The first quilt I ever made was a small baby quilt for my son while I was pregnant. I don't remember a lot of the details (it was over four years ago), but know that if I remade it today it would turn out very different and much better, in the technical sense of quilting. I was intimidated by binding at the time, and had never heard of a walking foot--so I made a quilt top, added the batting and backing, turned it inside out, then quilted it. I think it is called the pillowcase method? Anyway, for the time and energy it saved me in not using actual binding, I spent on cursing how wibbly and wobbly and wrinkly the quilting turned out. I still to this day consider removing the quilting, taking it apart and quilting and binding it the "right" way--the way that I've learned for me works better, and I get much better results.
|Based on the Fibonacci sequence, I made it before we knew if we were having a boy or a girl.|
Thankfully for the second quilt I made I came across this Old Red Barn Co. quilt along, and I was set--it taught me the basics I needed to start quilting: tools, fabric, methods, etc. Looking back on it, I'm not sure how everything in that quilt came together so well, except that I was following the instructions as closely as possible.
|My first real quilt! It is nearly 4 years old now and it is rather shocking how much those fabrics/colors have faded already! Quite a wake up call for me to start using higher quality quilting fabrics and to keep them out of direct sunlight!|
Over the years I have come to understand and accept into my own ways things that make my cutting, piecing, and quilting more accurate, though still far from perfect. I have slowly learned to appreciate a straight cut, consistent 1/4" seams, pinning seams, pressing them neatly, and lining up seams and/or points.
|This quilt had a ton of HST and seams to line up--lots of pressing, trimming and pinning! But well worth it when the quilt top lays flat and all the points line up.|
The area I struggle with perfection the most is quilting. It is my favorite part of the quilt-making process, and the area I challenge myself the most. I spend a LOT of time considering quilting patterns for different areas of a quilt, practicing the pattern on little scrap quilts,and then finally quilting it on the quilt. Once I'm working on the quilt I try to forgive the inevitable and frequent mistakes--the little jumps, hiccups, inconsistent stitch lengths, etc. Though I do draw the line somewhere and make good use of the seam ripper on occasion!
There are a lot of quilting designs that are forgiving, and have many natural resting places (to remove pins, adjust quilt, take a break, etc).
|This is a practice/scrap quilt with some more forgiving patterns--paisleys, feathers, loops, swirls, echos--they all have places you can start/stop the needle without there being an obvious jump in the stitches.|
Unfortunately my current quilting endeavor is not one of those forgiving quilting patterns and the more I work on it, the harder it is to ignore the growing number of jumps/hiccups in the quilting lines. There are times when all those mistakes make me want to stop working on the quilt and put me in a really bad mood for the rest of the day. The best thing I can do when that happens is take a break, and ideally put the quilt up on the design wall so I can look at it from a few feet away.
|This swirl has about 2/3 of the quilting done, and I find the mistakes really glaring still. The green circles are where I paused and then when I restart there is a jump or hiccup in the stitch line. The red circles are where I started smoothly.|
So what is my point here? When you are nose to the grindstone all you see are the imperfections, all the places you could have done better. Once you step away from it for a while the things that seemed terrible fade into the fabric, or are lost among the other quilting lines! I mean really, do you see any of those hiccups in the stitching here?
I don't think perfect should be the goal, but getting better should. So my goal for sewing in general is try new things, challenge myself to get better at what I'm already doing, and stick with what makes me happy. And follow Dory's advice and JUST KEEP
Linking up with Quilty Habit's Sewing with Certainty