myself to slow down.

You have to keep taking classes until you find someone you connect with... my LQS gives classes and that is where I have done most of my learning.

Don't Give Up.... We are all here to help

Deb 

Quilting and quilt retreats makes me happy!
EliQuilts
#4 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 12:07:05 PM(UTC)
EliQuilts

Rank: GOLD STAR Quilter

Joined: 5/18/2006(UTC)
Posts: 1,692
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

When I started quilting, i was fairly isolated.  Mom sewed, but rarely made quilts and hers tend to resemble gee's bend, which isn't my style and is definitely a do-your-own-thing kind of fiber art.  I "borrowed" needle, thread, and scissors from Mom.  (she got the scissors back). i was 13.  Mom didn't kill me for cutting up clothes either.

Maybe this is why i have such an easy-going attitude towards quilting.  The rules are guidelines to be ignored at will. Personally, I prewash because I like intense colors and batiks, both of which are more likely to bleed.  Problems can be fixed, and some mistakes can add a fun spark to a quilt.  I totally messed up the fabric placement in a recent BOM block, but you know? I quite like the effect so I'm not gonna redo it!

Sometimes I question my sanity. ....Occasionally it replies
Agnes
#5 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 12:34:32 PM(UTC)
Agnes

Rank: Member

Joined: 2/27/2014(UTC)
Posts: 1,039
Location: Ontario

I totally agree with all that has been said. I have been quilting over 25 years and in some areas I feel I could still be making improvements. Learn from your mistakes. Eventually something will click and you will then be wondering why you found it frustrating. Remember that all hobbies should be fun. Have you set your goals and expectations too high for yourself as a beginner? I had a friend who was a starter quilter who tried to make her work more precise than mine with my 15 years of learning and doing. I was constantly the one called on to boost her spirits. She could drag me down in a flash so I talked her through, almost a seam at a time, to finish a quilt and told her that I would no longer help her because it just wasn't for her. When I discovered rag quilts, with frayed edges, I taught her how to make them and she has been happier than a pig in a poke making many as baby gifts. That was within her comfort zone.

I still, after 25 years, am learning ways to improve. I think the biggest things are patience, practice and keep trying. 

Agnes in NW Ontario, Canada
uandiquilt
#6 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 1:33:44 PM(UTC)
uandiquilt

Rank: Member

Joined: 3/9/2014(UTC)
Posts: 196
Location: Wa

Accurate cutting and consistent seam allowances are important for blocks to come together with matching points and seams. Investing in a 1/4" presser foot helped me a lot. See each quilt as a learning curve for your next quilt. They do get better and better. Mostly, enjoy the process.
Chris
Mimi
#7 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 1:56:02 PM(UTC)
Mimi

Rank: GOLD STAR Quilter

Joined: 2/14/2014(UTC)
Posts: 2,300
Location: NW suburbs of Philly

I've been quilting more than 20 years and my first quilts were not the quality of the quilts I make now.  Everyone has a learning curve.  Everyone has a comfort level.  I've learned many things along the way.  At quilt shows, I've taken classes with good teachers like Bonnie Hunter, Pepper Corey, Jo Morton, Sue Spargo, Lisa Bongean, Linda Hahn, Mimi Dietrich and Norma Campbell. I've also found some great teachers at different local quilt shops.

But I'm still learning and I've relaxed the "I need to get this perfect" attitude and try to enjoy the process rather than obsessing about what's wrong.  Just this week I learned to bind concave angles on a candlemat.  I'd never tried it before. I also just learned, here on this site, a new way to piece shaded 4 patches.  I'd always had too much bias before so I avoided them. I find the tips I've learned over time that help me the most are trim each piece of the block once sewn to make it the right size for the next step, press very well, and be sure your seam allowance is constant.  

We all start out awkward and full of mistakes.  But keep sewing and you'll keep getting better.  Before long you'll wonder what you were worried about. Practice, patience, acceptance of current abilities...and we all are here for you.  

My heart is fed with needle and thread.
Dorian
#8 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 5:01:45 PM(UTC)
Dorian

Rank: Member

Joined: 6/16/2017(UTC)
Posts: 67
Location: N CAL

And ALWAYS remember...don't compare your work to others, especially those you have been quilting a lot longer than you have! Thats sometimes very hard to do. We tend to judge what we make to others, but it's not fair to you. Go slow, enjoy what you do, keep practicing and trying differnet ways to do things. If pressing to the dark side doesn't work for you, press open.. or vice verse. I personnally learned to press to the dark side, so that is what I've always done. That's my preference. Find what works for you.

