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My First Quilt - Yikes!

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I am ready to quilt my first two quilts on my Milli (Milton for short) and I'm really nervous. My CQ hasn't come in yet, so I am going to try to practice before it gets here.

If y'all have any ideas on the style, let me know. The green quilt, my customer wants a star in each corner (I think I can pull that one off) and some kind of star-vine combo on the borders but what do I do in the middle? Cross-hatch? This is a baby boy quilt but she doesn't want any sports or "boy" type designs.

2nd quilt - basic rail fence quilt for a co-worker. Stitch in the ditch only or does anyone see any ideas that just pop out.

Any advice is welcome!


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Sorry - still a newbie...how do I attach pictures? The only pictures I have are at http://www.yeoldeforest.com/Completed_Quilts.html for these quilts..so let me know how to show pictures too, please. I clicked on attachment, but I didn't see a file attach after posting. :(

The quilts I have questions about are Pat's Rail Fence and Carol's 1st quilt further down on the page.

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I'm not sure that I got that right. You are a newbie and one of your first quilts needs stitch in the ditch. Is that right?

You are a brave one, girl. My SID looked awful the first year. If I had to SID around an inner border, I quilt the quilt then did the SID on my Bernina. I do some SID now but it is such a pain that I charge alot for it. Anything with straight lines, especially diagonal straight lines is premium work.

My hat is off to you for your enthusiasm. Go for it.

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Hi Joanne--

Very nice tops and I love the "Undersea" top featured on your opening page.

Here's my 2 cents for the tops you have waiting--

The Rail Fence will be difficult to SID if you aren't comfortable and practiced in the technique. It's not easy on the longarm but it is doable.

A nice curvey overall in a variegated thread would contrast with the straight lines of the rails and soften the design.

Or how about running a continuous design (loops, leaves, hearts, shells, any meander with an extra something on it) to run on the darkest color. The other area of 3 rails could be filled with any graceful filler---peacock filler, echoed feathers, fat loops, ribbon meander, etc.

The green top sure has some big areas to fill. Continue the star motif over the whole thing with a more structured pattern in the borders and an overall in those big blocks. Darlene Epp has a neat star overall in her Pocket Guides that has clouds as the meander and stars hanging off.

It's so nice to get lots of ideas as you develop your own style and recognizable techniques. Good luck and I hope this is helpful.

PS--go to webshots, and search "rail fence quilts" or "baby quilts" to have hundreds of examples of each to view. Great place for inspiration.

Linda Rech

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I'm so excited that you're ready to go on your first customer quilts! These gals have shared great advice. Any selection you make would work very well on the two quilts.

As for the stitching in the ditch, if you don't feel confident in it just yet, find a "cheater" panel at the store and practice using the extended base and ruler to quilt around all the patches. Be sure to put something "grippy" on the underside of the ruler that you are using. My personal favorite is sticky sandpaper snippets. You can occasionally find these in the notions section of the quilt shop, or you can buy adhesive sandpaper at the hardware store and cut a few small squares to attach to the ruler. Other people use "Grid Grip" available in quilt shops, or even dabs of rubber cement. I've even been known to use bathtub decals!

If you want to use the stitch regulator for stitching in the ditch, increase the number of stitches per inch to 12 or more. Taking smaller stitches will make it easier to control the sewing head as you move along the ruler.

Use gentle downward pressure on the ruler (too much will make the machine difficult to move, and could cause the rear wheel encoders to malfunction) and guide the machine along the ruler's edge. Try to keep your thumb and forefinger (on either hand) always pointed toward the foot of the machine for safety. With the stitch regulator on, you can drive the machine with either handle, so sometimes it might be easier to hold the ruler with your left hand, sometimes with your right.

If you want to stitch in the ditch without the regulator, then slow the motor speed down to 3-4, and use the right handle's blue button to turn the machine on. Any button will turn the machine off, but you'll have to become adept at using the right handle often in this mode.

Good luck--can't wait to see photos when they are done!


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Why not a panto on the rail fence? They turn out so nice and on a quilt with so many colors it would be beautiful and kinda pull it all together. Or, my guess is that you would like to practise SID. Well, using monofilament thread helps mask the places that you go a bit "out of the ditch". And if you prefer to use thread for the SID just choose a really thin thread like Bottom Line. Dawn gave some great advise so just go for it and you will be surprised at how good you will get by the time you are finished the quilt.

Good luck and show us when you're done!


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You guys are so great! Hi Dawn....my quilting diva friend:) !!!!

Such great ideas...I am going to print them all, then take the plunge...

My quilt was the rail fence --> "Oriental Express" on the website...so I think I will try all of Dawn's wonderful SID techniques on my quilt. Of course, I will probably be my own worst critic.

I love the ideas of the pantos on the other two...and will check out the suggestions...so many choices, so little time...sigh....

So a few more practice 'til I drop quilts (plain muslim) and off to begin my real adventures...

I'll post pics of the finished quilts in the next week or so.

Thanks again for everyone's advice!:)

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