Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Learning Curve II

I love to quilt.  I really do.  Lately I've been questioning myself about my quilting.  I guess you could call it a mid-life quilt crisis.  I decided to do some reading to see what was going on with me.  I came across these two books and looked at the pictures of the beautiful quilts and decided to actually read the material, not just look at the patterns.  Sarah's style is so different from my own, and I started to wonder if I have a style.  Then I came across these words from her book "Quilting…from little things",

Why do you choose the fabrics you do?
Do your quilts look "the same" every time, or is every one different?
Do you usually choose the same style of fabrics for every quilt?
Do you often make quilts with only three or four fabrics in them or
do you cram so many fabrics in that you can't see the wood for the trees?
Do you love your quilts?
Do they make you happy?
Why do you make them in the first place?

Sarah raised some very good questions, meant to make you grow your quilting skills.  First and foremost I quilt because I feel that the desire was given to me by God to create with my hands and this was the medium that made my heart sing.  I am starting to realize that I have fallen into the quantity over quality syndrome.  I often look to quick and easy patterns and skip over ones that take more time.  I'm not saying I haven't enjoyed making those quilts or that there isn't a need for easy ones, because of course we know there is a need.  But, for me, I'm finding with the increasing cost of fabric and my growing fabric stash that perhaps its time to rethink quilting.  So my questions to myself are,

What style of quilting am I drawn to?
Is there a new skill I'd like to learn?
Is there a class locally or on Craftsy that I might enjoy?
What is missing in my stash and how can I better use my stash of fabrics?
How can I glorify God through creating quilts?
Why does choosing fabric combinations make me anxious?
What am I afraid of?

I have ufo's, quilt kits, block of the month, and a lot of fabric.  I seem to always be looking for the next thing to fulfill my creative desires.  When I took the "make do" pledge a couple of years ago I really did well.  The most fulfilled I have been of late, quilting, is Lori's Row Along Quilt from her blog here.  The quilt was challenging and hard at times and I learned a lot of new skills.  I'm looking forward to hanging that one on my wall in my next home.  There are things I would change about it, mostly my color choices but that's okay because I'm learning.  After ten years of quilting, I'm still learning.  I encourage you to ask yourself the questions above and to challenge yourself in whatever medium you create in.  Step out of the box and you might just develop your art into what it was meant to be.  I would love to know your thoughts.



  1. This is great! I try to have an on going scrappy project for relaxed quilting, but I also try new patterns also (like my mom's Dresden Plate quilt), where I use a color scheme. I'm doing Lori's barn quilt in red, black and white, which is an odd color combo for me, and the barns are definitely out of my comfort zone, but I'm loving it, I like the challenge of learning a new block for the side also. I started decorating cakes about ten years ago, but love quilting because there are no time constraints and I can just enjoy myself while quilting and adding my own fun little touches to it!

  2. Great post! I think we all get into a funk at times!

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter. Have you been able to answer the questions posted? Because quilting is still fairly new to me, I find I am challenged often. I absolutley love scrappy quilts and handquilting with perle cotton thread. I never tire of handquilting with it. I am delighted doing so. :0) I dont feel comfortable making wonky more progressive (modern?) quilts, but I really enjoy seeing them. I always wanted to learn how to quilt, saving Katie's little sundresses to hopefully create a quilt using them. :0)

  4. This is a wonderful post Renee. How many thngs that we do without thinking them through could use just a little examination and thought to make our lives better? I am so new to quilting that I still need really simple projects, but they do make my heart happy.The last few quilts I have done have a sameness about them, mostly because I just feel like I can't waste my scraps so I find myself using the same colors and fabrics again and again. Some are my signature fabrics, ginghams and dots, I imagine I will use those in different ways and colors in quilts to come, but some I am just plain tired of using and don't know what to do about it. I have thought about making some baby quilts with them for problem pregnancy. That way some sweet baby will enjoy them and a young mom will feel loved:>)

  5. Loved this post. So many of your thoughts have also been mine. I feel God gave me a gift and I have to share it through quilting. I gift a lot of quilts to people in need and every baby at our church gets one. I also made Lori's Row Along and loved every row of it. I also learned so many tips from doing it and I want to make another one. We have a small group of ladies that meet at my church on Tuesday evenings. When they saw my completed top last week, several of them want to make one. I am going to make another one and do all the things I wish I had done differently in my original one. I love the one I did, but there are things I would do different. (Like choosing the same background, etc.) I am also concentrating on some things I have already started. I am so bad about starting the "next big thing" that I see on blogs, etc. Sorry for the long post! Just been dealing with the same thoughts lately.

  6. A wonderful post! I have just started a flower garden quilt knowing it will be a labor of love, but really wanting to learn more patience in my quilting, as I am always eager to be done quickly with projects. I admire the women who worked long hours and hand quilting all those pretty vintage quilts, and would love to do the same! Thanks for sharing this and wishing you a lovely week!! Happy quilting! xo Heather

  7. For months I have been asking myself....am I just trying to complete a lot of projects or do I want to leave a trail of quality behind me. Also, what does God want me to do with my talent. Five years ago I purchased a bolt of Kona natural and began the cathedral windows quilt. When the bolt of fabric is used up my quilt will be finished. The quilt has been 'almost' finished for quite some time. This year I've worked mainly on this quilt and now I am on the home stretch.(Really) I'll continue to work on quilts to give away......but I am determined to finish what I start before starting a new quilt. Also, I'm trying very hard not to visit fabric sites or shops. I want my stash to shrink not grow! Pat McDonald

  8. Good advice my friend! We can all learn to jump outside of the box...it is called growth! Thank you for your sweet comments about my book....you are such an encourager! Hugs to you always...I LOVE your quilts. xo

  9. I've been reading and enjoying your blog for many months and today's post has truly struck a chord with me. I simply had to leave a comment. :-) In recent months I've been struggling with my quilting journey. I've asked myself those very same questions but still have no real answers. I'm a very prolific quilter but lately I've been asking myself why I keep making so many quilts. I do enjoy the process very, very much. I've come to the realization that I'm very, very happy and content when I'm in my sewing room at my machine. The complexity of the project doesn't matter - my smiling face and singing heart are my bliss. I try to every day and not fret about yesterday or tomorrow - my happiness TODAY is what matters most. In the meantime I'll continue my quilting journey and hope the answers come. Wonderful post!

  10. Great post. I have that book. I should READ it too.enjoy your quilting ; )

  11. Your post made me think. I am newer to quilting but have been trying to stretch myself a little in this adventure. I went to a "sit and sew" this Friday with quilters who have been quilting for many years, they inspire and encourage me. The books you shared look wonderful.


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