How many of you are quilters? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Seeing how winter is approaching, I figured this was a good time to bring this topic up. I have just started learning how to quilt and I am totally hooked. I just finished my first quilt, an "Around the World" wall hanging, 4 x 4, and am now doing the finishing quilting on a table runner I am making for my mom. I have sewn all of my life and never thought I would want to "put all of those tiny pieces together" and was surprised to find that a lot of quilts are not done with sewing seams around tiny pieces but rather are done as strips or groups. I am really enjoying learning about quilting. I am only doing machine quilting at the moment but expect to do some applique and embroidery in future quilts. I've discovered that there is just not enough hours in the day to devote to this craft but I'm trying. I even take it on my vanpool when I commute to work if I am doing something that requires hand stitching. I am lucky to have found a new friend who introduced quilting to me and is being my teacher. She is very knowledgeable and is willing to share what she knows. We do a lot of our quilting at her house because she has a huge sewing room (she is single) and we can spread out all over the room to work. We are just having a ball. I would love to hear how many of you are also quilters and what kinds of quilts you have made and any secrets you may want to share such as where do you find the best fabric deals, etc.

-- Colleen (, October 02, 2000


Colleen: I have quilted for years and remember as a child playing under my grandmother's quilt frame. My grandmother was a quilter, my mother was a quilter, I am a quilter, and my 5 year old daughter goes to the quilt circle with me at our local church crawls up in a chair and starts quilting. Many times we take out the stitches after she is gone but she feels that she contributes. They are truly a legacy to the family. My daughter has three generations of quilts on both sides of her family. Her great grandmothers, the first quilt her grandmother made at 16 (she is now 84) and mine. She also has her greatgrandmother's on my side and my mother's (who is 70) What more could you ask for. My husband's cousin has the quilt her great-great grandmother made her great grandmother as a wedding gift. Have made quilts for all my children as they marry and have made three for my grand daughter. (crib quilts) If you want to do anything pass it on as this skill is surely dying in the younger generation. I peice my quilts on my grandmother's treadle sewing machine and hand quilt all my quilts. Have made pinwheel, nine patch, log cabin, grandmother's flower garden (2), split rail, hole in the barn door, butterfly applique, am presently working on a Lancaster Rose hand applique, Dresden Plate, and several sampler quilts. My next wil be an applique Iris quilt. Enjoy your craft and pass it on

-- sallyp (, October 02, 2000.

I've been a utility quilter for years but in the last year I joined a guild and am I ever learning a lot. It is very addictive and so is gathering a "stash". I've found good sales on 100% cotton at Wal- Mart. Sorry folks, but I like Wal-Mart. The last fabric I got was reproduction 1930's prints for $2.00 a yard- on sale. Can't beat that. My first "real" quilt was a Star of Bethlehem. Turned out great and gave me the incentive to learn more. Now I'm in the process of finishing a quilt my Grandmother started in the 40's. Have fun quilting!

-- Peg in WI (, October 02, 2000.

Walmart LIVES.....great place to buy cotton for quilting on SALE..I too just bought a bunch of material for $1/yard last week. I also buy old stuff at yard sales for patchwork scraps. Stick with cotton though...all of the other fabrics are really not suited to quilting in my opinion. I use old panty hose for small projects instead of batting.. and only do hand sewing/quilting...SOMETIMES I will use my treadle machine for quilting, but IT and I do not always get along! My quilts are not patterned or fancy, just patchwork, but I love them anyway. It is so much fun to play with the blocks and figure out where you want tp put everything..Enjoy and God bless.

-- Lesley (, October 02, 2000.

I have done some pillows for Christmas gifts and would love to do more. I love to see how the colors & patterns come together in the design. I do sew, but the thought of doing a full size quilt intimidates me!

-- Jean (, October 02, 2000.

I've made crib quilts, pillows, wall hangings and tree skirts; also "picnic" quilts. My Auntie June is a purist (hand everything)- I'm not. I've been working on a bow tie quilt forever, using small floral prints that I get from old clotjing at the Sr. Citizen thrift shop. Current project is lap robes for Ma-in-law, Sis-in-law and Niece for Christmas. Will piece the tops in largish blocks - star for Ma, diamond for Sis and Tumbling blocks for Niece - then I'm going to (sacrilege!) tie them. Plan to backthem with fleece material for warmth and just can't see trying to quilt through that; plus time is of the essence. I have quilt blocks that my Granny and Mama cut out that I will piece together someday - maybe for a grandbaby. I inherited Mama's fabric when she passed away and when added to my own, it comes up to +20 bushel apple boxes full. Forget heroin - give me fabric!! I'm not sure which is cheaper!

