I want to quilt????????????????

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Hello everyone. I love this forum. I am a wanna be homesteader. And just love to read about different things. Here is my question. I want to hand stitch a quilt. Do I just cut my squares and place them front to front and sew? How do I keep it straight. I am not so worried about the middle and back I have made a few blankets and understand that part, I am just wondering about the patches. I am not going to do a pattern just squares from the kids old clothes and matteral I have here. I am worried about the blanket kinda being lopsided. Any advice I NEED!!! Thanks to you all. Love Jennifer

-- Jennifer (jfisher4midsouth@rr.com), May 03, 2002


Well, I guess the best advice I can give you is twofold: cut all the squares *exactly* the same size, and make all your seams *exactly* the same width. This will keep your quilt even, as small differences over the amount of patches and seams can add up to quite a bit. If working with stretchy bias seams is a problem for you, you might want to make sure all your patches are cut on the straight grain of the fabric (lengthwise and widthwise threads are at right angles to the cut sides of the patches).

I like working in "twosies" and "foursies" (to quote Mary Ellen Hopkins, a wonderful quilter and author): sew patches together in pairs (right sides together), then pair the pairs to makes fours, and so on.

Have a good time!

-- Marcia in MT (marciabundi@myexcel.com), May 03, 2002.

Howdy Jen, I tried to e-mail you but am afraid that I lost your e- mail address when my computer crashed. If you need any help just let me know. Otherwise I would make sure that you cut the squares exactly. Cutting precisely is the key. I would use the lid of an old coffee can or something that you can make a pattern from. Keep the corners perfectly squared. Decide what size square you want and then go for it. Then make sure that you use the same seam allowances to sew them all together. I would use 1/2 inch seam allowances if you are using old clothing and 1/4 if you are using new material. Don't use both, just pick one and go for it. Anyway....let me know if you have any trouble and I will be glad to "type" you through it! God Bless! OH...you probably already know this, but you sew them together with right sides together.

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), May 03, 2002.

A good reference is the World Wide Quilting Page at www.quilt.com. You should be able to find answers to any questions you may have there. Good luck and have fun!

-- Sarah K. (ladynuala@hotmail.com), May 03, 2002.

Oops! Guess that good advice bears repeating! Suppose that we posted at the same time. Great minds and all. SHhhhhh...don't tell the hubby that I said great minds and all or he will get a chuckle out of that!

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), May 03, 2002.

One of the best first time quilts to make is one out of denim squares. You cut 4 - 6 inch squares out of old blue jeans, sew then together with the wrong sides together. After it is completed, you wash it and the seams fray and it looks so cool! The frayed side is the right side and the wrong side is smooth...no backing necesary, but I put some great red flannel on mine. This is so easy it's scary! Happy sewing!

-- Harmony (harmonyfarm57@hotmail.com), May 03, 2002.

Jennifer, Me too! I have always wanted to do a quilt. I crochet like a champ, but I had a "life-changing" experience in sewing class in high school, ( Got an F for making two left sides for my blouse ), and just never found the patience to learn after that. ( Laughing at the memories).

Anyway, Jennifer, I have a nice little book in my library, called "Quilting for Beginners" by Agnes Frank. It makes quilting look so simple, that one of these days in my dotage, I always thought I'd get around to making "my" quilt.

If you would like to borrow it, I'd loan it to you to get you started.


-- Judy (JMcFerrin@aol.com), May 03, 2002.

Try to find a book that explains "strip" quilting. This makes cutting and stitching pieces much faster, especially if you do it on the sewing machine. One good book is called Quilts! Quilts! Quilts! but I can't think of the author. Start with a simple pattern, like a log cabin.

-- Christina (introibo2000@yahoo.com), May 03, 2002.

What I did when I first started hand piecing was to mark, with a pencil, a line 1/4 " from the edge of the square, and keep the edges lined up or pin the two squares. I used a single row from 1/4 " graph paper. After a while I no longer had to mark the line ands sew right on it, I could gauge an exact 1/4", from having done it so many times.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), May 03, 2002.

What about crazy quilting as a first project? That's where I'm at, and it seems like it could be a wonderful creative outlet. But... lopsided doesn't bother me all that much, either! Good luck with your quilting.

-- witness (kaitomas@hotmail.com), May 03, 2002.

If you're going to hand-piece the quilt top AND if you're not going to be using a rotary cutter (in other words, you're going to be cutting by hand), I'd consider using a template. The idea is that you trace around the template being very, very careful. When you cut out the shape you've traced on the fabric, you don't have to be careful at all about the seam allowance--just try to keep it kind of even. {grin}

When sewing, you'll line up the markings of the template on each piece and if your template markings are even, you'll be fine. (You mark on the wrong side of the fabric, so when you're sewing right sides together, you'll see the template tracings on the outside, allowing you to line up lines from the two fabrics using pins.)

This technique is sometimes easier for a hand-sewer who is using scissors instead of a rotary cutter because it's often easier to trace accurately than it is to cut accurately with scissors. This technique STINKS if you're sewing with a machine. Likewise, if you're using a rotary cutter, it's easier to cut each piece identially than it is to trace.

-- Julie in NC (jwoessner@rtmx.net), May 03, 2002.

Everyone's given you great advise but I'll still add my .02. Since you're starting with just squares a good way to do it would be to sew your squares into strips and when you add the next row offset it by half a block then you don't have to worry about matching seams and if the blocks are not exact it won't be noticable. Have fun-and like everyone else, any questions just ask and I'll help if I can.

-- Terri in WV (mrs_swift_26547@yahoo.com), May 03, 2002.

I like the world wide quilting page-its got great stuff for beginners. You might want to check with your county extention agent, often they sponser quilt groups, or can tell you where one is. Don't be shy about going-quilters LOVE beginners and most are very happy to teach thier beloved craft to someone else. The most important thing, I think is have fun and don't worry-so what if its a little lopsided? Your first effort probably will be (we won't talk about MY first effort) but if you are using scraps, so what? your not out any money or anything and you will get better. I'd make the squares as big as you can-less seams, but be sure not to use the worn parts, like knees as your quilt might fall apart before your through!

-- Kelly (homearts2002@yahoo.com), May 03, 2002.

I always wanted to make a quilt also, but I couldn't cut all those squares exactly. I was just using a template and scissors. So I made one (actually several now, all completely scrap quilts) by using the method that Terri from WV recommended. Only I used rectangles instead of squares. It is called a "postcard" quilt. In the early days they traced around a postcard and sewed them together with 1/4" seams. Just like Terri said...invision it like a brick wall. Just sew together the short ends of the bricks into a long strip, and then make more and more strips, and then sew the strips together to build your walls. To get the effect, remember that on the end of every other strip it must be a half brick. I hope this makes sense. Why I am writing this at 11:30 pm I'll never know! This method makes wonderful quilts, really, and you can't mess them up!!! Gertie

-- Gertie (hirefams@mhtc.net), May 03, 2002.

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