brand new to quilting, looking for some advice

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geewee Posted: Sat, Mar 24 2012 5:13 PM

Hi everyone,

My name is Kim and I am new to the Quilters Club of America and I am looking forward to getting to know you.  I am an avid scrapbooker and stamper and I want to start making my own quilts for our beds in our home. In the past, I have sewn curtians and pillows for our home but nothing elaborate. My style is shabby chic or bright fun colors. I have some questions and was hoping I could get some advice.

1.  What is the best economical machine I should buy so that I can quilt?

2.  Is there a website, video or resource you would recommend for me to check out to learn the basics of quilting?

3.  Have any of you used scrapbooking dies to cut shapes for your quilts?

4.  If I am planning on making around 6 quilts over time, is it worth investing in a machine or should I just buy the materials and pay someone to sew them together and quilt for me?

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safrmaz replied on Sat, Mar 24 2012 6:01 PM

Welcome Kim :)  I'll try to answer your questions.  

You will need to set a price point on what you want to spend on a machine.  For quilting you would want needle up/down.  There is a lot of pivoting with piecing and it's a VERY nice feature.  Large throat space is also nice if you plan to machine quilt your quilts.  I would also  suggest trying out machines and look at their stitch quality.  Buy from a dealer who is conveniently located and who gives classes or one on one support in machine use.  Also, buy the best you can afford.  That may be a good used machine.  I own Bernina and Janome machines and am happy with both.

There are classes through Craftsy that you can sign up for.  Quite often they offer their classes at 50% off.  There is a basic quilting class taught by Jenny Doan.  Just go to the website and browse the classes.

I don't scrapbook so I can't help you there.

You may be bitten by the quilting bug and want to make other quilted items so investing in a machine is something you will have to decide.  Maybe used would be the way to go.

Good luck :)


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Nana replied on Sat, Mar 24 2012 6:05 PM


I started out with a Brother machine.  It didn't take but one quilt and I was addicted to quilting.   Now I do some form of quilting everyday.   I have upgraded machines to one Bernina and one Janome.   I can not imagine not quilting and I wanted machines that would stand up to the usuage.

I use to do some scrapbooking but have never tried using any of the srapbook tools for quilting

Vinton, Virginia

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Pat M. replied on Sat, Mar 24 2012 7:04 PM

Welcome, Kim--

If you are a paid member of QCA, there are lots of videos that will help you (plus  One place I like to find courses is  Great classes and as was said before you can find them on sale (I have never paid full price--I just wait until there is a half-price sale on the class I want).  You can use a Sizzix for applique and there might be geometric shapes as well (I just have some for applique).  If you go to you will find info on how to use a Sizzix  for quilts(I imagine that other cutter machines would work about the same).

Pat--"Keep Calm and Carry On"

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Thanks for the sizzix information.  I've got one with dozens of dies and never thought of trying to use it for fabric.  Oh my, this may be another can of worms I've just opened!  Welcome Kim.  I went on craigs list and found an Elna sewing machine with cabinet (with a motorized lift) for $60 or $70, I can't remember but the machine is fabulous, no needle up/down but for my budget it was a score.  I went to the sewing expo in lakeland a few weeks ago and used a fancy new husqvarna, I was probably able to get twice as much done with the special features the machine had but for me it's not about how fast I can get it done.  I try to enjoy the journey, not to say that if I won the lottery I wouldn't run right to the Bernina dealer and buy a dream machine, after all ...nothing sews like a Bernina! 


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ls2116 replied on Sat, Mar 24 2012 8:22 PM

whichever machine you choose,  i would make sure it's got enough space between the needle and what i call the neck for rolling area most home machines that are inexpensive give about a 9" space

and for me that wasn't big enough .  I have  a Brother P1500  it accomodates me adequately it has a wider throat.  have fun in your quilting journey.

Quilting My Rainbow

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Jeanine replied on Sat, Mar 24 2012 8:32 PM


4.  If I am planning on making around 6 quilts over time, is it worth investing in a machine or should I just buy the materials and pay someone to sew them together and quilt for me?

This is the first question you should answer for yourself before you worry about the rest.  Do you really want to quilt?  There are plenty of inexpensive machines that will be great for doing the piecing.  I would start there and see how you like it.  There are plenty of longarm quilter's around that would be glad to quilt them for you so I would just take it one step at a time.  Spend a couple hundred dollars on a reliable but basic machine and see how it goes.  I don't think any of us bought the best of the best with our first attempt.  I started on garage sale machines but once I bought my first new machine and realized what a difference a new machine made, I became hooked on quilting.  Buy good enough but not top of the line.  And then see where it goes.

