I took my first quilting class almost 3 years ago. Since then, I find myself either hot or cold when it comes to finding time to quilt. I am either fast and furiously working on 5 projects at once (ie. hot), or I go 6 months without even thinking of my sewing machine (ie. cold). Today, I am in the middle of a hot streak. Christmas is almost upon us and I still have two quilts that must get done, and one that "should" be done. The "should" quilt is going to my youngest daughter, so I think she will forgive me if it is not under the tree on time.
While I have only completed 7 quilts to date, I can honestly say that my skills have been improving with each one! The first three quilts were all a result of the class I took - a sampler class. I decided to make a quilt for my oldest daughter and somewhere along the way ended up with one for my middle daughter and one for my nephew. As someone who was just figuring out how to sew straight lines, I found that I really needed practice making each block - thus 3 baby quilts with essentially the same blocks, just different fabrics. If you are new to quilting, I highly recommend this strategy. I was getting frustrated ripping out the seams of the same block over and over again to get it right. By making 3 of the same blocks, I got the extra practice I needed, had fun experimenting with different color combinations, AND was able to progress (even if the block isn't perfect, sometimes you just have to move on).
One of my biggest pet peeves about the sampler class was that it didn't teach you to actually quilt your project. For some reason, the teacher thought you should be satisfied just having a quilt top completed. Well, I wasn't. So the next class I signed up for was machine quilting so I could finish my projects (all according to their plan, I'm sure). At this point, I can rate myself "average" with a walking foot, and free motion still alludes me.
My second endeavor was a one block wonder quilt for my mom. I learned a lot, especially about the quilting phase. The quilt is what I've heard called "a monet", pretty from far away, but all messed up when you look at it closely. The quilting didn't turn out at all like I expected. I tried to free motion quilt what looked like bamboo stalks with invisible thread. I thought it would give the quilt some more texture, and it would fit nicely with the asian fabric I chose. Well, it was harder than I thought, took longer than I thought, and I figured out that invisible thread isn't the easiest to work with. Here are pictures, from far away, of the finished project, front and back.
As I said, I learned a lot.
Goodness, I just realized I've been sitting at this computer for over an hour and I still have Christmas presents to finish. Until next time....