It has been a long while since I’ve sat down to write a blog post… honestly, it is 2020… so a few weeks might as well seem like a few years with all that has happened. Right?!? I’m really happy to be back writing educational blog posts that I hope this brings you answers to all of your quilting wonderings!
These are the quilting questions that most often come up in emails from quilters.
FYI – You’re always welcome to contact me if you have any questions. I’m available and happy to help sort out any issues you’re having or if you just need a second opinion. 😘
Hey, make sure and pin the image below so you can come back to this post whenever you need to!
What stitch length should I use?
When I am quilting on my machine I like to stick to a 3.0 or a 3.2. (That is just personal preference. A longer stitch makes things go a little faster and it kind of resembles the classic hand quilting stitch length in my opinion.) When I am piecing, you’ll need a much smaller stitch length. I like to use a 2.2 or 2.4 length. Your pieces have less likely a chance of coming apart on the edges as well as a stronger hold on the quilt over time. You can read more and see pictures here.
Do I need a fancy sewing machine to start quilting?
This is often the biggest drawback for people who are just getting into quilting. wondering if you have to spend a lot of money to get a “good” sewing machine. The answer is no, it doesn’t have to be fancy and have all the bells and whistles. Some of those bells are nice later on if you want to experiment more but the only requirement is that the machine is in good working order. The less trouble shooting you have to be doing, the more time you can spend sewing and enjoying your craft.
The other thing to consider is making sure that the sewing machine you choose has a wide throat for quilting. The “throat” is the open part in between where your needle sews and the outer right side of your machine. Once you start quilting, you’ll end up rolling your quilt up and feeding it through that space. the tighter it is, the harder you’re going to find the quilt struggle will be.
You can also read this post about the best sewing machine deals as well as read more about the machine I chose and why I absolutely LOVE my Janome machine.
What do you suggest for quilting/craft room organization?
Well… I suggest what works best for your brain.
If you’re a really neat and tidy (everything has it’s place, order is king) then you need to work with that and design your space around that mentality…
If you’re good with just a box to throw your tools in or a few drawers where things are roughly where you know where they should be… work with that.
I have lots of posts on organization, but I can’t stress enough that as beautiful as some of those spaces may turn out to be… you can’t fight who you truly are! Once you find a perfect blend of your personality and a way to organize your tools… THATS when you find the perfect sweet spot of contentment.
Here is a list of my favorite tools and organization products: My Favorite Things
For more ideas on organization, see some links below:
- Fabric Storage: What Works For Me + A Video!
- Office Supplies you can use in your Sewing Room
- Keeping A Clean Sewing Space: A How to
- Organizing your sewing/craft room with Dollar Store back to school sales!
- The Ultimate Sewing Space Checklist!
- Quilting Tools I Can’t Live Without
- Cheap Sewing Room Storage (this one is SUPER popular)
- Scrap Fabric Storage! & What to do with them! (cheap fabric storage)
Um… Triangles are hard & scary! Help?
Yes, they SEEM hard… but you can do them! (and I promise you won’t shed a tear while you do it!) Check out this FREE pattern of mine 🙂 You can get it here. I give you a way to make a wonderful triangle quilt without all the fuss and not one single Y seam!
What is a good pattern for a beginner quilter?
How detailed do you want to get? Simple Free patterns like the ones in this post and this one are a good place to start. Find a pattern that you LOVE. Make sure it doesn’t have a whole lot of curves or odd sized pieces. And if you can… make sure you have a quilting friend you can call on if you need help.
I can’t seem to get my seams/corners to line up?
There are a few things you need to check on this one.
1) Are all of your pieces cut accurately? If yes, then...
2) Are all of your seams an even 1/4″ (or whatever the pattern specifies?) It may not seem like it but the tiny-est fraction of an inch can throw off your row of fabric and by the end of it you’ll have no hope of getting those seams to line up. If they are accurate and consistent…
3) Have you tried nesting your seams? This is a method in which you can get the seams to sit right when you’re sewing that will keep them from shifting under your needle. Check out this video below.
Where can I get deals on fabrics?
Hey, we all try to save when we can. What we do isn’t a cheap hobby.
I have lots of suggestions for getting the best deals on fabrics for you!
If you are shopping and you happen to find a really good deal on fabric, stock up. You can use simple fabrics for backings or incorporate it with other more expensive fabrics to keep the overall cost down.
- Fabric Shopping – The Smart Way To Do It in 6 Steps
- The BEST Places To Buy Fabric Online!
- Should You Pre-Wash Your Fabrics?
Check the remnant bin when you shop. A lot of times you’ll find odds and ends of bolts that are around 15-30% off just to get rid of anything that is less than a yard… aka a “remnant” fabric.
Always check for coupons or discounts. Big chain stores tend to jack up their prices a little bit so they can offer super good coupons every once in a while and we all feel like we’re getting an amazing deal. It is kind of a part of shopping now in just about every industry… so knowing this, USE those coupons! Don’t pay full price for it if you can help it.
In smaller quilt shops, don’t be afraid to ask if they have any type of frequent buyer program or coupon programs. My local quilt shop offers a 10% discount to quilt guild memberships.
They also give you a $25 gift card when you spend a certain amount… I always turn right around and use it in their store right away haha but still! Yay for more fabric, right?!
Every little bit helps!
What do all the quilting abbreviations and terms mean?
When you’re first starting out it is almost like some secret alien language that you’re forced to try and decipher…. QAL? WIP? RST? HST? …….WHAT THE WHAT?
I made a long list of really helpful terms that you will probably run across at one point or another on your quilting journey.
We quilters might be a little odd at times, but we’re not aliens… you’ll pick up on the terminology rather quickly with this FREE handy guide.
Do you have tips on caring for your quilt to make it last?
Yes! When I first started quilting, my kids were little and I was completely germ-paranoid… My solution (for everything) was to wash on extra hot setting in the washer and basically boil away any dirt on my precious quilts.
Seems like the best solution, right?
Wrong. Once I learned better, I started washing my quilts differently and I can completely tell the difference in wear and tear from those first sweet quilts.
We spend so much time, energy and money making these quilts… you really want to give them their best shot at lasting at least as long as you do, right? One would hope that these quilts will be treasured gifts from you for loved ones to hold onto, snuggle under, use and pass on down to another generation in the future!
I can’t change the fate of my first few quilts… but I can make sure that people out there don’t follow their instincts and make the same mistakes.
I created a FREE download that has resonated with so many quilters. I actually created and designed it so nicely that you can GIFT it with your quilts and rest easy knowing the recipient will know how to care for their quilts too!
Save the quilts of the world, my friends!
Which brings me to… what should I gift with my quilt?
As if your time, blood sweat and (probably) tears weren’t enough! – Make sure that your recipient knows how much you put into making their quilt.
You don’t have to brag or go into a long detailed story about the night you were up until 4am picking out stubborn seams and going cross eyed… but I think people who don’t quilt don’t quite understand the level of intuition and creative planning that goes into making a quilt.
We don’t just slap some fabric scraps together and stitch it up real quick… no. There are so many steps involved!
Thats why with the above Quilt Care 101 Download I also included a Quilt history form so that you can record those little details that went into making the quilt. Maybe state the reason why you chose the color pink and why the pattern with peony flowers represents the strength you see in your future granddaughter, even though she is 2 years old and fierce as can be. She will ADORE reading about it one day.
I think those memories are really important to record.
I also have a list of 4 Important things you should do when you gift a quilt (psst… I already told you about the quilt care sheet so… really, there are only 3 more things, but they’re pretty important so don’t skip them!)
I hope that I’ve answered some of your most important questions. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me. I’m happy to help!