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Posts Tagged ‘sew’

I hope last week was fantastic and that you have been looking forward to this week’s blog.  I put together a new quilt this week using a pinwheel block setting; you can see it in my Etsy shop, http://www.etsy.com/shop/GiftsbySheri?ref=si_shop.   What do you think?  Is it something you get ideas from?  It is a perfect size to be used for a variety of uses.  I also posted a close up picture of a couple of blocks on my blog.

Today I promised I would explore the world of tools that you need to quilt.  Let’s start with the main items:

  • Sewing Machine
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Ruler(s)
  • Pins
  • Disappearing ink fabric marker

Now, I have made this list the most very basic listing possible.  Remember, we are trying to take the “scare” out of quilting. 

Let’s start with item #1 the sewing machine.  If this topic is brought up there will be many opinions.  Let me cut to the chase.  The cost of a decent machine begins around $500 dollars.  A mid-range machine that will last for years and do everything you need plus a few you don’t, around $2000.  The grand dream machine will start around $8000 depending on what options you choose. 

Hopefully you are over your state of shock.  I have a mid-range and high-end dream machine.  Except for embroidery on my high end machine, my mid-range does everything I need for quilting.  You need basic stitch functionality.  Quilting does not require anything fancy.  It is what you choose to do that can make having those extra decorative stitching functions fun. 

Here is the secret….it does not matter what machine you choose, what matters is having a shop that will help you take care of the machine and teach you how to use every function the machine has.  When you are buying a machine, don’t look solely at the price tag.  You can get a great deal, but if the dealer offers no support, this will cost you much more in the long run.  See if your machine dealer offers, classes, free machine tuning, trade-in value if you decide to trade up later, phone support, etc.  Believe me support is what is important. 

In addition to the machine, you will want the following add on items that are usally not included with your machine:

  • Straight stitch plate
  • Stitch in the ditch foot
  • ¼” foot with edge guide
  • Walking foot (unless your machine has a built in one—this is a feature I LOVE and highly recommend).

I could go on for hours, but there is no need.  Explore every machine seller within a good driving distance, find the one you like, and then pick your machine.  At the high end, all machines are basically the same, differing features are usually minimal.

Next the Rotary Cutter, there is not much to say about this except it will be one of your most heavily used items.  You only need the 45mm rotary cutter with extra blades.  The smaller rotary cutter is something you can add to your collection at a later date.

The cutting mat is an obvious need with the rotary cutter.  The minimum size needed is the 36” x 24”.  Like most things the mat can be a costly investment; however, if you have a store that offers a 50% or 40% off coupon for one item every week this is a great item to use it on.

Next is the ruler.  Remember I am only suggesting the bare minimum items needed.  My most useful rulers are the clear acrylic 6 ½” x 24 ½”.  The next most used one I have is the 6 ½” square.  You can get a lot of use out of these two rulers and add others as you progress. 

Small but important are pins.  Pins could be a blog unto themselves, but I promised simplicity.  You will need some silk pins and some long pins with flat heads. 

Last but not least is the disappearing ink fabric marker.  Not used for every pattern, but when you need it, you need it!

Once you have all of the above items, you are basically equipped to quilt.  There are tons of other items on the market that look useful.  The truth is, some are and some are not.  Start with the basics and adapt needs as you progress.  You can spend a lot of money on items that look great and you never use.  Trust me I have drawers full of these things. 

Next week I focus on fabrics.  If you have other topics you would like let me know.

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In this blog I will attempt to talk about why you may want to quilt.  In my introduction I talked about quilting being the one thing that that transcends time.  Historically I can think of nothing else that has the same enduring quality as a quilt to display love.  If a soldier was lucky, he would have one quilt of his own to comfort and protect him.  The message and symbols in the quilt may have been stitched for him by his mom, wife or a group of women determined to send the soldier off to war with as much love and caring as they could offer.  Wrapped in this quilt the soldier surely never felt alone.  The quilt is a hug that endures generations.   Quilts welcomes babies, congratulate new brides and grooms, cover sleeping children (yes even the grumpy teenagers), comfort the sick and give us memories of long lost family and friends.

 I am certain I am overly nostalgic when it comes to quilts.  I do know that quilts were very often made out of necessity.  Quilts were a way to use every scrap of fabric possible from flour bags to worn clothing.   These quilts kept families warm in the winter and comforted in times of need.  And of course the stories continue.

When I am quilting, I find myself relaxed and I take comfort knowing that I am performing a task that has been repeated billions of times throughout history.  I am picking fabrics, carefully choosing a design, and putting every bit of love and attention to detail as possible into my creation.  Sometimes I am free to splurge and buy everything I need to make an entire quilt, sparing no expense.  At other times I am checking my scraps to see what will work together.  I want the person receiving the quilt to know that it was made especially for them and that a quilt is made to be used.  The wonderful thing about quilts is that the more they are used, the softer they become. 

When my daughter and grandson moved away, I took his baby receiving blankets and pieced together a new large blanket for him.  This was a practical use of the fabric, and a way to piece together that short period of baby time that goes by so fast.   My grandson loved the blanket and carried it to daycare…..a hug across the miles.

Ok, so maybe this does not answer why you should quilt.  I guess I can’t tell you why you should.  But knowing you are a part of a larger group of strong women sometimes eases the burden of the day.  I hope you will want to continue a long tradition.  Think about joining centuries of quilters, in my next blog I will talk about basic items you will need to get started.

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