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  1. #1
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    advice/online resources for 1st time quilter?

    So, in my usual haphazard manner, on Saturday I threw myself spontaneously and randomly into a craft about which I know absolutely nothing: Quilting. I had two bags of clothes I was planning to take to Goodwill, my boyfriend had some more bags ... and as I looked them over I thought, "I bet there are enough pieces of similarly-weighted woven cotton in here to make a quilt since we've been needing a new bedspread anyway."

    So -- I cut them all into pieces and machine-sewed them together, and I have to say I'm happy with the result so far. I used pieces that were as large as possible, and I decided from the outset that I wanted to have a very handmade, very unprofessional, very haphazard aesthetic so that I could make my utter lack of knowledge and experience look deliberate. So far the technique worked. It's mostly discarded (frayed) dress shirts in blues and whites, so it even looks color-coordinated.

    What I know absolutely nothing about is what to do next. Are there any resources online that could teach me about the process of using batting and sewing backing to my quilt? Any words of advice? Any places I could learn about simple, haphazard ways of finishing the edges?

    I might forego the batting entirely (I live in California, so I don't really need a super-warm quilt), but I'd still like to weigh up my options. I was also thinking that for the backing it would be easy to use a flannel sheet in a fun pattern -- anyone see any problems/drawbacks to this?

    Any info is appreciated!

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  3. #2
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    Warm and Natural! use that for the batting, it is thin but also warm in cooler temps.

    There are different ways to finish quilts.

    For the edges go here.

    For "hand-quilting" go here
    or for tying off a quilt go here.

    fwew! that's a lot of info!

    good luck!, but most of all have fun!

  4. #3
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    someone's talking about QUILTING *pantpantpant*--here I am--!!! uh. sorry.

    Your top sounds great. I learned to quilt out of books (public library always has a lot of basic quilting books), so I don't know the best sites, but BH&G has some stuff here: http://ww4.bhg.com/bhg/category.jhtml?catref=cat40013

    I just wrote something incredibly long and detailed and decided it was too much info. Here's the short version of what I suggest:

    I'd suggest tying your quilt (BHG has a section on that) instead of quilting the layers together. It's faster, easier, and would be less frustrating than trying to learn to hand- or machine-quilt for the first time on a bed-sized project. Plus, I think it has a casual, old-fashioned look that would work well with the way I'm imagining your top.

    (I meant I'm imagining your quilt top, not "your top" as in "your boobs"....uh....anyway.)

    PLUS, I think this would work with any kind of backing fabric you use. Many sources say not to use sheets for backings, as the tighter weave of sheeting fabric can be hard to quilt through (though flannel has a looser weave, I think, and might be perfect). I think tying would work with sheets or anything just fine.

    Just putting top & backing together without batt sounds great, if you aren't concerned with warmth. It will save you the money of buying the batt, and means you'll have fewer layers to baste & tie. I've also heard of using polar fleece as the backing (sans a batt), so you could try that if you want something warmer.

    I haven't tried this, but here's a technique that might work for you. You can put the top and backing together, wrong sides out, and sew along the edges (like making an envelope). Leave an unstitched section big enough to turn the whole thing inside out, and voila...the edges are put together, and you don't have to worry about putting on binding. Then you can do the tying (or quilting); you might want to baste it with thread or safety pins first.

    [edited to add that I think this is the "quick turn" technique for edges that sewing stars gave the great link to.]

    I'm sure there are some more detailed sites; I'll have to hunt around.

    It sounds like a great project--have fun!

  5. #4
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    Awesome! Thanks so much to both of you for the info! (I really like this quick-turning method, and I like the way tied quilts look, so I think I might do that.)

    I forgot to mention in my original post that I'd LOVE recommendations on good how-to books for new quilters. I had so much fun with the first part of this project on Saturday, and am really excited about the next phase ... AND I already feel the "new-craft-addiction" coming on, so I'm pretty sure this won't be my last quilt. So for my next quilt it will probably be worth the time & effort to spend some time researching/reading up/learning more about the craft, and since a class is probably not feasible for me right now I'd love book recommendations.

    Keep 'em coming, y'all -- I really appreciate this!!

    (I'm thinking that my next project will be a quilt out of all the old blue jeans we were going to donate, but it's made my boyfriend a little bit worried. Yesterday he caught me checking out the blue jeans he was WEARING and he said, "Oh my god, I know that crafter's gleam in your eye. You want to quilt the clothes off my back now, don't you?" And of course, I couldn't deny it ...)

  6. #5
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    xuli, i have a really good quilting book i can bring to the next SnB for you. i'd be happy to loan it to you for a couple of months (but it was a gift, and i am planning on quilting some next year, so i do need it back).

    i also recommend checking out the gee's bend exhibit from the whitney, and denyse schmidt's quilts, for a modern take.

    Gee's Bend
    http://www.npr.org/display_pages/fea...re_970364.html

    Denyse Schmidt
    http://www.dsquilts.com/

  7. #6
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    Thanks so much, Athos -- I just PM'd you about the book.

    And those links were *amazing* ... I just spent way too much time drooling over the Denyse Schmidt site! It's good to be inspired to one day attain that level of skill ...

  8. #7
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    I also like these guys' designs:

    http://www.funquilts.com/

    click on "quilt gallery" to look at the images.

    I'll have to go take a look at my book collection and see what was most helpful to me at first, but I'd suggest just sitting down either at the bookstore or library and looking at several books--they are all a little different, and individual tastes will vary. There's one called "The Quilter's Visual Guide" (I think) which is helpful for having lots of photos.

    Quilting is VERY addictive, but it's loads of fun. I have a quilt-in-progress in my office and work on it every day during my lunch hour. So even though I work mostly by hand (and very slowly), it still gets done if I do a little on a regular basis.

  9. #8
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    go see this lady's stuff too:

    http://www.dsquilts.com/


 

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