Basically what Till has been saying dude. Just come back from my friends house where I've been welding his Bay window all day.
I taught myself to weld back in 1996 at the age of 19 when I first started restoring one of my bugs. Correct preparation is certainly one of the keys if the dreaded "spatter" is to be avoided.
Typical that I'm in the NW now as I would help you out for free if you were close.
There are quite few variables with it such as wire speed, angle at which you hold the torch, distance of wire tip from surface to be welded, ampage setting , speed at which you weld.
Is there a local club you can join as there would very likely be someone close that could help.