-- Polly (, October 02, 2000.

I love quilting. It is something that has been handed down for generations in my family. I love handmade quilts, when I cover up with them, I can feel the love of the person that made them. I am very proud of my quilts made by my mother and grandmother and some day I hope my daughter is proud of the quilts that my mother and I have made for her.

-- Kellie Duncan (, October 02, 2000.

I've done a little quilting, have one quilt on the frame that I haven't touched for a while -- I need someone to quilt with! It's BORING to sit there and work away on that thing day after day by myself!! Maybe when we get moved I will look for a quilters group and go to their meetings -- I really think that would help. (Actually, I like the sewing part, it's the quilting that I found tedious.) But I do have a comment about fabrics. The first quilt I made, I used pieces from garments as well as leftover new material -- the used material wore out long before the new stuff, and I was left with holes in my quilt! So, as the Bible says, don't combine used and new materials!!

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, October 02, 2000.

I consider myself more of a "piecer" than a "quilter" -- I am far more likely to do the piecing than actually quilt the thing. I did make a hand-quilted jacket many years ago, and I made a quilt that was machine pieced and quilted, also many years ago. One Christmas, I made a reversible pieced (both sides, different patterns and colors) duvet cover for my mom.

What I'd REALLY like to do is plan the top, and choose the fabrics, and have someone else put it together!

-- Joy Froelich (, October 02, 2000.

Hi Colleen, I just made mu first quilt last winter I had always wanted to quilt but could never find someone to teach me. I sold a puppy to a expert quilter and she came to my house and tought me. She is a super lady and has beautiful quilts. My quilt was made just from scraps without any pattern. but I like it and I dont use a quiling frame. I found a really great way to get cotton material. I buy cotton sheets from goodwill or any used place I have made a lot off nice things that way it beats even walmart prices.

-- Lisa Hopple (, October 02, 2000.

I'm just tinkering with it, put together some quilt squares my late mother in law made for my hubby many years ago, and am planning some gift projects, small ones, if I can get them done. My aunt, who lives in Salt Lake City, made a BEAUTIFUL quilt, all hand quilted, for the centennial of her state, then decided she just couldn't part with it, and kept it. Her daughter will get that gem. She put all types of embroidered designs on it, all having to do with the state-- it's products, wildlife, scenery, etc. I convinced her to send a picture of it to Good Housekeeping Magazine, for a contest, and they told her it was a comforter, not a quilt! Too thick to be considered a quilt, they said. Took her a long time to complete, and it is just gorgeous. Someday....when time allows :) Jan

-- Jan in Colorado (, October 02, 2000.

My first quilt was made when I was about 10. My Great-grandma gave me some of her old aprons and dress's to use . It's just doll size, but I still have it. I found at a yard sale this summer, a box full of old mink jackets for $3.00. I finally got them all tore apart . Now I'm planning on putting them together for a full size quilt. Can't wait to see how it turns out. (I LOVE mink!)

-- sherry (, October 02, 2000.

Well then, I suppose that I'm the only failure at quilting here then! LOL! I've honestly tried, but can't seem to get the hand stitching part down, and my sewing machine is a joke. I'm more of a knitter and counted cross stitch person. Can anyone feasibly describe how to hand quilt? I'm at such a loss and my mother sure is no help. She has a hard time hemming up the skirts she buys. My mother's famiy on the other hand is Mennonite and quilted regularly, but most of them have passed now and the rest of them are hours away. Any help would be much appreciated!!

-- Misha (, October 03, 2000.

I LOVE to quilt! I taught myself several years ago, Fons & Porter book. My first utility quilt I made for our youngest son, now 17, the Shoo-Fly pattern, he picked it out. I make & sell (sometimes) small wall hangings, etc. I'm currently working on 2 quilts for the granddaughters, the pieced one in the frame is based on Sunbonnet Sue, the other I'm appliquing 'posies'. My daughter & I just finished gathering material for her & her hubby's quilt, which I'll start on soon, and I'm still buying material for our quilt, hubby & I don't have one yet because I've been busy doing one for everyone else! LOL Colleen, most important and I can read it in your words, have fun with it. You have been blessed to have a friend to help guide you. God bless.

