Saturday, October 29, 2011

How to quilt ...

In the midst of quilting
Several weeks ago, I had a comment on a post that intrigued me ...

"interesting to see that you quilt from one edge to the other and not from the centre out"

The reason it intrigued me ... was that it had never occurred to me to quilt from the center out ...

I typically quilt down the length of the quilt in middle ... but from one end to the other.  As I paused to consider why I do it that way I don't have an answer.

As much as I LOVE the fact that in just two short years I have taught myself how to quilt ... and that I've made a few that I'm actually quite proud of ... I also realize sometimes that self-taught can have some limitations.

A couple of weeks ago Amy at Diary of a Quilter had a great post on the use of a 'scant 1/4 inch' that I tried on the Scattered Blocks quilt and it definitely made it SO much easier.  Turns out Amy had taken a class ... yup ... Amy the amazing quilter had taken a class ... where she learned this trick.

So now I wonder what else I might have missed in the this self-taught journey.  Does anyone have any thoughts on what types of classes might be beneficial at this stage?  What has been your best learning experience as a quilter ... self taught or in a class?

Hope you're having a great weekend.

All the best


  1. I am also self taught....and a relative new by too. But....I also quilt from one side and work my way across the quilt. Usually because I am often quite close to the edge of the backing, so I start there. Maybe a class would be a good idea :)

  2. I think the 'start in the middle' comes from handquilting. Handquilters start in the middle and work out gradually. I machine quilt starting center with SITD to block out and then work the blocks. But with a meander or pattern I go edge to edge - domestic machine - just like you would on a longarm.

  3. I think part of the reasoning behind quilting from the center of the quilt to the edges is because you can only get so much quilt in the throat of the machine. I know that's why I did it before I got a frame! My domestic wasn't large enough to hold the whole of the quilt so I couldn't work from edge to edge. And working from one edge to the center, then the other edge to the center, you run the risk of ending up with a bubble in the middle.

    I've learned so much from reading blogs in the past two years that a class might help, but it would have to be a really good one!!

  4. I'm self taught too and once in a while I learn something so basic I wonder how much else I don't know. I haven't found a class around my home but if there was one I'd definitely sign up.

  5. I love your quilts. :) I see you are still using the 1199, and I bet it works as well as any modern machine. Keep up the great designs. I too am learning.

  6. I've never taken any classes but have learned so much from quilting books. Whenever I find a book with different or interesting method I buy it. I love learning something new.

    I love your quilt.

  7. Since the mid 1980s, I've taken lots of classes, most of them at the quilt shows in Paducah and Houston. There's a lot to be said for taking classes. You don't end up re-inventing the wheel. I love that someone else has figured out a great way to do something. And it's synergistic, too--I've combined things I learned in two or three classes to get something new. I've just started blogging, and it's FUN.

  8. I also had problems with the seam allowance. I used the edge of my presser foot and the stitch of my machine that promised a 1/4 inch seam allowance because it is for quilting. Bad mistake. A while ago I found (online) a way to test the seam allowance (take three strips of 1 1/2 inch, sew them together and press seams to the outer side; the middle strip should measure 1 inch or the whole part should measure 3 1/2 inch) and I learned that I had to adjust the needle position two times to the right. I was frustrated and bought a 1/4 inch presser foot with edge. I thought that I now have the right seam allowance. Idiotically I didn't do the test again. Now I have a Swoon block that doesn't measure 24 1/2 inch but 23 3/4 inch. So then (!) I did the test again and learned I had to adjust the needle position the same way. I was angry because I payed a bit for the 1/4 inch foot and it wasn't perfect.
    So you see: self taught is something like try and error and finding it out by myself or reading a lot of quilt blogs. I didn't take a class as it seems that they don't offer it around here. In one year quilting I learned a lot (!) but I think it's just the tip of an iceberg...
    I like to see how you quilt as I didn't do a quilt larger then toddler size and am a little frightened because I think I am not able to move a larger one through the throat of the machine. I think I will just have to jump in and do it, otherwise I will never know whether I am able or not, and just have to learn (again).


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