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Topic: Stupid questions about a denim quilt  (Read 1256 times)
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PeachieClean
« on: October 20, 2011 12:36:11 PM »

So, I've never quilted before in my life.  I got some little squares of fabric in a swap and now I want to make a little  Halloween quilt.  I found http://www.equilters.com/library/jeans/jeans_gallbaros.html and decided it was worth a try.  Only thing is, I don't want to screw up the first time, which I usually do.  My denim stash is pretty small so I don't think I'll have many tries at this.  So, a few questions.

1) I can't tell if the zig-zag is done on the very edge of the fabric (So it goes through both the denim and the exposed "scrap" fabric.) or not.  The photos are a bit small and I was hoping someone would have made one or something similar before.

2) How difficult would it be to make something similar with 2 sizes of circles?  I'm thinking about possibly making a second one for the boyfriend as a gift in his favorite team's colors.  I was thinking it would look neat if I could do the corners in really big squares/circles of the teams colors then fill in the rest of the quilt with smaller squares.  I have about a dozen different fabrics for each color so I thought that would be a good way to give it a sort of focal piece. (Sorry, I typically make jewelry so I usually like to have a "pop" factor.)  I was thinking big squares then having the smaller squares be half of the large squares.

It looks like it'll be easy enough to do on a regular machine without much of anything fancy (I've got an old work-horse.  It weighs a ton but can go through just about anything.) and the hardest part after cutting things the right size will probably be the zig-zag stitching.

Suggestions would be lovely, thanks!
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anaximander
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011 02:27:14 PM »

There are absolutely no stupid questions. The stupid part is not asking questions.

1. Yeah. You want to go *over* the edge, to cut down on fray. You want to set a wide stitch width and a short stitch length.

2. I'm sure there's a way to do it with 2 sizes of circles, I'm just not sure *how* - try picking up some ultra-cheap fabric (even paper would work) and try making up some sample blocks. You'd have to sew the smaller ones together, then add the larger ones.

3. Yup. This kind of quilt, because there's very little in the way of "quilting" is really easy to do on regular machines (and, perversely, unbelievably difficult to do on longarms)

Feel free to come back if you've got any other questions. It's going to look fantastic - I've been considering doing something similar with black jeans.

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PeachieClean
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2011 03:45:45 AM »

Well, I started my mini-test-thing.  I've got four circles cut out, three completely sewn.  So far I know that the bottom is going to look terrible and that my machine hates sewing the corners.  For some reason it sort of sticks and I end up with an odd ball/knot of thread.  I've got the stitch length set to "24" (Which is almost the smallest it goes) and width set to 3.  It's the only width my machine seems to like. >.> 
So, I guess my next question would be how to start the edges without having problems.  For now I'm just skipping the corners.  I considered starting in the middle and working my way toward either end, but it sounds like a lot of extra work considering the fact that I'm terri-bad at lining things up. (And cutting straight lines. >.<)  I guess the good thing is that the rest of the quilt can only turn out better!

And, yeah.  I sort of figured the easiest way to do it would be to sew 2 little circles together (Or however many I need to fit the larger circle) then attach them to the bigger one.  I figure if I do that twice then just add in the "corner" one it would work out alright.  And now I have the color-scheme for this one too!  Now the biggest question... To embroider, or not to embroider?  (The boyfriend is afraid that if I don't embroider something on it it will be mistaken for the wrong team.  It'd be for the Atlanta Falcons, but I guess the Georgia Bulldogs (Who he hates) have the same colors.)  I'll probably do something small... Though I need to get more denim for that project, unless I decide to use tiny squares, in which case I could probably inlay something with the blocks... (Sorry, I tend to "think out-loud" in my posts, so they get wordy.)

In any case, thank you!
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anaximander
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2011 06:46:02 PM »

Dude, my posts are usually the very definition of word salad Smiley

If you're having trouble with the seams, make very sure you're using a denim needle, which is bigger and sharper, and IIRC, harder.

