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11  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Denise Interchangeables on: April 08, 2004 08:39:01 AM
I don't think it's justification at all.  I frequently have more than one project going on my favorite sizes.  I have one pair of 10.5 circs that are like my lucky needles, and they go everywhere with me and always have a project on them, so if I want to do that size on anything else I would need an extra pair!  So there!

12  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Re:Why don't they have my size? on: April 08, 2004 08:34:42 AM
Yes, Sugary, ALWAYS measure before attempting a pattern!  The sizing is way different and not at all related!  I wear a 10 (8 on a good day) in regular clothes, but in a pattern I take a 14 or a 16.  

And don't worry if your bottom fits one size and the top fits the other, with patterns you can fix them--it's the beauty of sewing for yourself!

13  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re:Basic Quilting on: April 07, 2004 08:34:15 AM
Actually, when I do a border I don't miter the corners, and most of the quilts I've seen do not.   Do your long sides just the length of the quilt, and then do your short sides so that they go the width of the quilt plus whatever your border width is.

If your quilt is 42 inches on all sides, then make your first 2 sides 42 inches long.  Say your border is 6 inches wide.  After applying your border to the sides, then you will make your second set of borders (for the remaining 2 sides) 54 inches long to encompass the borders already in place.  

Also, do measure your quilt top and make the borders the proper length rather than just applying the border and trimming off the excess (which seems like a good idea but is not).  Usually your quilt will vary a little in size and so you want to make the border the same size.  So if you measure one side and it is 42 inches and the other is 42.5, make your border 42 inches long for both sides and ease in that extra 1/2 inch on the longer side so that your quilt sides will be straight.

To ease, once you have cut your border, take 3 straight pins.  Lay your border onto the quilt and match the sides exactly.  Put one pin at each end.  Then put one pin in the center.  Then put more pins between the center pin and the outside pins.  Make sure it is pinned well before you sew.

You would not be able to ease any more than a half inch or maybe 3/4 without there being a noticeable bubble or tuck.  

If you are making more than one border (a wonderful idea) do your first border completely, then start with the second one.  

If you're talking about the binding, rather than the border, those corners are mitered.  It would be impossible to explain online, but Fons & Porter's Perfect Binding Card, available at Hobby Lobby, Joann, Hancock, and any quilt store explains it very well and with pictures.  It's a crazy technique but it works and working on my 5th quilt I still follow the instructions step by step on the card.  It's a laminated card and costs about $5-8.  It is well worth the money.

Good luck, keep those questions coming!
14  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re:Basic Quilting on: April 06, 2004 12:51:51 PM
Well, Jinamae, you can do almost anything with piecing fabric together!  

For basic block construction, I highly recommend the book Quilts From the Quiltmaker's Gift.  It is a beautiful, brightly colored book that is designed around the needs of all different quilting levels.  It has design options for every different block pattern and general guidelines on how many blocks to make, cutting instructions, etc.  It has a good sampling of traditional quilt blocks in beautiful color interpretations.

If you want to go a little crazier, I am currently having an absolute blast making yardenxanthe's paper pieced crazy quilt.  I am using up a gazillion different pieces of fabric from my stash and every square is gorgeous in its own way.  With this style of quilting, it is very relaxing as it requires a minimum of precision.  It is a lot of fun to mix the different colors and watch the stash pile go down!

If you want to go with a traditional quilt block, I would recommend the Log Cabin, Nine Patch, or Puss in the Corner styles.  All of them are featured in Quilts From the Quiltmaker's Gift and many other sources as well.  Those blocks all have straight seams (no bias seams or curves) and simple, straightforward construction and relatively large pieces.  You don't want to try a very complex pattern fresh out of the gate or you will lose interest.

When piecing the top, always use a 1/4 inch seam on all pieces so that all your blocks are exactly the same size.  Even if you only make one quilt, it is worth the investment to buy a 1/4 inch foot with an edge (they're not expensive) so that you don't go blind squinting at the little numbers on the soleplate.  

