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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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)
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. 😉