7 Habits of Highly Successful Quilters

These habits are not endorsed by anyone in particular and are things you’ve probably thought or heard before. I am here to back you up! Consider this a “RIGHT ON, SISTA!” kind of article!

  1. Enjoy what you’re doing. The happiest and most successful (if you judge success by the amount of happiness it produces….and I do) quilters love the process. That little (or large) smidgen of joy when seeing the fabric for the first time! The idea that pops into the brain, the pattern that is just right! Cutting then sewing, borders then binding! It’s all got “smiling like a maniac” potential. If it isn’t making you happy, put it aside until it does. 
  2. It’s okay that your project isn’t perfect. No, I’m serious. For the most part, we quiltmakers create gifts. These gifts are usually given to people we love, or babies. Sometimes we might make something for an auction or raffle, but for me personally, five out of seven quilts leave my house. With that said, people we love are just not going to critique something we’ve made for them. Babies will spit up on a perfect quilt just as much as a regular one. No one is going to judge little imperfections. (This is assuming you aren’t making quilts to show.) Even raffle or auction quilts don’t have to be “perfect” because I will tell you something: the people who purchase tickets or bid on quilts often do so because they are not a quiltmaker. I’m not saying let every single mistake slide, I’m just saying cut yourself some slack.
  3. Be informed on new things. There are always new fabrics, new tools, new patterns, new layouts – – quilting is a business! It’s good to learn some new tricks, and see how well they incorporate into what YOU do. Recently paper piecing has come back into the limelight. Like. It’s. New. It’s so not new, but the designs are new and dare I say it, more modern. More what many young quilters want to do now. There are new templates, which are so much easier to use than cardboard ones. Anyway, new isn’t always bad, nor is it always good. It’s just recent. Learn as much as possible. Read magazines and books about quilting, watch tutorials all the time! Learn, learn, learn!
  4. Teach & share your knowledge. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. You don’t have to have a classroom full of students. When someone admires what you’ve made, offer to teach them to make one. They may freak out and run away, but they may say yes. My mother in law grew up watching her mother quilt. And I mean old school quilting. Cardboard templates, hand piecing and quilting, using scraps, the whole nine yards. When I started to quilt, she wanted to learn. We started slow and her skills have grown since then. It’s not the same as what her mom did, but it’s similar enough to feel the connection. I have a dear friend who started quilting when she learned she was to be a grandma. We share ideas and encouragement in this too now. Even if you’re new to quilting, you can teach. 
  5. Make time to quilt. Some days I feel like I hardly get any time to breathe, much less sew. But if I just take a few minutes here and there, I can accomplish much more than if I don’t. Time spent sewing is never wasted. The way I “do” my week changes how much time I get to stitch. I try to have a day that I stay in and sew. This means staying IN the sewing room for several hours, making a real dent in a project. This is how I prefer to work. If I can get two days per week like this, I can almost complete a top. But life always seems to require something of me, and the lovely stitch-time is put on hold. I dont have a perfect answer for this. Make time, take time, find time….it’ll be worth it.
  6. It’s okay to do things your own way. So let’s say you have a pattern that requires certain fabrics, templates, etc. Obviously one can “make” one’s own fat quarters. One can use fabrics they like, instead of following the crowd. As much as I LOVE the Swoon blocks, or the Snapshots blocks (a quiltalong Fat Quarter Shop did in 2015), I am not thrilled that the quilts look all the same. Let me say again, I LOVE THE FABRICS AND THE BLOCKS, it’s just that the quilts are the same colors. Now, it’s possible that some quilters just need some guidance in that. As they gain more experience and confidence, the ability to change things up will come naturally, I think. 
  7. Let it go (if it isn’t working). I’m serious on this one, people. I know we have time and money involved in our creation process, but there is a point of no return. When it doesn’t look like it should, check the instructions….if it’s salvageable, do what you can. If you’ve already taken it apart two or three times and the pieces aren’t playing nice, say goodbye. It’s okay to have a failure here and there. It happens to all of us, it’s how we learn what not to do. Years ago I started a “modern” quilt for a wedding gift. This was before Modern quilting and piecing was a thing. It was a disaster. I used non-cotton fabrics and in my head it really was going to work…but on the table, well, no. It was a ridiculous mess. Would it still read “mess” to me today? I’m not sure. If I still have it I’ll let you know. So be free to let it go if you must.

