Since you started quilting......

...with whatever assumptions you came into it with, what has surprised you
the most in terms of things you've discovered about your taste in fabrics
and/or designs?
I knew I was coming in with a love of 1930's fabrics, repro or real, and the
classic 1930's quilts. Still have that, by the way.
Didn't have a clue that my *favorite* quilts would turn out to be not
1930's, particularly, the scrappier the better (and the less "pattern" or
"design", as well), and that I'd develop a passion for **ugly** fabric.
(I've discovered that fabric that takes my fancy is fabric I'm liking as
well, that first day, as I'm ever going to like it. May not ever like it
less, or I might, eventually. But it won't grow on me, no matter how high
or "almost high" I rate it on first meeting.)
But a good ugly fabric---especially in a scrappy setting---that bugger will
get my attention and seriously grow on me over time. Maybe it starts out
like those "you don't want to watch but can't stop" accidents---all you're
thinking is *damn*, that's ugly"---but your eye keeps coming back to it.
And next thing you know, it's the only fabric you see in the quilt, and
you're attached to it. :)
Reply to
I started off as a complete control freak. My second quilt (my first quilt is a saga on its own) was a very stark arrangement of pieced squares and I had a graph paper drawing and a "formula" for working out where each piece was to go so that no two reds would be less than 5 or more than 7 squares apart - I really did work it out that way! All the fabrics were from the same series and I bought EXACTLY as much as I had calculated I would need. lol
I still like geometric, but now a red-and-yallow design will have 20 random reds and 20 yellows. I calculate and add an allowance to requirements for "design changes". I then add more to feed the stash (which is way out of hand already).
I didn't enjoy the actual quilting process on my first quilt, and it never "grew on" me. I don't do my own quilting any more. I have very difinite ideas about HOW I want the quilting to be done, but I cannot physically do it myself. If I can't get someone to do what I want on a long arm, I ask for stipple in an appropriate size. I wish I sould hand quilt just one small quilt. but even that is beyond me now (sigh)
I have never been one for "pretty" or "traditional" but I forced myself to make a pink and purple rendition of the Rose Sampler Supreme, and found that I enjoyed the making and the joy that the finished piece would bring to another if I didn't want to keep it. I am therefore prepared to make just about anything now.
All of this is reflected in my teaching. I do not allow beginners to choose the fabrics for their first quilts for the first 4-5 lessons. Instead they work with plain homespun cottons learning about cutting, measuring, seams, pressing, etc. Each lesson they have to choose a different set of colours to work with. In those few weeks their colour preferences change dramatically as they see other people's choices and are "forced" to work with odd combinations. They also learn to be judicious in the use of plains as highlights.
Most of my students make a Round the World quilt with a pieced border for a first quilt, and except for being sure they have enough for the centre panel I am happy to let them run out of a fabric before the whole quilt is finished. Sooner or later they will, and if it happens right up front on their first they quickly adjust to the idea of changing the design and using something else instead. We haven't had a "failed" first quilt yet using this method, and no-one stresses out about running out of fabric anymore. They learn the rules, and then they learn that it's OK not to follow them as long as you know how to get out of any corners you back yourself into.
I don't get much sewing done myself anymore but I love every minute I can manage - and I am still not much for tradition rofl
And as for "uglies" - I never met a fabric that wasn't just perfect for something!
I look forward to reading more responses.
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I think what has surprised me the most is how limited I was before quilting expanded my world in so many ways! I'm not the person I used to be, and that is a good thing. : )
Karen, Queen of Squishies -----
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Karen, Queen of Squishies
I made my first quilt in the early 1970's. Mainstream quilting back then was strongly influenced by the 1930's--traditional blocks set in traditional ways, controlled color schemes. Fast forward to the early 1990's when I rediscovered quilting (=machine piecing and quilting and the rotary cutter): things were loosening up.
I appreciate the "anything goes" attitude nowadays. If you like brights you can use them. If you prefer country tones you can use them. If you like scraps you can use them.
It's interesting to observe when new design concepts are introduced -- stack'n'whack or fabric bowls, for example. Many people jump on the bandwagon and then jump off -- but others take the concepts and do some grand things with them. And the concepts are still there, so if you want to jump on when the wagon is further down the road, you can. (There are no Quilt Police!)
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Nann Hilyard
I made my first quilt in the late sixties and at the time I never considered buying fabric just to make a quilt. To me quilts were made of leftover fabric from sewing clothing. Boy, how things have changed!!!
Reply to
Bonnie NJ
My grandmother made quilts with leftovers and flower sacks, like every good farm wife. My mother started teaching me to sew at 8, so I could help with darning and sewing buttons. I started quilting by making whole cloth quilts for my babies. I was quickly got bored, as I remembered the intriquite patterns that my grandma did.