QNTV is a good place to start with how-to videos.  Or just do a search on youtube and see what comes up.  There are a ton of tutorials for different techniques there.  Missouri Quilt Company does a lot of tutorials.  Join pinterest and see what other quilters are pinning to their boards.  Once you start looking, there is a ton of resources. 


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gini replied on Sat, Mar 24 2012 10:49 PM

hi kim, welcome to the group.   check with sewing machine dealers in your area for used machines.  and try out a few to get a feel for them.

there are a lot of good books on beginning quilting, check with your local library, they usually carry quite a few.

it will be difficult to find someone to sew your quilt together.  you would be better off finding someplace that  makes quilts, picking one you like and buying it already made.

what did you use to sew your curtains with, can you use that machine to get started.   do you have a friend or family member that would loan you their machine.

you could get started making a small table runner to see if you like the process,  you won't have a lot of money outlayed in fabric, it goes together quickly and is easy to quilt.

gini in north idaho

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Kris replied on Sun, Mar 25 2012 12:18 AM

Welcome Kim.

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Barbara replied on Sun, Mar 25 2012 6:30 AM

Kim, welcome to the club. Barbara



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Sukochi replied on Sun, Mar 25 2012 6:49 AM

Kim, I was looking at machines at Walmart yesterday, They have what appears to be a great machine for piecing and machine quilting for $199.00. I got a 60 stitch Brother when I started quilting. All I do on the machine is piece. Have used this machine for 5 years and have not had a bit of trouble with it. Not tried machine quilting, though there are lots of stitch patterns and feet for it.  My sister start out on a Brother from Walmart, too. She has upgraded to Janome then upgraded to another Janome. Not happy with the Brother for machine piecing. Lots to think about before you buy.

Welcome to the club. I know you will enjoy it here. I have a friend, Nan, who is interested in learning about scrapbooking. She will probably be welcoming you soon. I will let her know.



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Welcome.  You've been given some excellent advice already and I hope you do decide to give quilting a try.  I have a  feeling that once you do, that plan for "around 6 quilts over time" will greatly expand. LOL.  We're here to help all along the way, so just keep asking those great questions.


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Diana replied on Sun, Mar 25 2012 8:08 AM

Welcome Kim,   We all started with a first quilt so we know what it feels like.  I bought a Brother for my first machine and it worked well for a long time.  I was hooked.  I tie my quilts or have them long-arm quilted by someone else.  I knew I was staying with quilting so a few years later I bought a Bernina 1008.  It was what I could afford at the time.  It had lots of stitches but not many bells and whistles.  That was 11 years ago.  One year ago I was in Lancaster, PA and got a great deal on a new Bernina 440QE.  I absolutely love it and it has a lot more bells and whistles and I'm using a lot of them.  I'm going to be starting to do my first machine quilting on this machine.  It has a BSR  -  Stitch regulator - which means I can quilt and my stitches will have the same length because it has a laser point thingy and can see how fast or slow I'm moving the fabric.  Here's hoping how it goes.  So start small and slow.  Make placemats or table runner first.  See how you like the method.  If it goes well, start on a biggger project. Go to your local quilt shop and see if they have classes for beginners or some other organization.  I give lessons at our local senior center and it's open to anyone.  Good Luck and ask any question you need.  We love to spread the love of our hobby and craft to everyone who wants to join in.

Diana in East Tn.

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Dara replied on Sun, Mar 25 2012 9:13 AM

Welcome to the group Kim.  I agree with the others, start small and make sure it is something you really enjoy.  Once you know it is, then go for it!  Any sewing machine will work for basic piecing.  Get what you can afford.  The suggestions to check out your LQS are right on.  Most will have machines you can try out and offer classes. is also terrific.   Good luck.

    Mineral Wells, West Virginia

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Agnes replied on Sun, Mar 25 2012 9:57 AM

I will jump over the other questions on which you have been given excellent answers. As far as using dies for cutting fabric that have cut paper the answer is an astounding NO unless the dies are made of some fabulous new material that keeps its edge no matter what. There are two things that dull cutters immensely quickly, one is hair the other is Paper. I learned this as a small child. Mom's sewing scissors and Dad's barber scissors were totally out of bounds. I have a rotary cutter set up for fabric. When the blades no longer cut fabric well they work great with the second handle for paper but not the other way around.

Agnes in NW Ontario

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