Finally, a few pics of what I’ve been doing lately.


This is going to be a quilt for my niece who will arrive in August. When her brother (to be) was tiny I made him an owl quilt. I found these darling charm packs and knew she would also need an owl quilt! I was told not to use a lot of pink. Humph. 🙄

 Here is a pic of a gift I sent out last week. I’m not sure it’s reached the recipients yet, so no details here on that. Maybe after it’s delivered I’ll have more to say.


Love the colors!

Lastly, after watching Leah Day put together an adorable quilt using solids and polka dot fabrics. I had some! So I tried to do what she did (after writing about not copying, I should just shut up) but I could not get the layout “just so.” So I changed it!

This was after trimming a hundred zillion squares. Oy. Pretty though. (It’s the Hokey Pokey Crazy Quilt)


Leah Day used the pinwheel block along with another one, and the layout was really sweet. 

But I decided to use the little diamond shapes, just to make it my own.

It seemed to work out alright, even though I don’t have them all together yet. It’s coming along.

Well, I hope everyone has a good week! I’m hoping to have a sew day on Wednesday. It usually works out in my favor. 😉

LL

March was a BLUR!!!

First of all, I must apologize for neglecting my blog…..I’ve been doing a wee bit of sewing, but not too much sharing. Well, that’s only half true, I’ve been on Instagram! What a nice bunch of people! So if you’re friends (or whatever they call it) with me there, you may have seen these pics already. 

BUT, there’s a story and Instagram doesn’t have this scoop. 😉

So, I finally got the binding on my MIL’s quilt that she sent to me last year around this time. It’s not that it was hard, it’s just not my fave thing to do. I’ll be sending this one her way next week.


It turned out really nice, the colors are perfect and a striped binding is always awesome.

Once I finished the tall tales blocks (see the previous post) I wanted something that was not paper piecing. I found my Swoon blocks that I had started last year and made two more. 


They are completely sewn together now. I am not crazy about the fabrics anymore. How did THAT happen!? So I’m putting it aside until I either change my mind or need a quick “add sashing and borders and finish it up” project. I’ll get back to it sometime. Again, the Swoon block is very easy to put together, but the cutting! Talk about confusion. It’s probably me, but goodness, I double checked myself a zillion times.

Now, the estate sale haul! Yesterday there was a local estate sale and since it was right behind the grocery store, I stopped in. There was a pretty good sized selection of cotton fabric to look thru. The first lady who commented to me about it said, “I can’t believe someone measured all this!” I laughed, but I was glad that “someone” did!

So, here is the first pic.


I KNOW! Lorelie fabrics! Three of them have cats on them, but the Bathing Beauties! How cute is that!? I always enjoy fabric from this company, but I never buy it, I don’t know why! So excited to use them in something fun!

Next up are some fabrics that just needed to come home with me….


The “golds” are just lovely. I used up a lot of my yellow fabrics making that Minion quilt last fall, so it’s nice to get a few to mix in with what’s left. And the ones with pink, well, I like pink. I like it a lot. 

Next is a bunch of fabrics designed by Laurel Burch. See the Christmas trees in the pic above? Well, that’s the only piece that is seasonal, but the color in the others! So vibrant and bright! Lookit.


Cats, hummingbirds, butterflies and Christmas trees…. I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but I’m thrilled to have it.

I love love love this next group of fabrics! Especially the third one! And the second one! I dont know if they were meant to work together, but I love them! Gotta figure out something cool for them. Husband decided the first one looked oriental so it’s going into that pile.


Next are some batiks. I usually don’t go for batiks but the ones I brought home were just beautiful.


See? They’re gorgeous. So I WILL figure out a project that will make them shine! 

So as March comes to an end, I am feeling blessed. The husband spent most of the month in Ireland, for work. One would think I’d have had oodles of time to sew, but I didn’t. Life is busy and full and rich. 

I am so blessed.

Have a great weekend, friends.

LL

If you want to catch me on Instagram – – – @nettethequilter

😀

Tall Tales Block, it’s not you, it’s me….

