All this back-to-basics sewing around here lately, has got me thinking about when I was a beginner quilter. I began quilting on a fluke, not because someone I loved taught me. So it was kinda doing whatever works at the moment kind of thing. Along that journey, bad habits were formed. So the first step to improvement is realizing there is a problem, right? Some of these are practical, some are mental, and some are just, "I should have known better". So if you recognize some of these, shhhhhh it's okay, your secret is safe with me!
8 Not Sew Good Habits
- Not practicing good sewing machine maintenance. This includes changing the needle when it gets dull (you'll hear the thud, thud, thud sound). Not cleaning your machine properly (I do it every bobbin or two). Not unthreading your machine properly (thread only runs ONE way through your machine). Not taking your machine for its annual check-up at your local shop. You're sewing machine is your best friend. Treat it that way.
(I found this online ... is this crazy or what?)
- Letting comparison steal your joy. Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with the internet.
It's truly a wealth of information and connection. It also can be a big source of quilt-envy. How many times have you seen an image of a quilt and thought, "Oh I'll never be that good?" I mean, I even have a Pinterest board called, "Art Quilts I wished I made". This is the kind of thing that can rob you of your creativity as well as still the happiness you have in quilting. Sometimes it's good to say to yourself, "Self, step away from the internet"
Not being organized. Let me preface this with that everyone has a level of organization that is right for them. Saying that, it's good to stay at that level. It really is the small things that will help. Picking up your area after a sewing session. Keeping your tools in their rightful place (I just want to put a plug for the idea I came up with at QBL 2001...having mugs on my sewing table. You always know where your scissors, seam ripper, rotary cutter, marker, etc are and they move easily where you need them). Also, keeping things that aren't essential to your sewing out of your area.
- Not paying attention to safety. Sewing can be dangerous. Let me repeat that, sewing can be dangerous. So make sure you close your rotary cutter (that's why I use Kai rotary cutters, they self-close)...turn off your iron...don't let your pins end up on the floor or in the couch's arm...don't use dull scissors or rotary blades....maintain proper posture...and most importantly don't sew when distracted or tired. I found out this last one after a 14 hr day of creating at Arrowmont when I literally sewed right through my finger. Thank God, a nurse was in the class and she just handled the whole thing. I just stood there with my finger out trying not to cry. I'm still not quite sure how I sewed through it since I was so tired!
- Not maintaining your stash of fabric and thread properly. If your sewing machine is your best friend, your fabric and thread are your peeps. When I say "maintaining" I mean stop buying what you want but don't need and start buying what you actually need. Keep your stash organized so you know what you have. Take proper care of your scraps, getting rid of ones you won't use, and organize the ones you have so you can use them. Buy quality but don't let marketing influence your buying choices. (yes this is coming from a woman who recently gave 8 13gal bags of quilt fabric to a local charity)
My friend's Toni's stash...Amazing right?
- Not learning how to press properly.
- Not having the right tool for the project. Let's face it, there are a lot of tools, gadgets, and
notions out there. It's a good idea to take a moment and think of the ones you like the best, then make sure you can readily get to them and are stocked up. Living in a small town in rural Pennsylvania, I learned this the hard way. Nothing is worse than needing something and not being able to get to easily. It's funny, although online shopping and Amazon have helped, they also have initiated the demise of the local quilt shop. (Retailing is a bitch!)
- Not staying focused. This is not about starting a project and working on it to the end. (but it could be) This is more about deciding what you want to do and actually doing it. I could easily be called the "squirrel" of quilters. A bunch of ideas jump into my head and I want to explore them all. This is a great way to get nothing done. Staying focused can also mean knowing when to let an idea or project go. Not all UFO's are meant to be finished. Some need to be divorced, some need to be reworked and a few need to be stored for another time. The idea is to set a goal and stick to it.
Lord, writing out this list just emphasizes I have some work to do! Probably the last is my worst though. The others little by little, I've conquered. Staying focused is just so hard!
So 'fess up!! What is your worse bad habit?!