- There's no correct batting for all quilts - each has unique needs.
- Thread for piecing needs to be 100% cotton, thin, and strong.
- Blocks need to be starched, pressed, measured each step of the way. Starch, not Best Press or sizing. You are going to finish the top, quilt the top while it's nice and stiff, and then wash it all in short order. No worry about bugs.
- It's impossible to do nice quilting unless the top was perfectly pieced.
- No, you don't need a long arm.
- No, you don't need a stitch regulator.
- You don't need a larger area to the right of the needle on your machine, but it does make it easier to machine quilt.
- You'd be better off putting your $ into a proper fitting sewing table, cutting table, chair, good lighting, etc. than continuing to buy FQs or jelly rolls. Yes the good stuff is expensive, but look what we put into more and more stash and kits, etc. It adds up too.
- More quilting in the quilt makes goofs show up less, yet beginners often quilt as far apart as possible.
- Use pins to baste, not spray baste. Then anchor it all with some ditch quilting. Remove pins as you can, and do more intricate quilting.
- Invisible thread is good for quilting, but you need the right brands.
- Don't wear shoes while you do patchwork. You can't feel the machine as well.
- Become good friends with your machine. You should be able to feel and hear how it's going.
- Before buying thread, bobbins, etc., do some research. Who came out with it and why? If it's an art quilter, and you make baby quilts, what works for them won't work for you, etc.
- Some of the older machines are the best. You don't need the bells and whistles. The fewer the better.
- Harriet's daughter, Carrie, is doing the first ever comparative study on thread for her Master's Degree. She is using equipment to simulate aging, judge strength, ability to hide in the fabric, etc. Some of the thread companies aren't too happy about it. Others are all for it.
I could go on forever. Three days of straight information and guidance. If ever you have a chance to take classes with Harriet Hargrave, go for it. She is the one who invented quilting on your home sewing machine. Her applique is wonderful too. She truly does create and teach how to create heirloom quilts made by machine and all by you (in case you're like me and must do the entire quilt yourself -- not just the top!).
If you can't take classes with her, her books are excellent. Very step-by-step details, super photos, etc. They are older and can be harder to find. But the information is still current and she thinks it would be nuts to reprint them.
She does have one new book out, called "Freshman Year." More on that later.