Paper piecing, right? One of the things I did a lot of at the beginning of my quilting story (yes, pun intended!). Carol Doak was my hero as she taught me through books and whenever I could catch her on Simply Quilts. 

But people, it’s been a while. So now that I’m multi social media minded, I discover the Tall Tales block. It’s a BOOK! It’s got to be the most adorable thing I’ve seen in ages.  And yes, it’s paper pieced. As we are avid book readers, I really wanted to give it a try.

My first one:


Not bad for a first. And yes, those are the same fabrics from two recent projects. When I decided to jump in, I didn’t want to use something I cared about in case things went badly. Since I had these pieces laying around (they were about 12″ x 14) they would do to be my sample book blocks. 

When I make a bunch of the same block, whether it’s paper pieced or regular, I make one to see how it goes. See if there are quirks in the pattern, or if I miscut I’ve only done so for one block. This works for me. I like to have a little assembly line set up, so once the “sample” is done, I can go to town.

I am nowhere near town, friends.


These are most of my supplies, and block parts. Once I make a book block without having to unsew, I will assembly line the rest. I’m on block five. Geez. One at a time going on here……

As I’ve struggled along, I’ve remembered tips from long ago. The postcard trick (I’m using a bookmark), the add a quarter and add an eighth rulers that help with trimming.  Yes, now that I have only four blocks to go, I’m almost with the program.


Even though it’s been a bit of a challenge today, I like the blocks. A lot. Maybe things will go smoother tomorrow. 

I recently finished what I hope is my last tshirt quilt. At least for a while. A long while.



Have a great Sunday, friends.

LL

Why can’t I just save it?

Seriously people, what is wrong with me? I started a project the other day, my Circle quilt. I used a set of fat quarters that I had taken apart sometime last year. I made the binding for it yesterday and half-heartedly planned to layer and bind it today.

But I didn’t.

The leftovers from making a pieced binding, along with the bits from cutting the “Circle” blades were just staring me in the face with their odd shapes and crooked sides. 

I JUST COULDNT STAND IT!!!!!

So I cut them into ten inch squares, kind of making my very own layer cake…..

Then I cut them some more! And I made this!


I know it’s oddly shaped, I like it that way. This will be for a baby girl, sometime….

But I still had leftovers! Oh my goodness. I had cut all the ten inch pieces into the thimble shape, so what to do with the six I had leftover? 

Geez, I did this.


It’ll be a table runner. 

So I am left with really weirdly shaped pieces, especially after cutting out 2 1/2″ tumblers.

Yeah, I did. 

Now I’m pretty sure I can’t get much else out of the bits that are left. I will use them as starters and stoppers while I’m sewing, but I think that’s about all they’re good for.

Does anyone else just “use it up” so you don’t have to put it away? I feel somewhat ridiculous today. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this sort of thing. 

I will keep strips of fabric 1″ wide, leftover scraps that I can at least get a 2 1/2″ square from, leftover bindings and canvas-like ribbon (for gift wrap bows) that’s on charm packs or FQ bundles. And selveges, if they’re cute, colorful or funny.

No wonder my sewing space becomes a disaster zone so quickly.

Have a great weekend, friends!

LL

Circle Time

Since the tshirt quilt top is complete, I thought I’d put my new “Ten degree tool” to use. It was delivered on Sunday and I’ve been so excited to give it a try. It’s almost as long as a fat quarter, so I wanted to be sure to use a FQ set, thus not so much matching and choosing. JUST LOTS OF CUTTING AND SEWING! 

It was much like cutting out fans for a Dresden block, but they were quite a bit longer, see? I did not seam the tips, as I want  a round quilt.


How about that! The hole in the center is larger than I thought it’d be, but I guess I can make a circle to appliqué (😝) in any size, right?


 I will also need bias binding, so that’s another thing I usually avoid like the plague. But I think it’s pretty cute. Here’s a shot of my fave section….


Love the polka dots! Even the leftover scraps are cute.


I’m tellin’ ya! 

Mostly since the tshirt top is assembled I wanted to try something different. And cute and fun. And round! Oy, what have I gotten myself into? Bias binding? Appliqué circles? Next thing you know I’ll be sewing curves!

Nah.

LL