03 February, 2009

"Let's Talk" Tuesday...

It's hard to believe that it's Tuesday again already! I can't tell you how much I look forward to this weekly dialog, and I thank you for your loyal participation. You have shared yourselves openly through your own personal stories and experiences and, gratefully, we're all the richer for reading them.

What is the best, most valuable, quilting tip that you've ever received?


The first answer that popped into my head, in response to this question, was this: not to assume that your 1/4" presser foot really is 1/4 inch in width. But in reality that isn't the best, most valuable, tip; this is: have fun! If you're not enjoying the process figure out why and move on to a new project, shop for some new fabric, find a pattern that excites you or create your own, attend a quilt show for inspiration or take a class and learn a new technique. I've spent way too much time worrying about breaking so-called "rules" that don't exist and slaving over poorly chosen projects that would have been better off abandoned. The important thing is to have fun, don't take this thing that you enjoy the most, quilting, too seriously. Happy quilters will actually go on to finish their quilts and we all benefit from that, right?

...and sew, "Let's Talk"...
Life is Good!

23 comments:

ChrisQuilts said...

Hello - I just found your website! Love the idea of "Let's Talk" - To quote a good friend of mine - Most valuable tip for me when quilting - "Fly, be free!" - I like to quilt outside the box - use my imagination, create blocks that mean something to me, and someday I'll turn them all into a "Family Quilt". I've used some of Tonya's letters, Christine Thresh's paper pieced people to create family members, bird blocks, trees (from a wonderful lady in Germany), I'm working on some of our previously lived in houses, fish (we're by the sea in NC), some sort of "wonky" blocks in different shades of blue, green, yellow. It's an evolving work in progress.

Nane said...

Sounds basic, but when someone showed me how to simply iron row's in opposite directions and nest the seams...I suddenly had much crisper intersections.

Domestic Designer said...

I think the best advice I ever received like you was to have fun. I believe the lady said if a friend tells you what is wrong with a guilt..they are not your friend. So true! My grandmother never followed any rules. She never cut any fabric. She sat in her recliner, surrounded by scraps and tore pieces. She hand pieced each and every one and her quilts are beautiful! She didn't have a design wall and yet her colors flowed flawlessly. Hopefully quilt making/creating will always be fun and relaxing. Something you can look forward to!

di said...

Love your blog! Grew up in NC - a beautiful state! Most valuable tip - pin! I know some quilters think this is a waste of time, but I pin all seams that have to nestle and without a walking foot I also pin the "end". In the long run it keeps things neat and saves me time on redos! Happy Quilting!

LauraQuilts said...

Trudy Hughes came to our Guild years ago and she showed us how to use two rulers to true up the end of a piece of fabric in order to make that first strip not go all "W". I loved that - so basic, so easy - and I had never seen that done before. Wow! Eye-opener. Being creative and having fun - that's a given. Like Nane says, it sounds basic but it killed the "W" for me.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Best tip? Wow ~ there are SO many.

Best traditional tip - ALWAYS, ALWAYS close your rotary cutter before you lay it down.

Best non-traditional tip - Take pictures and make notes about EVERY quilt you create (not just the size and date but why and for whom and what inspired and/or motivated you to finish). Keep your photos/notes in a 3 ring notebook using insertable pages (unless you want to spend time scrapbooking instead of stitching).

Most liberating advice - THERE ARE NO QUILT POLICE!!

sewinggeek said...

It is hard to remember what the best tip is for quilting. I am an information junkie! I dream of being a perfect quilter. I follow the tips I read and I still don't always get perfect points. I guess the best quilting tip for me is to keep on learning, reading, watching and asking. That way you always can tweek what you learn. In the meantime I show my stuff to the people who don't know anything about quilting and then they think it is great! lol

Bonnie said...

I'm pretty new to quilting so I haven't heard too many 'tips'. The best I've read have been on Quiltville. I love that site!

SubeeSews said...

My most important tip was about pressing vs ironing.
I use steam and statch in the prep before cutting. Then I also set a seam with a DRY iron before pressing to one side or open. I found that if I steamed a finished block and/or seam it COULD be distorted. The dry iron solved that problem. Also I add a drop of water with an eyedropper on an intersecting seam if it does not want to lay flat still using a dry iron.
My Grandfather owned and ran a dry cleaners. My fondest memories are playing in the "shop" and hearing and smelling the pressing machines he ran. I also used to iron a basket of clothes for $3.00 out on the back porch when I was little. man! $3 was big money 50 years ago!!!!! I still love ironing.
Subee XOXOOXXO

paula, the quilter said...

