We All Learn From Each Other, Right?!

I follow several quilting blogs, many written by people I consider friends.  We may never actually meet, but they cross my mind often and give me a smile.  Luckily, I get to sew and quilt with my bestie every day.  I find that I often learn something from those quilter friends – each and every one of them.

We All Learn and Quilt Differently

Sue and I are not expert sewers or quilters.  Nope, and we never will be.  We don’t even have the desire to be, but we will continue as long as it’s fun.  And it is, every time we get to sew together.  Also, we’re still learning something new quite often.  Recently, my friend Chris from Chris Knits was talking about her August OMG finish.  She mentioned that she had a lot of threads to bury when she finished quilting with her walking foot.

End to end

That comment stuck with me for days.  I often use the walking foot crosshatch design, most recently on the Pixel Heart quilt.  I start and end the stitching in the batting before/after quilting the flimsy in the center of the sandwich.  This eliminates the need for burying any threads.  Unless, of course, you run out of bobbin thread in the middle of a row because you forgot to check how much thread you had left.  Even though you knew you were going to run out any minute.  Truth from personal experience more often than I care to admit.


Let’s say, though, that I didn’t want this design to go edge-to-edge.  Maybe my piece has a border where another design would make it shine.  Then I travel from one row to the next to avoid having any threads to bury.  Do you do that too?

I forgot to mention that I use a piece of masking tape to start my stitching.  It runs from corner to corner, and then I attempt to stitch next to it for the first row.  Attempt because recently the tape was the exact same color as the fabric (see that first picture!).  Let’s just say that first stitching line was a little ~wavy~.  Then I use the guide or the walking foot itself to measure a somewhat consistent distance from the first line.  I have to admit that sometimes I just eyeball it!

I Learn From Long-Arm Quilters too!

Sandra at mmm Quilts recently shared a couple of  quilted pieces that also struck with me.  The first picture on the left made me think immediately that I’m glad I didn’t have a long-arm quilting machine.  Seeing that long expanse of a quilt top waiting to be worked on just made me anxious.  Yup, there it would be just waiting for me to have some inspiration . . .  Now you can see that Sandra found her inspiration, and a lovely one at that!  Some ruler work coupled with FMQ really make those plus signs signs don’t you think?  You must check out her finished published project!

The second photo on the right is a brilliant tip Sandra shared, and one that I really need to grab and run with.  She auditioned some quilting patterns using her Clever chalk marking pen.  Now, I have and have used the chalk marking pen before.  It works great and the marks just brush off.  Here it is being used for marking Tea Flowers, helping with HSTs and working peachy keen.

Tea Flowers 2

Anyway I never, ever would have thought about using it to audition quilting patterns.  When I looked at Sandra’s picture and read her post, it was just SO very obvious.  I told her she was brilliant (another obvious point) and thanked her for sharing her tip.  I suspect she thought I was nuts as she didn’t realize she was sharing a tip.  My point here, to make it perfectly clear (and one might say obvious) is that you never know what you don’t know!  One casual comment can simply change another’s whole way of (quilting) life.

Another Lesson to Learn

That last sentence was the perfect lead-in to my most recent life-changing quilting moment.  A clamp.  A simple, spring-loaded clamp.


I have been complaining about needing a clamp for over a year.  Seriously.  Over a year!  I’m surprised Sue didn’t pick one up and throw it at me.  Anyhoo, we were shopping early one Sunday morning (picture an empty store all to ourselves) and we managed to find this gem.  Granted, it was after the sales clerk pointed it out to us.  We had searched that isle three times, but somehow it did manage to come home with us.  It has changed my quilting life forever!  No longer will I have the quilt top falling on the floor, making me stop quilting, perhaps even uttering a word I shouldn’t.  I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the idea!

Three Last Learn Shoutouts

I have to give Beth at Cooking Up Quilts one last shout out for the floppy feathers.  I really feel that pushed me down the FMQ path, and I thank her for that!  More about that topic is found in the link – I don’t want to bore you with the details again. ~smile~

floppy feathers - Beth Sellers

Beth’s drawing of floppy feathers

For the second shoutout, one more quilting friend sent me two drawings to build on and expand my success with swirls of late.  Vicki of Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting really enjoys quilting these hook swirls:

Vicki said she learned this technique from Angela Walters, and that she uses it often.  I think it was so nice of her to share this with me, and give me examples of one, two and three hooks.  She also shared the overall look coupled with how to move about, which is just priceless.   She’s a good egg, don’t you think?  I found myself drawing this on my mattress when I woke up during the middle of the night.  It put me back to sleep!  HAHA!


This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding all the things I’ve learned from other bloggers or my bestie.  The biggest, most obvious, duh moment that I learned from my bestie is when making the sleep sack longer for our sweet boy.  I was going to make a pattern, put in a longer zipper, pick up some new cuffs that were nice and soft.  It was not going to be a quick project.  Sue said can’t we just take the bottom off, add a piece of fabric and call it a day?  Brilliant, I say!  Why do I have to take the hard route?!