I have always loved the traditional quilts. Although I like colors, the patterns of the fabric tend to be more "regular". I am not a fan of colors like lime green and bright orange unless it is a little piece for an applique.
I am not very good at quilting, so tend to stick to QID or grids. I have stippled but tend to get lost on anything larger then a baby blanket.
Reply to
Boca Jan
I can't separate them in my mind. Since I started quilting, we have retired from stressful careers, moved from what was 'home' for 6 generations and made so many other changes. I've always sewn, always had a stash - I guess the surprise discovery is the music of a quilt. Quilts have always hummed 'comfort' to me but I've learned that they can play a joyful symphony or quietly sing a lullaby. Somehow, you'd have to toss in the question, the delight of sharing the adventure with rctq. Who would have thought when some of us started quilting that we would be able to soar with good, good friends around the world and around the clock? Polly
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Polly Esther
I've been surprised to discover the value of black and white fabrics in combination with bright colors and plan to use the two together more often.
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I started quilting about 4 years ago out of spite. My friend was always dragging me to quilt stores and complaining about how long it takes to make a quilt and how much work it was. She started a quilt when she was in high school, we're in our 50s now. At that time, I knew absolutely nothing about quilting, nor anyone who had ever made or owned a real quilt, but I just knew it couldn't possible take over 40 years to finish a quilt.
Without telling her, I picked up a pad of paper and pencil, drew a design that looked logical, went to the LQS, bought 5 or 6 half yards of "farm" design material, batting and backing, got DH to dig out my old Kenmore, and within a week I had finished my first "birthed" quilt. I had never seen anyone quilt, nor had I taken any lessons, but the birthing process, then stitch in the ditch just seemed how it was supposed to be done. I later found out that I had done the Trip Around the World pattern. Then I showed it to my friend and she was stunned that I had done this without telling her. We now both spend all of our shopping or browsing free time in LQS all over NH (and we have some great ones).
I've always been somewhat crafty, but nothing ever appealed to my senses like quilting, but my tastes have changed a lot since I started. I used to absolutely hate the 1930s prints, and wondered why anyone would even consider them as they would certainly make old scruffy looking quilts. Now these prints are pretty close to my favorites, I melt when I see an old puckered well-preserved quilt. I'm working on a BOM of 30s right now and I have purchased yards more for the stash. I also love wild brights, anything with critters, have a ton of batiks, fabric I never knew existed 4 years ago. I found out that I'm very adventurous with colors and patterns.
I never noticed quilts before, now I see them everywhere, (they used to be just yucky old blankets to me). I belong to a very large guild in a neighboring town and enjoy "show and tell" the best. So yes, lots of things have changed for me since I started quilting, I have a great designated sewing room, large stash, new vocabulary, new friends, and an outlet for creativity.
My friend finally finished her high school quilt and a few more, I've finished over 40 quilts and have at least a dozen more tops waiting to be quilted, and I'm looking forward to meeting Carol Doak, (another NH resident) next month at my guild meeting. Four years ago I would have said, "Who is Carol Doak?"
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Denise in NH
You are sure right about the friends Polly. When I started quilting I really was a solitary quilter. As the years went by I was home alone with young children and didn't have anyone to share with. I didn't have any friends or family that even liked sewing. I went to my first quilt show and was pretty shocked. When the kids were in jr. high I joined a local guild. I have made some lifelong friends I will always cherish. I now really enjoy quilting with other folks. And like you Polly I could never imagine the connections we are able to make with the computer. It has been such a wonderful thing. Taria
Reply to
What a great thread......
Who would I thought I would have gone this far with it? My first experience (1996) in quilting, totally turned me off. Glad the owner of Yankee Pride in Winooski, VT convinced me to take another class - a sampler with her as a teacher. I've been hooked ever since. Gave my first quilt from the class that turned me off to my dad for his chalet. I figured it would rote there. WRONG! He loves it, I despise it. What an awful piece of work that quilt is. lol
My taste in fabric and quilt styles are constantly changing. I too am a lover of repro fabrics. Am looking forward to making a Civil War repro quilt, perhaps even on my treadle. What an accomplishment that would be!
I am now going into a phase of digitizing software. That's my next surprise, embroidery. I've barely experimented with it. So I'll have to let you all know how I like that.
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I had tried quilting in the 60's with cardboard templates but didn't really get the quilting bug until the early 80's when the rotary cutter and strip methods were introduced. I seldom show my first strip quilts because they are well made for first quilts. I had sewn for years and worked as a draftsman for ten years so accuracy was part of my being. Color was something I had to learn but the quilt store owner was helpful in the beginning until I was comfortable with my choices.
