That’s a quote on a plaque hung over the door of a choir rehearsal room. As a choir member for almost 14 years I couldn’t miss it from where I sat. I was thinking about it the other day as I was practicing free motion quilting. I suppose this is a great philosophy if you are already accomplished at whatever you are doing, but how defeating it is if you are learning a new skill. Sometimes I have to leave it at “good enough”. It’s the best I can do — for now. I believe the best advice I have received in this relatively new process is from Leah Day. She told us in so many words that we want to learn quilting, not ripping. Consequently, some of my stuff is pretty bad. I keep a few pieces around to remind myself that I am improving. I know I’ll never attain the greatness and proficiency of Diane Gaudynski, Leah Day, Amy Gibson, Amanda Murphy, or Libby Lehman, to name a few who inspire me, but I have learned so much from all of these people and I’m very grateful. It’s fun to work toward the goal of excellence. The most wonderful aspect of all of this is that I can get up in the morning and wander into my sewing room, a place that is my own world where I can move closer to excellence.
I started blogging last year but time constraints got in my way. I began devoting all my spare time to quilting, finishing some projects that made me proud. One was a wedding quilt. It was queen size, the largest undertaking that I had ever attempted. The amazing fact is that it was finished a month before the wedding. That was incredible. So many times I started a gift and when the occasion came and it wasn’t finished, it would go in a pile of UFO’s.
I rescued one of those UFO’s. It started out several years ago as a baby quilt. I had drawn cute little animals to hand quilt in centers of five or six of the larger squares on the quilt top. When the baby went to kindergarten, I decided to try to quilt it on my new embroidery machine. That was a disaster. I found myself picking out all of those stitches and starting over. I finished free motion quilting it in the end of November, following Leah Day’s Craftsy Class, Free Motion Fillers Volume I. You can still see the markings of the cute little animals that won’t come out, but the holes from the machine embroidery disappeared when I washed it. I can use it for a wall hanging or a picnic quilt.
I finished a Block of the Month (2012) quilt offered on Craftsy. Instructor Amy Gibson walked me through piecing all those blocks. I quilted it by following Leah Day in her Craftsy course, Free Motion Quilting a Sampler. That is now all bound and labeled.
I’m beginning 2014 juggling a few projects. I have joined a philanthropy group that makes quilts for a local hospital gift shop and a woman’s shelter. I am working on Leah Day’s Building Blocks Quilt Along, which concentrates on piecing and free motion quilting. I have also subscribed to Amy Gibson’s Sugar Block Club, a fun block of the month project, along with a couple other projects that are 2013 leftovers.
My goal is to post every Friday to journal what I’ve done, and the lessons I’ve learned over the previous week. Below is the first block of Leah Day’s Building Blocks Quilt Along. Even though I have been learning to free motion quilt for a year or so, I found it a little difficult to follow the lines perfectly. As you can see, there were a few hiccups. Oh well. But the dirty little secret is that I am abandoning my BSR and am starting over with just a darning foot, setting my stitch length to zero. It’s surprising how much more juicy the stitching is. The difficult part is getting a consistent, medium stitch throughout.
Happy new beginnings! Happy Quilting!