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MNnancy Posted: Sun, Apr 3 2011 3:42 PM

Patti:
But from every quilt I have done, I have learned something.

Amen to that, Patti!

I'm starting this thread to share some of the lessons we've learned as we've traveled along in our quilting journeys.  Perhaps we can help beginner quilters from making some of the mistakes we've made.  I'll start with this example - my first pieced work - a table runner.   From this project I learned the importance of contrast.  I chose two reds that were too similar.  Can you spot them?  I wish I had used the trick of taking a photo and switching it to black and white.  That would have clearly shown that the two reds were nearly identical.

[Please tag any tips you post so that others can find them.]

(I've also learned that it's hard to keep cats off furniture.  LOL)


On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)

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Patti replied on Sun, Apr 3 2011 4:05 PM

I don't have a picture to show, but I remember my first 9 patches.  Cut each patch out individually, them sewed them together one by one. 

This has been the year for learning about values, light and darks.  I used to think contrast was just having a different color, but the contrast that really makes a quilt is the difference between light, dark and medium.  It makes some pieces stand out like jewels in a quilt.  It gives them life.  The MQ's have taught me a lot about this.  I like to go back and look at the quilts that were made, and the most beautiful and stunning are those with contrast.

Patti

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Joy replied on Mon, Apr 4 2011 5:06 AM

Its funny you should post this question to everyone; I was just thinking last week how far I've come in quilting since I started. It was quite evident when I had to make my in-laws quilts' smaller. The quilting looked like a 5 year old did it, my stippling was enormous, my points didn't match up, and I used all white thread! ugg! What was I thinking? I wasn't, I was learning. And I still do everyday I step foot in my studio.

One of the most important lessons I learned since making those first quilts is layering and basting. I had no clue that I should tape the back, batting, and top to the floor, smoothing in between. I was too impatient to use lots of pins when basting. It is key in ensuring that the quilt will stay smooth while quilting.

Today, my points match much better, I have found my rhythm when machine quilting giving way to much better stitches, and my thread matches the color of my quilt, (unless I purposing want it to stand out).

Truthfully, I still struggle with color - value and placement. I am working on it though!

Joy

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I still have problems in choosing colors.  I have noticed that I am much better at matching seams.  I didn't know about  locking the seams until I watched an E. Burns video on it.  Bingo, much better seams.

Granny M

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MNnancy replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 8:47 PM

Locking the seams? I'd like to hear more about this tip....


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One quilt I made said to square the blocks to 16" but I could only do 15.5" and I tried with every block to make it to the 16".  I finally sat down and calculated the measurements and the pattern was out by an inch.  Test blocks are getting more important the more I quilt.

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Eileen replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 8:55 PM

Nancy, "locking seams" refers to pressing seams in joining blocks in opposite directions so they but up against each other - check out this link (scroll down a tad til you see :Matching straight seams" and a tan & green 4-patch on the right):

http://books.google.com/books?id=MQneD8cQ5KAC&pg=PA146&lpg=PA146&dq=locking+seams+quilting&source=bl&ots=1rCqPjkOGI&sig=BYc8Jre6B1H_kUWf9AUjH4IRUow&hl=en&ei=Fw2hTYjpAeHf0QGIlMWQBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CC8Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false

It really does make a difference, especially in blocks like 4-patch where you want corners to line up right.

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gini replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 9:01 PM

and after you lock the seams:   press all the seams the same direction, loosen a few threads where the seam joins, wiggle your finger in it and the four corners at this seam will look like  a four patch.   press the intersection of the seam like this and your seam will lay flatter in the corners and be easier to  quilt.   gini

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MNnancy replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 9:10 PM

I think I need a demo now.  You say Eleanor Burns has a video out there?  Or Gini, will you demo at the October retreat in Washington?


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gini replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 9:22 PM

i can do that,  i could probably get a picture of it tomorrow

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gini replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 9:37 PM

ok, that was dumb i have the camera here, so here's a picture of what we're talking about

when you snug the two seams together, push them opposite directions and they line up with out a hassel, stick in a pin and sew away

peeking down that seam, look how nicely they align

if i have had to stretch one side a little to get them to fit, i might stick one more pin in to hold.   i remove the pins when i have a needle directly on the seam or one stitch past.    releasing the pin before you've secured the seam can make it go wonky.

 

this is the back of a four corner intersection. see how the seams are all going the same direction.  i didn't have to release any stitching here, because it is hand pieced, but on machine piecing, you would release about two stitches at the end of the seam and fan out your little hyper-mini four patch. it really reduces bulk in the corners.   i should have taken a picture of a star center, too.   i will if you would like.   you can do the same with the center of a star.  iron every seam that goes to the center of the star the same diirection and the points on the  backside will make a  cute little star themselves.    you have to stick your finger in the center and fan 'em out a little, some centers can be a little stubborn.     gini

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gini replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 9:46 PM

i've trimmed all my mini stars so they don't look like stars anymore, but you can see how the seams are all going the same direction and the points on the back are all fanned out.   if you have slightly misaligned seams or a little gaposis going on in the center, pressing the center like this will help you disguise these issues.  maybe not eliminate them but it helps.   if you still have an alignment problem, or gaposis, push  the seams the other direction and refan the centers, sometimes that will fix it.   this is an easy  step and can save a star center occasionally.   gini

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MNnancy replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 9:55 PM

Thanks for the pictures!  This is good advice.  I've never read this in a book.  I'll tag this so others can find it.


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Susan replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 10:11 PM

What is locking the seams? Susan

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gini replied on Sat, Apr 9 2011 10:30 PM

susan look three or four posts up and you will see some pictures of locking seams    gini

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