Try, learn, grow

How do you build a foundation of knowledge?   Experience? Study? Observation? Reflection?

However you go about learning, you must first be open to trying. 
You've got to be open to something in order for it to work.

A lot of times we put up road blocks for ourselves.
I can't do it until..
I'll do it once ____ happens
I don't want to do it yet because I'm not ready.

But once you're ready, you know.  You might keep making excuses, but you know you could if you tried.

I remember a time before I knew how to quilt.  I knew a lot about quilts and quilt making, but I hadn't actually tried it to the point where I knew what I was doing.   I poured over books, magazines.  (I realize now that this "beginner" phase lasted a lot longer than I thought, of course this comes in hindsight because I never could have anticipated how obsessed or knowledgeable I could become with this hobby.  And I am certain that there is so much more I can learn, when I'm ready.. ;)  ).  I was sitting with Mrs. K in Hokkaido and I tried to make a winding ways block, 6" finished, hand pieced.  I was enthralled.  I couldn't do it, but I wanted to.

Last night I was playing around with Blogger's new themes (yay 2017, why did my blog still look like it's 2011?) and decided to re-do my "Quilts" page up at the top.  I know it will take a while to locate and upload all the pics of all the quilts, but I started a list (disclaimer: it may be wrong, 2010-2012 kinda all blurs together) and I see that my early quilts, or those that I actually finished.. well, they tell a story.  I can see now what shapes I was interested in, what steps of the project I got good at, which I mastered.  And where, all to often, there are gaps where quilts were started and pieced, but never finished.  This is quite apparent when you are scrolling through 10 years of digital pics and you see all the quilts you worked on but don't have photos to put into the finished projects category.  But I digress.

I found my winding ways quilt from 2007.  Finished, hanging at the Silver City Quilt Guild's first show.  My first show entry, my first quilt that I tried and designed and completed.  I was not the first quilt or block or idea, no, I practiced for a long time before I made it.  (yes, I think "practice pieces" may be my new term for "old forgotten UFOs")  But there it is, the same shape, same curves, from that afternoon in Hokkaido.  The blocks are bigger, I pieced it by machine, but I did it.  I had tossed the idea around in my head enough to know I was ready to try.  And I succeeded.  I was open, and I learned.

A sampler quilt pushes you to try new techniques, patterns, to make color, value and fabric choices.  It really is a way to teach quilt making.  Decide what you like, what you're ready for.  I can remember in my quilting journey, which of these blocks came easy to me and which were more of a struggle (some still are..).  Some blocks and patterns I go back to over and over.  Some techniques just fit my personal style.  And if I think about the blocks I struggled with.. yep, there are mental barriers there.  Some techniques in quilting I'm just not ready for yet.  But I'm glad I tried, I was open to learning something through the teaching process.  Figuring out how to express and share my knowledge in a way others could absorb.  To motivate but reassure at the same time.
You don't have to get this. 
It doesn't need to be easy and mistake-free the first time.  
If you don't like my methods, do what feels right for you.

And I also really like how reflecting on my quilting teaches me new things about myself and my story.  Damn, I've missed blogging.

I gave the quilt to Andy and Shirley.  Because... it's a quilt.  And all I learned in making it really seems not so important if the quilt just sits in a suitcase and doesn't get loved.  Why do I do this, after all?  What have I learned?
I've learned that comfort, ease, and repose are things I value.  Things I want to cultivate and share. ♡


  1. I remember your Winding Ways quilt hanging at the SCQG show - you were so excited!!

  2. This is such a pleasing sampler quilt - love the colors, love the way you quilted it. It's fun, too, how the folks holding it up are even coordinated with it. :)


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