The best tip ever is to 'breathe'. It's not a race and things don't need to be rushed. I have a habit of holding my breath when I'm machine quilting so to me, breathing is a tip. *s*

KarenF said...

Gosh, I've learned so many great tips and tricks along the way...but the best advice I ever got was right in the beginning: If you can't see it (a mistake) riding by on a galloping horse, don't worry about it!

Second best advice: In art quilts, there are no rules! (and "mistakes" are just "design opportunities" in disguise)

Cheryl said...

Tons of tips....but measuring your quilt top before you put the borders can save a quilt!! and as said before, enjoy the process. It's such a wonderful hobby. Just thought of another. Take classes from a variety of teachers. Everyone has something different to share.

Salem Stitcher said...

It's hard to pick one tip. My favorite has always been the one Karen named earlier - "if you can't see it on a galloping horse..."

I think the best technique tip I've gotten was how to finish binding without a bump at the join.

Quilt Memories said...

I think my best tip was from several ladies.... YOU CAN DO IT... I am about to get that through my thick head...LOL...
Also to measure a quilt in the middle from top to bottom then in the middle from side to side...makes the quilt lay flat, no wavy sides...Works like a charm...does for me anyway....

quiltmom said...

HI Mrs.G,
I am not sure what my best tip would be but measure twice cut once would be up there.
THe most important part is to enjoy the process- otherwise it gets to be the burden rather than an enjoyable process.
I am learning to appreciate that my work improves but is not perfect - its not about being perfect anyway - Like someone said their really no quilt police ...
Keep having fun so you can create...Those are the quilt adages that I like to live by..
Have a great week,
Regards,
Anna
Anna

Rhonda said...

Well, I'm a day late as usual... but the best tip I got is JUST DO IT! Sometimes I get so hung up with color choices, fabrics, patterns, ect... that I won't start anything or stalled in the middle of a project 'cause I came across a road block and not finishing it. If I tell myself to just make a decision and do it, I'm usually happy with the end result and have fun in the process.

Trudi said...

For me it has to be the freedom you can give some body just by telling them 'its your quilt... as long as YOU like it... ' Freedom to choose what YOU want is sooo liberating. :o)

Jill said...

That's hard. I think the thing I remind myself of most often is to not point out the flaws in my work. I'm pretty sure I read this on someone's blog, but the people who see or receive your work aren't going to notice that 6 of your points are chopped off, one block is sideways and the color of that green is 2 shades darker than the focus fabric. They are going to see art, a labor of love and an incredibly special gift. You may know that there's something you could do better next time, but that's why you have all that other fabric at home.

As for actual sewing advice, strip piecing was a giant light bulb over my head that I still sometimes miss. I cut piles & piles of pieces and then realize halfway through the project that I could have used strips instead.

Nan said...

The best tip I ever got was reading on another quilter's blog about Fons & Porter's Binding Tool. Ever since I've had that tool, my bindings have been wonderful (I'm not saying "perfect" - knock on wood!). Having that tool actually makes putting on bindings (my least favorite part of quilting) a dream.
Another valuable tip was there are no quilting police! That made all the difference in my quilty attitude. It's all about enjoying the time spent being creative.

Carrie P. said...

One of the best tips I got was to iron sewn strips vertically, not horizontally.
They will be less wavy.

*karendianne. said...

Most valuable tip? It wasn't from quilting. Involved in another passion I shared with my Father - he wisely told me and showed me by example - everyone has something to teach you.

He showed me by example. He treated everyone the same, as if they really did have something to contribute. NOT as if they were "new" or "green" and couldn't possibly know anything.

I've learned more about QUILTING by taking this posture than any one single thing.

ranette said...

Best quilting tip I've ever heard is from Brenda P. of the Dear Jane fame...."Finished is better than perfect". I love it...it has really helped me relax and grow as a quilter.

Judy said...

I just found your blog and it's wonderful. I don't have a quilting tip as I'm just starting to get my feet wet with it. My mother is a quilter tho. I am a sewer and lover of aprons old and new.
Judy