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11  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: New sewer: I took the plunge!! on: September 04, 2007 04:35:37 PM
If anyone out there is looking to find a great older machine, all you have to do is go yard sailing, and be persistent.

My favorite machine I found sitting by the side of the street on appliance disposal day.  Best investment that you can make is a bottle of sewing machine oil and a screwdriver. 

Wife paid decent money for her machine, it is computerized and does nifty things, but all I need mine to do is go forward and back, so it works perfect for me.
12  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: how do I keep quilt block edges from unraveling? on: August 17, 2007 07:24:37 PM
If you are worried about stray threads that poke up through your quilt top, a good starching will take care of that.  It should keep the edges from raveling while you are working with them.  Starch also helps keep your cuts neat and your seams straighter.

Starch may not be the cure all that I think it is, but I find that it works wonders for me.
13  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Labels on: August 16, 2007 04:01:29 PM
I think the easiest way to get some labels would be to get in touch with someone who owns an embroidery machine and have them do some up for you, work out some sort of exchange.

You could probably fit about a dozen good sized labels on a single letter sized piece of fabric.  Shipping on a single sheet may even be less than a buck depending on the thickness of the fabric.

I am sure that if you posted here on the forums you could find someone more than willing to swap some embroidery for fabric or perhaps some small completed quilt product.
14  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Help - I'm making a baby quilt but have no idea about children! on: August 16, 2007 03:42:54 PM
1. Kids are messy, so use bigger seam allowances than you normally would to better stand up to frequent washings.  You might also want to consider doing a lock stitch, that thing where it stitches twice in one spot for added strength.

2. Kids are messy, stains are a part of life as a rug-rat, so don't worry about it, the blanket will get stained no matter what.

3. Kids are superheros, as they get older they will use their blanket to capture villains, protect themselves from imaginary attacks and monsters.  It is going to take a lot of wear if it is really loved by the child.

4. Little kids like different textures to stuff into their mouths, don't be afraid to use different fabrics to make it more interesting for them.  You might want to consider having some tags coming off the quilt as part of the appliqu, just make sure that they are sewed down solidly.

5. Love is blind.  You can give the little monkey what you think is the ugliest quilt in the whole world, but to them, it is their whole world.  Their opinion, not yours is what matters here.  Make a quilt for them, not for you.

-As for the overheating thing, in my experience babies like to be warm most of the time, when they don't, they let you know.
15  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: HELP! What do I do with this quilt piece I found? on: August 16, 2007 03:26:27 PM
Does anyone else see these as a great basis for a convergence quilt?
16  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: sewing STRAIGHT on: August 16, 2007 03:24:22 PM
Try sewing faster.

I know that this may seem counter productive, but it may help.  When you are trying to be careful and go slowly, it is easy for your stitching to wander all over the place.

Grab some scrap pieces and put your foot down.  Pedal to the metal as it were (Why are there so few car related sewing metaphors on the forums?).

All joking aside, going faster will sew a longer (read: straighter) line before, you as the operator, causes a change in the feed of the fabric, resulting in a curved seam.  This, along with all the other great advice on this thread already, will really help you become a great quilter.   

17  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Old Wine Corks on: August 16, 2007 03:23:23 PM
A great source of wine corks is your local Olive Garden, you just need to ask the bartender to save some for you.  Wait a week and then return.  Presto!   A foil lined breadstick bag full of wine corks.  The closing bartender is a better bet than the daytime bartender.

Always tip your bartender/server well- you never know when that little bit of goodwill may come in handy when it comes time for crafting.
18  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Crazy Quilt HELP! on: August 16, 2007 02:12:23 PM
As to how long they take- that all depends on how much you are willing to let go your control.  If you are willing to just sew like crazy and let things happen for themselves, then chop it all into squares and sew them together, it will go quickly.

However, if you agonize over how it will look, or if that fabric goes with the one next to it or not, it will take a long time and chances are, you will never finish it.

My suggestion, work fast and loose, I would not even look at it until you are ready to put the backing on it.  (Obviously you have to look at it so wee what you are sewing, just don't worry about the overall design till the very end.)  What ever you do, don't tack it up on the wall and move things around.

A crazy quilt should be a surprise when it is done, even to you.  Best of luck.
19  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Worth the extra effort? on: August 10, 2007 01:03:46 PM
Half and half is probably the best route for you. 

Just think about how much pleasure you will get out of hand sewing your binding, and then compare that to time you could be spending making another quilt.

Despite my posts elsewhere on this forum, I recently hand sewed a binding for a quilt (I did not want to have to deal with keeping multiple layers of denim in place while sewing along the edge).  It was horrible, but looked nice when I was done.  Still, I would have rather spent that time making a new quilt top.

Best of luck, post some pictures in this thread when you are done, we would love to see what you have created.
20  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: The fear of cutting on: August 06, 2007 04:37:27 PM
Wife loves to collect fabric, hates cutting it.

I don't love fabric that much, so I don't have a problem with it.

You just have to trust in yourself and start cutting.  After the first few cuts, and you realize that there is no going back, it gets much easier.

Just like swimming, getting in the water is the hardest part. 

Getting your feet wet metaphors aside, I have a technique that might help.  Try taking a piece of fabric and ripping it rather than cutting it.  All you need to do is snip about an inch or so with the scissors.  Then hold the piece out in front of you, hands on either side of the fabric, then pull down with one hand.  The fabric will tear neatly along the grain.  Then do some more ripping and make a simple bag or something like that.

What you get from this is the realization that you have power over the fabric. 
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