My taste in fabrics has changed with the years just as our taste in decor has changed. I like to try most new techniques. Although most of my quilts are traditional in design and colors occasionally I have to try something different. Batiks to me are traditional as long as they are well done. What I don't like are "quilts" that are just glued together with strings hanging off. You know what I mean, the real artsy "quilts". I also don't like primitive applique quilts. The only Buggy Barn quilt pattern I like is the stars.
I am known locally for my miniature quilts. Working with small pieces relates to all of those years I drew maps at 200' to the inch lettering with a 00000 pen. To this day I hate townhouse developments. Squeezing lot number and dimensions on a 20' lot at 200' to the inch is almost impossible. Miniature quilts are not necessarily faster to make but they are easier to display and store.
Susan Price
On Wed, 10 Jan 2007 01:34:33 -0600, Listpig wrote:
Reply to
Susan Laity Price
On Wed, 10 Jan 2007 01:34:33 -0600, Listpig wrote:
That although I love the look of many traditional pieced blocks, I really dislike sewing them. I never want to make two blocks exactly alike because that is just boring. I much prefer doing applique by hand or machine. An applique block has a freedom to evolve that a pieced block just doesn't have, and that makes any block pattern I start with end up as a block uniquely my own. I may start with a pattern but end up with something different by leaving something out, adding something in, or simply changing some curves in pieces here and there to suit my whim.
This love of applique is changing my fabric preferences. Although I am strongly drawn to large print novelty fabrics I have learned to look at a small odd prints to see what they can become. I can see a pile of bird seed, a gravel road, or a rock wall all in the same small print. Large paisley can be fussy cut to make great butterfly wings and flower petals. Streaky prints can be the background for a race car, a building with old peeling paint, distant mountains, and who knows what else. My choices in large novelties is changing too because I am looking for applique possibilities--printed leaves, butterflies, sewing notions, critters, and such can be used on their own as a single block motif, or as parts to expand a larger picture.
I have also learned that every quilt evolves. I can start with a plan, but when I am done it won't be the same quilt I planned. There will be some unforeseen problem that will cause a change, like a minor shortage in one fabric print and I can't buy more, or the colors all play nice together but there is no spark to the quilt as a whole so I need to add something, or the quilt just plain grew because it said it wasn't done yet.
The evolution of a quilt is interesting. The color that might add the needed spark to a dull quilt or best expand a too small quilt is often surprising. My mom says when in doubt add red, and I say add lime, but often it's something else, something we don't even like in our stashes that is really the perfect fabric for the job. Oddly enough the perfect thing is usually in the other person's stash. But that's what a stash raid is for, right? Debra in VA See my quilts at
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I have loosened up sooooo much. No longer care if it's not colors I could wear. Or colors anybody could wear. Don't care much about coordinated decor either, unless scrappy fits that category. Roberta in D, Queen of the Scrap Heap
"Listpig" schrieb im Newsbeitrag news:C1C9F329.47CA7%
Reply to
Roberta Zollner
My first quilt was 4 inch blocks painted with fabric tube paints alternation with yellow blocks that I made when pregnant in 1970. I tried making quilts using cardboard and sandpaper templates and did complete one or two from scraps. Later (80s) made some machine appliqué using pictures I traced from coloring books. Four years ago I got a rotary cut quilt book and really got into quilting....or rather piecing. About 6 months ago I started paper piecing. Never thought I could make those little blocks but just finishing up 8 wall hangings made with 3 inch blocks.
Reply to
Total mind change - started at the end of the 90s - never sewn, never done anything crafty, knew I wasn't artistic.
Discovered some level of otherwise undiscovered creativity, but most of all, it's the people that I've come into contact with, all over the world.
Quilting changed my life - unbelievably for the better:-)
Great thread (no pun intended!!)
Reply to
Tutu Haynes-Smart
Good thread, Pig! I've always loved lots of fabric, and interesting colors and designs. Even so, when I started, I followed what I saw in books more. Now, I follow my own instinct more. Sometimes I like to make very contemporary projects, other times I like to work with vintage or reproduction fabric and design. That hasn't changed, but now I give things more of my own stamp.
I've moved away from everything being matchy-matchy, as Mary Ellen Hopkins would say. I've moved away from every thing symmetrical. If I want to mix cream and white, or several odd reds, I do it. If I want to leave off a border, I do it. I WILL match and/or strive for symmetry occasionally, but only if *I* think it serves the quilt.
When I started quilting I never even dreamed that someday I'd be conversing with quilters in other places, no less meeting them in a Show in Houston!! Now, THAT surprises me!!
Reply to
Pat in Virginia
You pretty well wrote my thoughts exactly! I'm so glad I'm not the only one that doesn't like to do traditional blocks. When I first started, I had great plans for a lone star, etc. No way!!!! I hate matching all those pieces and sewing EXACTLY a 1/4" seam. I'm in awe of the ones that can do it, but it's not for me. I like to combine machine embroidery and appliqué with quilting. Gen
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