I have finally cleared the deck and am now able to begin a period of making new show quilts. I have two quilts I will be making first, and one I am making for myself that is not a show quilt that is for my own bed. Sew I thought it would be fun to make a journal of these quilts as I make them and thereby share with you how you might approach a major quilt of your own or even provide some encouragement on your current projects.
I encourage you to chose a project get your planning notebook and join me. The first step is figuring out what to make and either obtaining or creating the design for the top. Even a basically simple quilt design can become a masterpiece quilt by the time it is complete. The second step is gathering the fabrics, threads, and notions.
Such a quilt does not have to be for a show quilt. It may be for the beautification of your own home, or to honor someone for an achievement, or to give to your Mom, Dad, or grown child when they leave home to build their own adult life. But whatever you are making such a quilt for, you want it to be made with your highest level of art and technique and not skip the correcting of mistakes or doing the boring or hard parts thinking it is “O.K.” I assure you that it is a great journey full of interest and fun, a little frustration and joy in overcoming problems. In the end comes a sense of real accomplishment and satisfaction that continues every time you see it. You will learn a lot and use what you learned in your future projects. You will find after making such a quilt that the cuddle quilts will be so much easier and faster than you ever thought possible.
This brings up a point. Even quilts made for charity should be lovely to look at. They may not be as perfectly pieced or quilted as well as a major quilt, but they should be soundly made to last through washings and attractive to look at and lovely to cuddle with. Making a major quilt (as if it were a show quilt) will so improve your abilities you will be amazed. Stretching for that best quilt is overall fun, and you may decide to show it in the end.
Sew next I am making a small 20 x 20 inch contest quilt for Cherrywood Fabrics challenge honoring the late Bob Ross, who gave so many of us a lot of joy watching him and learning how to paint beautiful landscapes simply like magic. Fabric will require more work, but will be fun. It will be a challenge, but is a great way for me to get back to show level quilt making. I already have this designed and acquired the materials I need for this project.
In the meantime, I am working on the design for what may be my most challenging show quilt using as the centerpiece several beautiful pieces of crocheted lace my late mother had left in her workbasket that were obviously meant for a large piece (bedspread? Table cloth?). She had made five of them and sewed four together. I was able to take them apart with only a slight bit of fixable damage to one of the blocks. I will be making a more traditional quilt than I usually make, although it will likely not be truly traditional in any pattern, not very symmetrical, and have some interesting machine techniques with lots of beading planned. We will see. I haven’t yet completed that design by far.
And then I will pick up and continue my fun applique quilt that is a Sue Nickels pattern. Yes, I am using a pattern, although making a few simple changes to make it large enough for my bed and choosing my own colors. I have a bit more than half of the blocks made and the others have the pieces fused down and are ready to stitch. This is my stress-lowering project I will work on from time to time.
Start thinking about a main quilt project of your own. If you don’t feel you are ready to design your own, then hunt for a pattern you simply love but may seem a little beyond your current talents. Or make a simple top and use it as a background for advanced quilting and embellishment work. Or draw a design you love and think about how to make it. If you join me, this will be your time to stretch and learn. I will be here glad to answer questions if I can and find a link or other way of finding the ansers if I cannot. I hope to provide encouragement. You should start by making several small practice pieces (see link at the top bar on the right to my new page on downloadables and links). If you just took my classes at G Street you have a good bit of the skills you need already, but make a small practice piece using the techniques you plan for your major quilt. Take as long as you need for this, and either work exclusively on it, or work on it a little bit every week. I know it is nice outdoor weather, but you will still want some indoor cooling off time.
Sew happy everyone! I plan on future blogs to help you in your journey…markers, threads, needles, design, fabrics, battings, surface design and embellishments, machine work, and quilting. I also hope to create videos to go along with some of this. Cheers.