Vince found another of quilts so I took them all out and washed them. Over the next few posts, I’ll share those and some of the stories behind them.
The first one is a sampler of sorts. It’s definitely not an award winning quilt but when I started my first book many years ago, I realized that the first few blocks I made might need a bit of tweaking or as I was writing the instructions and making changes, I made additional blocks to test the instructions. I chose some fabrics to use on the test blocks so as not to “waste” the fabric that was going to be used in the actual quilts for the book.
It was after I got all the blocks made was when I decided to piece all the blocks together. This was 20 years ago. I would do things differently now but I learned a lot from this project.
Things I learned:
- Picture #1 – In a scrappy braided border, don’t use a fabric that blends with the background (i.e., the very light pieces break up the braid).
- Picture #2 – Stripes are fun but be very careful. In that bottom pieced border, I was lucky the stripes all matched up fairly accurately but in a border like that, I would not use stripes again.
- Picture #2 – The block on the right – the background fabric had a design that was way too busy for the small flying geese sections.
Through the years of teaching others and quilting on my own, I’ve come to realize several things:
- Sometimes the fabrics I was so sure would be perfect, those were the ones that turned out horribly. Likewise, sometimes the fabrics I was most hesitant to use were the ones I loved the most.
- Much the same with knitting, I would often see fabric choices that caused me to cringe but in the end, those fabrics made gorgeous quilts.
- Never stress! I saw people who made themselves miserable trying to decide on fabrics. Obviously, I’m not one of those people. 🙂 Seriously, I would send out what I thought was a good suggestion as to fabrics to use and sometimes fabrics I recommended avoiding. Often someone would show up with an entire car load of fabric and they could not decide what to use. By mid-day, some would have made several blocks with some were still struggling with fabric choices. I’m not going to say “just do it” because making a quilt requires a lot of time and a lot of money so we should put thought into the choices but overthinking it and then second guessing our choices can take away the joy of quilting.
One last piece of advice: When in a class or a group setting, pay attention to others. You don’t have to give advice or take over anyone else’s project but if you see someone is struggling with their choices, offer encouragement. I always tried to keep examples of choices that hadn’t worked so well – either the colors were too matchy and the design was lost or the print was too large or the pattern and points appeared to be chopped off because they blended into the background fabric.
Also remember that some love bright, bold colors while others love neutrals or earth tones. I like neutrals and earth tones . . when used by others. My quilts, and my knitting projects, are almost always bold and bright . . often too bold and bright probably but those are the colors I love working with and since most of us are quilting purely for enjoyment, make sure you don’t do anything that causes it to no longer be joyful.