-- Phyllis (, October 03, 2000.

I do piecework but my hand stitching so awful that when it comes to doing a quilt I tie my layers with yarn rather than hand stich. The scrappier the better is my motto and I do crazy style pieced hats etc. Even did one for a dear lady in Tennessee. I have done a log cabin baby quilt for my grand niece and I did a pinwheel nased one for my oldest son when he was born. Son number two is still waiting for his baby quilt so i guess it will be a twin sized. I like old blankets for batting layer..they are cozy and its fairly thrifty use stuff you have or can get cheap at a thrift shop than buy new. Plus I find that fuzzy batting hard to manage. My husbands dad give me fabric samples from his business to work with so i just buy muslin for foundations and linings and sheets and blankets for backings and battings. I love quilts in home decor. Makes a house look cozy and covers ugly furniture sometimes.

-- Alison in NS (, October 03, 2000.

Has anyone noticed the wonderful flannel that is being used for backings? It's just gorgeous, softer and thicker than the usual stuff. One of these days I'm going to try that. And don't forget to put your signature label on the back of your quilts for posterity. Name, date, and maybe even who it was made for.

Joy, there are lots of places you can send your quilt top to for assembly and machine quilting. Just look on the web for machine quilters. There's a huge list by state. I can't help with hand quilting, an arthritic thumb prevents me from even trying. I do it all on my machine.

-- Peg (NW WI) (, October 03, 2000.

I decided when I moved here that since we didn't have TV and so many of the women here quilt, I would learn how. A quilt guild was just started and I attended a meeting last week. I am surrounded by some of the best quilters. And they are all willing to helo me learn. I first made a white on white for my grandson. It is a rabbit eating a carrot with carrots as the border. My daughter uses it as a wall hanging. I just finished a quilt for my new grandson. Once more, I didn't do any piecing, just found great material called Vintage Kids with old Dick and Jane pictures. Then I quilted around the scenes and some of the detail. I have made alot of comforters that I did simple piecing and tied off. Now I'm ready to piece and quilt. So I purchased some special material with kitties for my granddaughter. I have found that I prefer all cotton material with cotton batting because it looks really neat and old. I also prefer all natural material. If I'm going to that much trouble, I want it to look just right and not cause any allergic reactions. I have alot of quilts from my mother and grandmothers. I even have one my great- grandmother did from old clothes and I have two feather pillows my grandmother made from her mother's old feather bed. The are completly unuseable but, it's neat to have them. I also made a wall hanging for my brother. I scanned old pictures of the farm, from when we were kids, into the computer. Then I printed them onto special transfer paper which I then ironed onto tea dyed muslin. Then I pieced together a wall hanging and quilted it. It looks great. I need to do another for my other brother and for myself. It is very addicting.

-- Cheryl Cox (, October 03, 2000.

I like to quilt too. Usually I have at least 3 or 4 in various stages of progress. If I get burned out or tired of one, I can work on a different one for a while. Right now we're making three overall sam quilts, one for each little boy in the house, a hand pieced, hand quilted honeybee quilt( this one is almost done!), a pattern called hidden circles, kind of like an indian wedding ring, still hand piecing this one, and one with interlocking autumn leaves. That one is for my midwife, it is machine pieced but will be hand quilted. Fabric is expensive, and it's so hard not to buy a lot of it! I try to find nice scraps at the thrift store, and to buy mostly 1/8 yard cuts at the fabric stores, if they will let you. That way you can get a little of everything you like! I like Ben Franklin's, they have fabric sales going all the time,and the quality of the fabric is good. I don't like to use sheets unless I am sure that I will not be hand quilting the piece. Sheets tend to have a very high thread count that is hard to hand quilt through.I use old blankets and such for utilty type quilts, for where they will be getting hard use, but I don't want to hand quilt those, either. I tried quilting through flannel once and it was very hard to make small stitches,it does make a nice warm comforter though. I have heard that Walmart buys test run fabric and sells this. From what I heard, these are fabrics that were used to test a print. They are printed on cheap, low count fabric first, and then if the print works out nicely, they print it out again using high quality fabric, for what you will buy in the fabric store. Supposedly the test run fabric wears out sooner, it is starched to look nice and crisp but changes after washing.The prints are the smae as in the fabric store, so it's natural to walk into Walmart and say,"hey, didn't I see that same print for 7.99 at Fabric World? Here it's only 1.99!" I would like to know if anyone have used and washed the walmart fabric and how it has held up. When I look at the Walmart fabric that I've bought, it does seem to have a coarser weave than the other store's. I would like to know whether or not this is just a nasty rumor to discredit Walmart! about hand quilting, all I can say is to start on a quilt where it won't matter if your stitching is not heirloom quality, and be patient with yourself! With time and experience, your stitiches will get smaller and neater. Nobody starts out with perfect, tiny stitches.