Remember that your first quilt will have some errors but it will be a labor of love.  Nothing will ever replace your first quilt.

Never underestimate the power of borders.  I made a log cabin quilt and only had enough fabric to make 12 blocks.  That wasn't very big, so I ended up putting 3 borders of varying sizes (one was 6 inches wide!) on it using interesting fabrics, and the quilt is a good size and far more interesting than plain blocks.

Hopefully this helps.  Just call me the quilting granny...I'll ask DH if he knows how to post pics for you guys, and keep the questions coming as I love to help.

15  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re:Fabric Scrap Quilt on: April 06, 2004 12:37:50 PM
Fabulous Erin, I was not trying to be condescending, either.  I just know that as an inexperienced buyer of a sewing machine, it is easy to make a mistake.  When you see a machine at Wal-Mart that appears to have the same features as one at a sewing machine shop, it seems like why buy the more expensive one?  

I have used cheap machines and they work for a while and then they jam up and stop working and the 1-800 number on the box gets you nowhere.  I had a Singer Tiny Tailor that cost over $100 and it made it through 1 skirt before it broke down and could not be repaired.  That was a waste of $100 which, in my opinion, could have been better spent when put towards a decent used machine or saved up for a nicer machine.

Sewing machines are like anything, you can spend a lot or you can spend a little.  I took a sewing class with a lady who had a machine that cost over $1,000 and she couldn't sew a straight seam.  She should have probably bought a simpler, less expensive machine.  However, if you go TOO low, you might end up buying something that is not worth the frustration (i.e., the Tiny Tailor or Handy Stitch).  Many of them sacrifice quality to put a lot of 'features' on so that they look like a better deal.  

You say you want a simple machine that is good quality.  A sewing machine shop will help you figure out which machine is best for you.  They will thread the machines for you and let you try them out and play with them.  If you find something doesn't work well for you, they'll help you find a different machine.  And if you buy a machine from them, they'll teach you how to use it, and when something goes wrong you can call them and they will help you out or fix the machine.  In my opinion, the best advice I could give you was to recommend you find a shop that would help you make a good choice.

Anytime you ask for advice you will get widely varied opinions.  You have to take what information people offer and make your own choice from there.  I think you were smart to ask for advice in the first place.

Whatever machine you buy, I (and other craftsters of course) will always be around to help you on whatever projects you end up working on!

16  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Re:sewing up knitted projects on: April 06, 2004 09:18:10 AM
Check out the Yarn Girls Guide to Simple Knits.  Their finishing instructions are excellent.  Good pictures.

Never fear, mattress stitch is kind of fun once you get going, because as you pull it gently the stitches 'poof' disappear.
17  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re:Basic Quilting on: April 05, 2004 11:50:54 AM
Yikes!  While I am pretty good at sewing, I have no idea how to post pics.  

If I can eventually figure it out, what would you like to see pics of?  I can try to find some links online of techniques or explain anything I was unclear on.

18  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Basic Quilting on: April 02, 2004 07:57:38 AM
I see a lot of people saying they would like to quilt but are not sure how to do it.  I'll leave it to you to figure out the top, but here are some basic instructions for making your quilt.

A quilt is like a sandwich, it has a layer of backing fabric, a layer of batting, and a layer of top fabric, your 'quilt top' if you will.  Once you have your fabric and your backing fabric, you need batting.  If you can, purchase good batting from a quilt shop.  Polyester is fine, but that Mountain Mist stuff you can buy at Wal-Mart is not the best stuff.  It is difficult to work with.  Usually a good twin size batting from a quilt shop will cost about $12 so it is not a lot more money, but a lot better quality.

Spread your backing fabric out on a card table or dining room table.  Be aware that when you are pinning you may prick the top of the table a bit, so put something on the table if it is your heirloom dining room table!  Put the batting over it.  Then put your quilt top on top.  The batting and backing fabric should extend at least 3 inches or so from the edge of your quilt.  As you quilt the fabric may scrunch in, and you don't want to 'lose' the edge of your backing or your batting.

