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I just finished a cute baby quilt done by a new piecer. She embroidered Disney characters, sashed them and built a cute quilt top. Being a new quilter ( and I suppose wanting to utilize her embroidery machine) she embroidered the squares normally and then set them on point. Here was Tinkerbell, Snow White, Bambi etc-- all tilted to the left. She did a triple sashing with a nine-patch cornerstone and had quite a bit of uneven piecing--very evident since the sashings were tiny.

I would love to offer her some advice--both with making the embroideries work well and also piecing hints. This is her second quilt (she gave me its twin a year ago and I finished it without comment or suggestions offered.) She shared that she pieces to "relax" from a stressful medical job and I don't want to scare her off or hurt her feelings. All I can see when I look at her quilt are the slanted characters! But the baby won't mind at all...

 

Oh wise ones--send me some thoughts about this one. 

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Nope...Linda...tell her you love her quilt, but her princesses are leaning and then tell her how to cut them so they are upright, but still on point.  She will appreciate everything you teach her.  She will thank you for your honesty and she will make better quilts. 

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I agree tread lightly.  You might offer her very gentle suggestions but I for one have had my work ripped apart by less than gentle quilters and it feels awful.  I'm sure she has a lot of respect for you and what you do so well - and you have the power to some degree to really encourage her to do her best or break her heart and shy her away from quilting altogether...or at least avoid you for fear of her work being judged.  :)

 

For me personally, unless it creates an issue with the quilting, I might avoid pointing out the flaws in her work.  Only because, just as Heidi says, not everyone strives to get better.  That's ok too, I think we all have different levels of passion for what we do, and there is room for all of us!  :)

 

Good luck with whatever you choose!

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The "teacher" in me would offer to help her and encourage her in her sewing. Show and explain the "best" ways or ways that I have found helpful for me and others. It's not what you do but HOW you do it that really matters! Linda, you are such a caring person and it shows. You know her a little and will figure it out!  Good luck! You are a great teacher to us!!!!

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I've done a number of "first quilts" for people and they were less than perfect, shall we say. One gal was a friend of my daughter's who I have known most of her life. She made a baby quilt for her first baby. She was so proud of it! She also said she had no idea of what to do but both her Mother and her MIL (who lives with them) told her what to do. Note: neither one ever quilted before, but they sewed clothing for many years.

I complemented her choice of colors and said I was so excited she was learning to quilt. I quilted a daisy panto on it and also bound it for her. It was so adorable and Kate loved it. When I returned the quilt to her I also gave her several beginner quilting books that were in my bookcase collecting dust. I told her that these books might help her do things an easier way since they were written by quilters and not garment construction specialists and there is a difference. She was very happy to get the books and I said she should e-mail me with any questions she had and I would be glad to talk her through the process.

That was a real win-win situation.

I have also referred a few gals to u-tube videos. They thanked me for that resource. Craftsy was another suggestion. I said the best way to learn techniques was to take classes at their LQS where they could ask questions and have the teacher right there to help. Also, it would be fun to be in the company of other beginner quilters and share stories and some laughs.

But, there is a very fine line between being helpful and critical; like walking a tight rope in a circus.

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I think we all have a "quilter" in us that likes things done the "right"way.  You know the one that says perfect seams and points, blocks and borders straight and true....the one that sometimes you would like to throw off a cliff when things aren;t going well as we construct a quilt.  I love that your client pieces for relaxation and forgive the pun - peace in busy times.  If her work is left leaning, not too perfect and wonky - I think it should be celebrated!  She quilts for joy and I think sometimes we forget how wonderful that feeling is.  My thoughts are to encourage her to continue and to share the title of your favourite beginner quilting book as you are noticing that she seems to be developing a real interest in quilting.  I would stay away from any suggestions that there was a better way to have constructed the quilt that is already done.  My wish would be that your client look at that quilt with pride, not "I should have..."  There is always the next quilt to improve on.......

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Linda,

 

You are one of the most tactful folks any of us know.  You always seem to find the right words to deal with customers.  Tread lightly - ask your customer if she has a quilting group or anyone to learn from as she is on her quilting journey.  She is a pretty brave soul if her first (or second) quilt has blocks set on point.  If piecing is to relax from a stressful job, she may not have the time for classes at a LQS or a guild.  You could suggest books or other resources that have been helpful to you on your own journey.