Keep a smile in your heart :) Dorian
Nancy_MN
#9 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 5:05:38 PM(UTC)
Nancy_MN

Rank: GOLD STAR Quilter

Joined: 9/30/2013(UTC)
Posts: 6,929
Location: north central Minnesota

Thinking back to my very first quilt project 8 years ago, a table runner, the first lesson I learned was to be sure my the fabrics I use have good contrast with plenty of light/plain fabrics to provide the eyes a place to rest, and to use pins to help in keeping points/seams in place while stitching.  I'm also always on the lookout for a way to oversize units/blocks if they can then be trimmed down to size.  This does not work for all block designs.

I love quilt-alongs for the chance to share ideas with others who are working on the same project.  I learn so much sharing with my online quilting friends!

~On the banks of the Mississippi River in the Brainerd Lakes area~
EvelynB
#10 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 7:01:47 PM(UTC)
EvelynB

Rank: GOLD STAR Quilter

Joined: 5/12/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,573
Location: Texas

"Done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect."

Someone has lied to you. Learn from your mistakes is a better thing to remember. I have dozens of unquilted tops and lots of stacks of blocks that could go in a quilt. I've learned something from each. I read a study last weekend that said older adults learn from their mistakes more than young people. We're curious about what we did wrong and don't repeat it. That's so much smarter.

I take classes and hope to take away one little tidbit of knowledge in each one. Plus it's fun to be around fellow quilter's. I also like to enter quilts in competition every other year. The feedback from a judge is honest and helpful. (My friends would never tell me to trim less batting so my binding is full.) Also it's such fun to win a ribbon and really exciting to get a silver dollar award. They're wrapped in bandanas and I have them in my safe with my grandkids names on them. Then I go to the vendors and spend that amount on something frivolous.

No one in my life needs a quilt for warmth. So I'm making fewer bed quilts and more table and bed runners as well as wallhangings. I join swaps that challenge me. When you mail to another person, you want it to be your best work. I'm in a local small quilt group that meets weekly. We take turns teaching a lesson. Often it's a review but it's great reinforcement. I would never have tried dying fabrics or wool applique without them.

Always make a sample block before planning an entire project. I have learned the hard way that I either disliked my fabric choices or I disliked the process. I cut out an entire log cabin quilt in country colors and on the second block I was ready to scream in agony. I hate brown and forest green...


Evelyn AGENT 010
JudyT
#11 Posted : Monday, August 7, 2017 8:59:14 PM(UTC)
JudyT

Rank: Member

Joined: 2/6/2014(UTC)
Posts: 1,440
Location: Pacific Northwest

My biggest help on my quilting journey? An online quilters forum I joined in 2009 and taking part in their on-line quilt alongs Seeing photos of the quilts they made and getting help with issues were all part of my quilting journey. Most of the quilts I've made would never have been made if I hadn't done what you've just done. Join a group. In 2011 someone in the forum organized a week long retreat. I took a deep breath and joined 18 other ladies I had never met befrore. They came to Washington State from as far away as Maine, Alberta, Virginia etc. I've been retreating with these ladies and others ever since. Always something new to learn.

Don't worry about not being perfect. Enjoy yourself and you'll improve your skills. Quilt shops offer quilt classes. Online shops and forums, such as this one, offer monthly fun projects.

Judy in the Pacific Northwest
cv quilter
#12 Posted : Tuesday, August 8, 2017 8:39:03 AM(UTC)
cv quilter

Rank: GOLD STAR Quilter

Joined: 10/13/2015(UTC)
Posts: 3,505
Location: AZ, USA

I'd have to echo what Judy posted...Join online forums and get involved in a few swaps, quilt a longs, read about and see what other's have done.  I must say that I have loved to quilt for 22 years or more, but truly, I never really got inspired until I jointed QATW.  I have been challenged to try new techniques.  I still struggle with the NEW, but each time I finally get the concept, I get excited.  Don't be afraid to try new things.  These ladies here are so good at encouraging and sharing their knowledge.  Don't be hard on yourself...that being said I still am my own worst critic.  Try not to do that.  It defeats the learning process.  I have trouble making blocks where there are supposed to be crisp points...seems no matter how careful I think I am with consistent 1/4 inch seams, I still lose some of the points.  A really good 1/4 inch foot means a lot!  YouTube has so much to offer...watch videos of a technique you are wanting to learn.   I don't think I have every made a "perfect" quilt..probably never will.  But, I can keep on learning and doing.  Most of all, enjoy the journey.   