-- Rebekah (, October 03, 2000.

You will find as time goes on you will have more than one going at a time .My 11 year old keeps asking when will his be done ? Answer it's a wedding present ! I love all flannel quilts , use sheets for backing its much cheaper.

-- Patty Gamble (, October 03, 2000.


Just have fun with it! I had a wonderful teacher but everything had to be perfect with her! She only hand quilts and she will rip apart her work and start over if there is an error. I quilt because I enjoy it! So what if I make a mistake! So what someone else would not use the materials I picked! Have fun, Have fun, have fun!

-- Tractor Equipment (, October 03, 2000.

I love quilting too. It's very relaxing and peaceful. For the person who said it's boring - try putting a book-on-tape on. You should be able to get all sorts through your library. And for the person who wants to learn how - get a book if you can learn that way, or a teacher if that's what you need. But the part that you can't learn is to be patient and accept you work. It takes time.

-- Deborah (, October 03, 2000.

Misha, here is a neat way to do hand quilting that actually helps you to feel as if you are getting some where. Take your block (top piece) and cut out batting and backing to match the size of the block. Now outline your stitching on the block. Take your thread and start your stitching by taking the batting and placing it under your block. Now pull the thread through the bottom of the batting and through the top of the block. Take No Stitches! Then place the backing on the bottom and place the entire block in your embrodery hoop. Now you can do the hand quilting and when you come to the end of the thread or stitching area just tie it off in the middle of the sandwich of block, batting and backing. To finish the quilt, just sew the tops together in a strip, then go back and sew the backs. Soon you will have the quilt of your choice. My mother always told me, as her grandmother told her, it doesn't matter how big your stitches are, they need to be even. My mother has been aquised of machine quilting her quilts, and had to show the needle still in the back to prove that it wasn't!

Now as for my quilts, they are tied for the most part simply because I have so much to do. I also love scrap utility quilts. Crazy quilts are the way to go! This is the only way I'm going to get all seven of the twin quilts I need to make for christmas done this year. And with the way winter seems to be shaping up this year, I really need to get them done. I'm also stitching a picnic blanket using old denim cut from blue jeans. Simply cut up the jeans and zigzag stitch them to a sheet, muslin, or blanket. When both sides are covered, it will be a very sturdy, and heavy blanket.


-- annette (, October 03, 2000.

Has anyone tried patchwork in knits from old sweaters? I saw and afghan fone this way in a magazine and it was intriguing. I love my crazy work. I don't bother with a batting for most of it since the bulk is not desired (hats etc). I am working on a table runner lately. I just wish i had some fancy stitching talent so i could jazz them up a bit. The plus side of tying a quilt is that you can take it apart easier to make it bigger. Soon my first borns quilt will need to become a twin or double so I will just undo the yarn ties, take out the side seams and start adding borders or something to the quilt top. the baby is still waiting for his and I have been slowly collecting red, off-white, and navy prints for his. So far I think I have 4 or six nine patch blocks made for it. What I will do for the rest is still up in the air. Thats alwyas the hard part for me..what to do what to many patterns so little time.

-- Alison in NS (, October 03, 2000.

Sally, Your answer brought tears to my eyes it reminded me of my own child hood there was rarely a family gathering where someone wasn't bringing out her latest creation to show the relitives. I have put off taking up the craft because it consumes so much time and takes up so much space my mom had a room just for sewing with a childs playpen full of small scraps ( the ones that couldnt be folded) in the corner when she couldnt find the right peice she would dig through the scrap pen and usually come up with the suitable fabric for a project. I think its time for me to take a quilting class. Thanks for the wonderful memories. Ronda in wa.

-- ronda (, October 03, 2000.