 

And please let us know what you decide to do and how it goes over.

 

Lynn

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Linda,

 

I'm curious to know how you handled this situation for selfish reasons.  Tomorrow or the next day, a customer will pick up a quilt; it's an artsy thing for a local school auction/fund raiser.  Later, I'll post the background story & pictures.  For now, let's say that someone had a great idea and partially good execution.  Had she come to me (or any quilter) first, we could have guided her so that the end product was better.  As it was, I was given a stack of blocks (none squared or the same size) of a difficult fabric and asked to piece the top and then quilt it.  I have fallen in love with the end product.  However, II want to keep this customer from EVER doing this to another quilter, but I don't want to discourage the creativity that went into this project.

 

Lynn

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Hi Lynn,

  When she came to get it last week, I started the conversation by pointing out all the good things about the quilt. Then I asked her if she would ever make another one like this (she has had me quilt two) and she said an emphatic "No". I shared that there were lots of ways to use embroidery (which she loves) in blocks and lots of different ways to set the squares. No mention of the tilted squares and I think she's glad this one will be given away soon.

 

I think dealing with a non-quilter as you are, I would offer to loan a piecing book or steer them towards the library or local guild for some basic instructions. Telling her that the blocks need to be squared and perhaps the same size will help with the construction. Or let her know she needs to assemble the top herself and offer her some pointers.

 

I'm all for educating a customer if they ask for help and I'd never want to hurt someones feelings by commenting on their piecing. I've seen and quilted some interesting stuff (including open seams where the space was wide enough for the batting to peek through!) and seldom have I made suggestions. I'm very casual when I mention "There was some fullness in the borders and in order to keep the quilt flat and square I stitched a pleat here"--with a pin to mark the spot and suggestions for hand-stitching it closed. Not criticism--just the facts, ma'am. :)

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I recently quilted a piece for the owner of the lqs. She gave me the backing already sewn, and said it was plenty big. She had cut 9 yards for a queen size top. I didn't pay any attention until I went to load it. That backer was 162"long. She had cut the hunk in half, instead of thirds. I must admit, I just cut off the additional length, loaded the top sideways, and didn't say anything until she saw the finished quilt...and a ton of leftover backing fabric. She then asked "how do i build a back?" I thought she would have known, but even the owner of the lqs needs a little help sometimes!

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I think your art quilter is going to welcome suggestions...or will be glad you identified problems and offered solutions.  I have begun a friendship with an art quilter, and he is happy to do whatever I need done to ensure the highest quality final product.  Using unconventional quilt fabric takes extra care, and often, extra steps.  Just level with the customer.  Tell her you would love to collaborate on future projects and have her discuss the projects with you every step of the way, from design concept to fabric selection...just so you can, for instance, suggest cutting the blocks bigger to allow for squaring up, back with stabilizer, or whatever you both decide needs to be done to prepare the fabric for  quilting.  Your artist wants a beautiful finished product, and will not be "offended." To a person who is a piecer, the piecing is the only objective in making a quilt.  Its a different mind set for an artist. 

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I recently quilted a piece for the owner of the lqs. She gave me the backing already sewn, and said it was plenty big. She had cut 9 yards for a queen size top. I didn't pay any attention until I went to load it. That backer was 162"long. She had cut the hunk in half, instead of thirds. I must admit, I just cut off the additional length, loaded the top sideways, and didn't say anything until she saw the finished quilt...and a ton of leftover backing fabric. She then asked "how do i build a back?" I thought she would have known, but even the owner of the lqs needs a little help sometimes!

 

 

I guess just because she owns the shop doesn't mean she knows much about the actual process of making a quilt ????   I wonder what kind of advice she gives her customers.    :o    

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Linda, fortunately, because I am in the shop often, she refers people to me if needbe. I give advice on fabrics, cutting, and the quilting process too. She leans on me. I was surprised she messed her backing up. I think she was in a rush. She must have not ben thinking. And, no, the quilting side of the business is an add-on. They were first a yarn store!

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