We even had a sweet supervisor for that sewing event.  That’s back when he was just a baby, and we could hold him, and he wondered what the heck I was doing!  What tips have you learned that changed your quilting life??  I would LOVE to hear about it.


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16 Responses

  1. dezertsuz says:

    Yes, I learn things all the time, and I’m not telling how many decades I’ve been quilting! I would LOVE to have a longarm again! It honestly isn’t intimidating when it’s in front of you. You develop a kit of designs that work on anything, designs that are small, designs that are large, and then the ideas just pop into your head. I often woke up with a quilting idea in my head. In fact, at Edi’s last week, after I’d already done all the math and made something, I woke up knowing the simple way to do it and explained to her what to do, so she didn’t have to use the pattern I’d made. LOL

  2. Susan says:

    Thank you for sharing all of these wonderful tips you’ve learned! Keep learning and practicing!

  3. One of my ‘things’ in my birthday post I’m working on this weekend is this very thing, of sharing amongst ourselves. Thank you for the shout-out; I had no idea I was giving tips! I almost NEVER bury threads; who has time for that nonsense unless it’s a show quilt I guess… and I’ve quilted for 20+ years, washed and washed and used and used quilts, and rarely if ever have I noticed quilting coming out. Start with super-tiny stitches (you know how hard the shorter stitch length is to rip out when PP right? and even backstitch one or two as Vicki says, and give ‘er. Another tip to audition quilting is from Tish: she bought a piece of plexiglass, and so did I, from Lowe’s or Home Depot, 30″ square. Place it on your quilt and use the dry erase markers to audition size, shape of designs! I love how you put it, “you never know what you don’t know”. A fried of mine once said she wouldn’t pay for sewing/quilting classes, but I said I always will, and I always will take a class, because you ALWAYS learn something. Great post!

  4. Barbara Esposito, The Quilted B says:

    I am with you ladies – not striving for perfection. I am too busy quilting to try to be perfect! I never bury my threads and may, from time to time, feel guilty about it but then I get over it! However, Cindy Needham has a great tutorial for burying your thread ends where you do not have to continually thread the needle (which would be my choice, should I ever decide I need to bury thread ends ~hahaha~) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n34ggPYamjc . And thank you for all of the tips you ladies have shared!

  5. This was a fun post to read, Roseanne! I absolutely love my online quilting friends for all the learning and inspiration I have gained from them over the years. Such a great community! I quilt like you do – edge to edge, and sometimes going along the edge or back-tracking a bit to get to the next spot. I like my Hera tool (made by Clover) for marking straight lines!

  6. Kathryn says:

    It’s great to read all the tips. I only bury my thread when I run out of bobbin thread. Otherwise I just won’t tell you the bad habit I have – well mostly I just use the machine to knot!!

  7. quiltingmod says:

    You have some great tips here. I definitely try to avoid having to tie off. I’ve heard to use blue painters tape instead of masking tape, but it probably doesn’t matter too much unless you leave it there for a while. I couldn’t find where you got the long-arm pic on the left from, but I love to use long-armers as my inspiration too. I wish I could join the local long-arm group and apply the techniques to my domestic. I’ll have to try that Clover chalk pen. I’ve tried their marking pen, but this could be a great addition. I use clamps to hold my quilts layers to the table edges when I pin them. I do have some trouble with not heading in the wrong direction with the swirl hook, but Angela has some great tutorial videos and quilt alongs.

  8. cheriec12 says:

    This post makes me think of all the bloggers I have looked to on my quilting journey for tips and tricks. Everyone of them are so gracious with their information to help me along the way.

  9. Kathi Riemer says:

    Thank you for the tips! I need to bury. I generally just do a little back stitch. So much to learn.

  10. Dawn Tornes says:

    So many tips and techniques learned from the blogging world and Pinterest! The quilting community is the best!

  11. The tips you shared are awesome. Sometimes we blather on on our blogs but sometimes there are gems we share without even knowing it!

  12. Great tips Roseanne! I too have learned so much from other quilters that blog! I’m super lazy and never bury threads — always find a path to start/finish on the batting or use my fix feature. I too use masking tape —- the clamp is a great idea!

  13. Great tips, Roseanne! Thanks! And yes, Vicki is a good egg 😉 As I was paper piecing yesterday, I was thinking how much my Hera marker has changed that process. I love that tool, not only for scoring the paper when sewing paper foundation, but for marking quilts for quilting too.

  14. Vicki in MN says:

    Thanks for the shout out! So when longarming, I often use teeny tiny stitches for the starts and stops so I don’t have to bury(especially if I can hide them in a ditch. However there are still times I prefer to tie and bury, especially when doing a motif.

  15. chrisknits says:

    I have learned that quilters are the best people!! And the current baby you are reading about is always the cutest baby in the world LOL

  16. Carol S. says:

    I loved reading all these learning things…thank you! I am forever grateful to my quilting friends for all the things I learn from them. The clamp is a brilliant idea!

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