Wow this is a long thread! Pun intended. I love piecing & quilting by hand & machine. Don't have enough time to devote to it tho! This weekend I worked on paper foundation piecing which I had never tried before, it is fun! I belong to 'Project Linus' a charitable organization that makes & distributes quilts to seriously ill or terminal babies & children up to the age of 18. Does your heart good to put a smile on those little faces. Here is the website if anyone would like to check it out.

-- Jane Gauch (, October 03, 2000.

Just a word about material, a low thread count material may be easier to work with but a high thread count will last much much longer. I like the way a high thread count looks and fells it is by far a better material. Bought new it is very exspencive, I buy mine as used sheets. If you have a hard time quilting it try a smaller needle.

-- Lisa Hopple (, October 03, 2000.

I started out by making TV quilts for each of my kids. I usually designed them myself and they're not half bad as far as the design goes. My hand quilting left room for much improvement. Now I've got two big ones under my belt (a drunkard's path and another self- design) and my stitching has greatly improved. I took careful note at the state fair and brought home all kinds of good ideas and inspiration. I like to look for old cotton shirts at thrift shops for unique vintage-looking fabrics. Since I favor scrappy patch- work, using old fabrics is fine for me. The fabric in the quilt shops and quilt magazines is gorgeous, but sooooo expensive - I have to really want it badly to pay that much. I also like to put in audio tapes to while away the time - or watch a movie that's really familiar (Pride and Prejudice) so I don't have to look up except at the good parts. And don't get in a rush to get finished. It's like nursing a baby - forced relaxation in little spurts. Enjoy and good luck with your projects.

-- glynnis in KY (, October 04, 2000.


I am fairly new to the quilting world, it's been four years now. I know one thing that I learned is that your machine can make or break your creativity. I had some old hand me downs and never really enjoyed quilting to the fullest untill I got my Bernina...not that brand name is so important but just that the machine can handle the work load.

I am not a traditional quilter but rather enjoy using the African American style to quilting. I let it be fun, I do not measure very often and I let the fabric tell me what it wants. I know it may sound silly but try it sometime. Just throw all the rules out the door and sew what makes your heart happy.

I wish you all the joy quilting can offer.


-- Suzanne Wilson (, October 04, 2000.

My friend just gave me a cross stitch that reads "the one with the most material when she dies, wins"===we both have a weakness for material! ha--I'm one who likes to get things done fast--so I'm happier when I do wall hangings, baby quilts,place mats, etc. as I can start & finish them sooner. I guess I lack patience!! I like to start something & not quit until I get finished--so since life goes on--I have to do projects that don't take me as long to finish! I'm looking forward to doing more quilting/ as I think I'll have more time when we sell our inventory & warehouse. Sonda in Ks.

-- Sonda (, October 04, 2000.

I am currently inspired by the scenery around me..maple leaves in all colors and hues! oh its spectacular against the dark dark green of the I have been dreaming up a quilt in my head of dark dark green background with red, gold, orange, burgandy maple leaves. I am quite excited and will soon start the fabric hunt! Wish me luck.

-- Alison in NS (, October 05, 2000.

Wow, I expected some response to this posting but had no idea there would be this many. I'm glad to see there are so many of you who also enjoy this wonderful art. As so many of you stated, it is most important to just have fun quilting and I definitely agree. I don't put pressure on myself at all and do it for the sheer enjoyment. I'm lucky in that I have a friend to quilt with which makes it that much more enjoyable. It is easy to see why our ancestors had quilting bees. Quilting can be a social event. Alison, I too, have a fall leaf quilt in my head that I want to make but I haven't gotten to the point where I see it completely. I just know it has to have the beautiful fall leaves. Fall is my favorite season, of course the fact that my birthday is October 9th may contribute to that as well , and a fall-leaf quilt is definitely calling to me. If you have a digital camera or a scanner I would love to see a picture of it when you are done. It was such fun to read all of your comments about how you get fabrics to make your quilts and to see the variety of interests you have in the types of quilts you like to make. Since I am just a beginner, I feel like the starving man in front of a smorgasbord, my ideas are much greater than my ability to produce, but that just makes it that much more fun to figure out just which one to settle on and of course that is also dictated by the fabrics I find. I think it is wonderful that this art has not been lost and that so many people today are taking it up. The history of quiltmaking and the trials women went through to make them is so interesting. I also am intriqued my how you can determine the age of a quilt by the farics that were used. It is truly an amazing craft.

-- Colleen (, October 05, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