Sharon
Fabriholic
#13 Posted : Tuesday, August 8, 2017 9:21:42 AM(UTC)
Fabriholic

Rank: GOLD STAR Quilter

Joined: 6/16/2007(UTC)
Posts: 1,705
Location: Colorado

Do what you like!  Because everyone has a preference.  I do pretty simple machine quilting.  Mostly meander, stitch in the ditch, and play with hearts and stars and the like.  I learn each time.  I don't press seams open.  I press so that they lay nicely.  I am a scrappy quilter - so my stuff can get pretty crazy.  Bonnie Hunter - Quiltville.com - has some great free patterns, and lots of info!!

One tip I do have.   Borders - Measure your quilt before you put on your borders.  Result - A square quilt.  

Measure both sides and the middle.  add and divide by 3.  That will be your side border measurement.  Fold the quilt in half and the border piece in half, pin from the middle.   Do the same with the top once the side borders are on.  It makes a huge difference!  

Sheila
Today is a new day!
dogsbody
#14 Posted : Tuesday, August 8, 2017 11:35:19 AM(UTC)
dogsbody

Rank: Member

Joined: 7/12/2017(UTC)
Posts: 12
Location: here

The absolute biggest thing? Stop being such a self-critic. More likely than not, by this point, you are doing far better than you allow yourself credit for. The second biggest thing? top fussing so much and enjoy the process.

marigold
#15 Posted : Tuesday, August 8, 2017 1:31:29 PM(UTC)
marigold

Rank: Member

Joined: 6/21/2017(UTC)
Posts: 41
Location: Idaho high desert

Thank you all so much! I very much appreciate each and every post with your tips and encouragement! Bless your hearts!

I feel re-set and will take your advice to heart. And I thought about it...and I think the quilts I have made and gifted have been appreciated for the love put into them and not critically examined.Yep, my own worst critic and usually expecting more than I have the experience to create. But I will treat myself like I would treat someone else who is learning and persevering. It reminds me of a quote: I never thought of myself as a bully - until I listened to the way I spoke to myself.

I am so happy to be involved in such a helpful and caring group. Thank you!

mari

jcorsbie
#16 Posted : Tuesday, August 8, 2017 4:08:30 PM(UTC)
jcorsbie

Rank: Swaps Director & GSQ

Joined: 5/13/2010(UTC)
Posts: 5,219
Location: Home of the mighty Gators; Gainesville, FL USA

I began sewing my own clothes in junior high and for about 20 more years and also my kids' clothes when they were little.  After I retired I got the quilting bug and that has been about 8 years ago and I still have it.  For me, the light bulb when on when, in the beginning of my quilting, journey, I made charity quilts.  I only used three different patterns, and I have to say that doing the same pattern, over and over, allowed me to see all my mistakes and take different routes to try and fix the mistakes in the next quilts.  It really helped me identify problems and understand the constuction of each block so I could easily tell how to sew it accurately and recognize that many mistakes are made in the pressing phase as well as inaccurate cutting & sewing.  Repetition is a great teacher.

jann

Always do more than is required of/from you. (My mom)
cv quilter
#17 Posted : Tuesday, August 8, 2017 5:07:18 PM(UTC)
cv quilter

Rank: GOLD STAR Quilter

Joined: 10/13/2015(UTC)
Posts: 3,505
Location: AZ, USA

Jann, what were the three patterns?  I have been making a few quilts for charity, but find myself not sure what to make.  I think the idea of the same patterns, easy, repetitive, would be what I need.  I just attended a quilt guild meeting today (I don't belong, just went to donate fabric) and learned that our local schools in my community want comfort quilts, given to the school nurse for kids who need them, and this is what I'd love to do.  It kind of lit my fire!!

Sharon
marigold
#18 Posted : Tuesday, August 8, 2017 5:32:57 PM(UTC)
marigold

Rank: Member

Joined: 6/21/2017(UTC)
Posts: 41
Location: Idaho high desert

Jann, doing a few simple patterns over and over while I get the basics down sounds like a great idea. Thanks! I belong to a small guild whose mission is charity quilts and they provide fabric for those so I should be able to do as many as I need to. Sounds like a win-win.

mari

dogsbody
#19 Posted : Wednesday, August 9, 2017 8:14:55 PM(UTC)
dogsbody

Rank: Member

Joined: 7/12/2017(UTC)
Posts: 12
Location: here

I worked for other people for 45 years, doing what others wanted. Quilting is my hobby. I do it for pleasure, and I do it my way. I'll do my best, but I refuse to stress over any part of it. If some part of it turned out less than perfect, that's ok, so am I.

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