What I'd do is sew the rows together, making about 3 and joining them. Then doing the topstitching (the satin stitch) on the centre row, the one that's "complete." Then add a row, and do the satin stitching on the "complete" one. Rinse, repeat.

If you *don't* want to do that, the ever wonderful carlafibres has a description here of the continuous curve method of quilting. This is essentially the same path the satin stitching will follow, so you *might* find this easier - but keep in mind, there will be a LOT of turning the quilt in order to do it. (On the plus side, you will end up with great new arm muscles - denim is HEAVY.)
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PeachieClean
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011 01:24:32 AM »

Right now I'm using a very thin denim (My uncle has claimed my experimental one for my new baby cousin, so the lighter the better.  Don't want to be crushing babies. =[)  so I don't think a workout would be a problem for this one.  My problem is the very corners.  No matter which corner it is (I have a row of four patches, three done) my machine just does not like the corners.  The feet don't seem to want to move it anywhere.  So, I guess I'd say it's not the *seam* that's the problem (They actually turned out pretty nice if you ignore that I can't cut a straight line and my first few squares look sort of... Special.) it's the corners specifically.  As long as I start fairly far forward it's not a problem.  I kind of wonder if there just isn't enough fabric for the little doo-dads to grab onto.  Maybe starting from the middle and working my way out is going to be my best bet.

*Edit* Adding pics of my corner problem.


This is what my machine does if I don't mess with it.


My machine when I stop every stitch, lift the presser foot and move it a little.

When I get up the drive to start another row I'll give starting from the middle a try.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2011 02:00:53 AM by PeachieClean » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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anaximander
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011 08:07:06 AM »

Well, I can't diagnose the machine problem (but there is a *wonderful* machine forum on the site- I'm on my ipod so I can't link to it directly, but it's under "general sewing." - they should be able to help moreso than me) I want to say how *awesome* the dark denim & hallowe'en fabric looks together Smiley
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PeachieClean
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2011 12:29:11 PM »

That's why I *had* to make this.  The fabric and denim work well together and I wanted to use those little squares.  I'm not sure why I didn't think about the machine board for this though.  Thanks a lot for all of your help!  You're pretty awesome. =]
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My boyfriend is holding a Pokemon themed contest.  Interested?  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.359328020778498.82645.352681428109824&type=1
Eamea
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011 03:56:11 PM »

Late to the party, but "what he said".  Cool

This is a fun way to make the cathedral windows quilt without having to mess with curved seams!  Often when you sew the machine will eat the ends if they are pointy or small.  The best way that I know of to get around that is to start with a leader.  It can be any scrap of fabric, but run through it about an inch or so and then put this piece down.  The feed dogs will be able to grab the leader, and the good piece should go through OK.  If you have a quilt that you want to make but aren't in a hurry for, using a leader and ender are great ways to work on it while you work on something else.
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PeachieClean
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2011 11:25:20 PM »

Late to the party, but "what he said".  Cool

This is a fun way to make the cathedral windows quilt without having to mess with curved seams!  Often when you sew the machine will eat the ends if they are pointy or small.  The best way that I know of to get around that is to start with a leader.  It can be any scrap of fabric, but run through it about an inch or so and then put this piece down.  The feed dogs will be able to grab the leader, and the good piece should go through OK.  If you have a quilt that you want to make but aren't in a hurry for, using a leader and ender are great ways to work on it while you work on something else.
This is going to sound somewhat awkard, however...
"THANK YOU, OH MY GOD, THANK YOU!"
Ahem.  Thank you very much for the suggestion.  I've been so frustrated trying to sort this out but I wasn't coming up with anything that didn't involve sewing something else to the bottom of my quilt and having to find a way to tear it out later.  I've been a tad discouraged by the lack of answers on the sewing machine board.
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My boyfriend is holding a Pokemon themed contest.  Interested?  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.359328020778498.82645.352681428109824&type=1
Eamea
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011 09:29:42 PM »

So glad it worked for you!  Shoot, I didn't even know there was a sewing machine board...
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