Pull it pretty taut using those huge 'bulldog' clips from the office supply store (clip them right on the edge of the table) or a couple of friends can hold it down.  Pin through all three layers with safety pins.  Do not skimp on the safety pins!

Once your entire quilt is pinned, then you have a couple of options for quilting on your sewing machine.  One is to use a 'walking foot' which holds all three layers together while you sew to minimize scrunchage.  You can sew in any configuration of straight lines with your walking foot.  Up and down, diagonal, big x's, whatever you like.  This is the 'basic' quilting form.

Another option is a 'darning' or 'free motion' foot.  This is a little sewing machine foot that is straight up and down with a little hole in it.  Drop the feed dogs on the machine when using a darning foot.  You will move the fabric along.  This is my favorite form of quilting.  You just make squiggly lines.  You can squiggle close, you can squiggle far away.  You can squiggle in lines or just in a random pattern.  You can write your name or make big swirls or whatever.  It is incredibly relaxing and fun like finger painting.  

When quilting your quilt (it doesn't matter as much for just sewing together the pieces) it is best to use actual quilting thread.  It costs a touch more but it is worth it.  It is stronger and made of better materials.  Most traditional quilters use a quilting thread that matches their quilt, but you don't have to do that. Quilt a dark quilt with white thread or vice versa for an interesting effect.  There are also metallic threads which are fun to use and add a subtle sparkle to your quilt.  One thing you may want to do is use a colored thread for your top thread and use a thread that matches the backing for your bobbin thread.  Then the stitches will disappear on the bottom, but stand out on the top.  

For putting the binding on the quilt, pick up a Fons & Porters Perfect Binding Card.  This little card has all the information you will need to bind your quilt and finish it off.

Hopefully this helps.  It is not really hard to quilt but there are so many different 'schools of thought' and instructions out there, it is difficult to sort through.  These are very basic instructions that should be able to help any beginner.

19  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re:Fabric Scrap Quilt on: April 02, 2004 07:40:15 AM
Fabulous Erin, please be very careful buying a sewing machine for $100.  In my experience they have been of very poor quality.  They break down and cannot be fixed.  A $300-400 sewing machine is, hate to break it to you, not a top of the line machine.  A good basic machine will probably be in that range when new.  A used machine will probably be a better bet.  From a reputable sewing machine shop.  They will teach you how to use it and fix it when it breaks.  They are an invaluable resource.  

Look at it as an investment.  My mother bought her sewing machine when she was 18 and it is still going strong.  We have made countless wardrobes, costumes, curtains, and tablecloths on that machine.  Conversely, my first sewing machine was of the $100 variety.  It broke the first time I tried to sew with it and never could be fixed.  

yardenxanthe, thank you for posting this thread!  I was inspired by your quilting technique.  I went home that night and started sewing!  Mine are not the 2 directions yours are, mine are just diagonal lines.  I'm using up my huge box of scraps and the squares are turning out beautifully.  I know how to quilt 'regular' but this is so fun because you don't have to be careful, you can just cut and sew and have fun experimenting.  And part of the fun is cutting off the excess around the paper, because each block looks totally different once it is trimmed--it's like a surprise with each block!

Lovin' it!

20  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re:Two Questions About Cross-stiching - Durabilty and Books? on: March 31, 2004 07:56:33 AM
Okay, maybe I'm coming late to this topic or I haven't had enough coffee, but wouldn't you be using waste canvas to make your stitches directly on your jacket instead of leaving the aida cloth on there   Huh

You can buy waste canvas, just put it on top of your jacket and cross stitch like normal, then you pull the canvas out thread by thread.  Most people will tell you you can't use aida for this purpose, but you can do it, I've done it, and you just need to be super patient pulling out the threads.

I made t-shirts for my whole family with stitched logos on them, and they are all still in good shape after 6 years of washing.

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