|The 2nd full size quilt I ever made|
I was thinking this week of when I first start quilting. Everything seemed so new and mysterious. I remember I was so excited by it that it would keep me up at night. Finally, I was on my way to learning how to make those amazing quilts I so admired. Now nearly 30 years later, I wonder if I have done what I set out to do. Now don't get me wrong. There has been a lot going on in the last 30 years
|My first original design inspired by a greeting card|
that quilting has not been my main priority. Really raising a daughter into a responsible young woman was...... Check! Educated well ... Check ! Check!! Sent out into the world...Check! Check!!
But now there should be more "me" time and what do I want to do now. Which is how I got wondering what I would have done different.
Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Quilting
- Learn the basics well .. I wish I had slowed down in the beginning and took a basic quilt class. One that would teach me how to make a scant quarter inch every time, how to bind a quilt properly, how to make points meet, how to clean my sewing machine, how to layer a quilt properly. It seems like over the years, I've been unlearning bad habits that I picked up when I taught myself because "That was close enough". Now I'm not talking perfect but you do to need to know how to do the basics properly - every - time.
- Buy less fabric, Sew More...Yes I think we all should have a decent size stash, but honestly I think I bought enough fabric for 3 lifetimes. Every pretty fabric caught my eye with no thought on how it could be used. Of course now that fabric is $12-14/yd, I'm happy to have a stash I could live with, but if you have a room of fabric it is too much.
- Take More Process Pictures...Of course when I started quilting we didn't have digital photography but still I wish I had more pictures than the finish quilt. This blog has helped but still, it's really useful to have process pictures to help document the construction
- Learn to Dye Fabric...Now in my defense there wasn't a sole around that was teaching fabric dyeing. I actually had to look it up online and follow some well written blogs. Even then it was trial and error. Learning to dye your fabric (as well as paint it) opens up a whole world of possibilities to quilting. Plus what's cooler than saying, "Oh I dyed the fabric myself!"
- Buy A Better Machine Sooner...I don't think every quilter needs an fancy smancy expensive sewing machine, but when you know it's your life work....then BUY ONE. The minute I got my Janome Horizon my life got so much easier. My seams were more precise, a bigger arm opened up quilting opportunities, stitches could be adjusted, and it FMQ like a dream etc etc OMG why did I not do this sooner!
- Don't Make Presents ...No one except another quilter understands the hours that goes into a quilt. I've been lucky. All my quilts have been loved thoroughly and still talked about but still it would have been much less stress and time if I had just bought a nice food basket.
- Take More Art Classes...So along with learning the basics, I wish I had taken some art 101 classes and maybe a beginning drawing class. My life would have been so much easier. All of quilting, traditional and art depend on the principals of design. Once I got a hold of them, critiquing a design became so much easier. I cringe at some of my beginning quilts due to glaring errors just because I didn't know any better.
- Stop Making Excuses for Quilting...Okay, anybody who knows me in real life, knows that I don't shrink from expressing my opinion. Nor am I the type to get bullied or peer pressured. Still there have been times over the last 30 years that I've had to explain away the money I spend, the time I spend, the energy I spend. Why everyone thinks they are allowed an opinion on the subject, I - Do - Not - Know. Luckily, this does NOT include my family. They have been more than supportive of me taking precious time and $$, pursue my passion. Honestly, I think it comes to Creatives. Creatives understand why we do what we do. Others don't.
Wow that list got long fast!!! I don't think a bit of self reflection every 30 years or so is a bad idea.
What Would You Do Different???