Tuesday, 28 June 2016

absolute beginners


prettydesigns.com

I don't think I have ever shared my journey into quilting with you.  Please correct me if I am wrong!  I have been thinking about this recently and the creative process and journey in general.

My journey into the world of quilting began 9 years ago, while reading an American blog, and coming across beautiful patchwork quilts.  My wee girl, Emma was around 6 months old and Jacob, a toddler.  I needed other things to do like a hole in my head!  Yet I think quilting found me!  I think, with hindsight, I had a desire to recapture a part of myself that wasn't just 'mum' and all that entails ( you know the drill mums and dads).

My first proper big quilt with lots of non matching points
So I surfed the Interwebs ( this was before Pinterest, people!) and googled quilting and I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights.  No joke!  The fabrics, the colours, the patterns, the everything. 

There was just one thing - I couldn't sew!  I knew how to thread a needle and stitch a button on, you know the basic stuff, but I had never used a sewing machine since my mum tried to show me when I was about 12.
a very early quilt made with a layer cake(precut fabric)


During that time there wasn't such a great selection of fabric shops here in the UK.  Online or bricks and mortar. Or maybe I just hadn't discovered them all yet!  (There weren't many magazines around then either; that I knew of.  I did discover British Patchwork and Quilting which I still love and holds a special place in my heart).    So I bought my first Charm pack from Crosspatch (in Wales I think) online and eagerly awaited it's arrival.  I didn't have a machine but assured myself that I could hand sew the squares together, which I did!  Soon though, that wasn't moving fast enough for me and I "needed" to get a hold of machine to make my piecing faster.  Of course, I had no idea at this point that it was even called piecing! Lol. 




pssst.........I still feel like the little girl in the photo! (pinterest)

My first sewing machine was a mini Janome for around £50 quid.  It was slow as treacle, but that suited me perfectly because of my inexperience.   You tube and Google were indispensable to me to start with.  I had no time or money to go to a proper quilting class (there were none locally anyway).  So to be able to google questions and see videos of how to do things was amazing!  I quickly moved on to a full speed, proper, grown up machine.  I remember my excitement when the delivery came.  I was like a little kid waiting on Christmas day.  I could have kissed the delivery man!  The machine was fast!  To me it was like a formula 1 racing car fast.  It surprised me how quickly I got used to it though! And from there I just kept making, and making and making. 
https://thebucketlistlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/wait-here-neon-TBLL.jpg


Now why the hell am I telling you all this I hear you ask?  If you have stuck with me so far then, hooray and thank you!!

I just want to say that we were all beginners at one time or another.  Yes, even those super famous quilters we all know and love who are all over Instagram, facebook, blogs and so on.  WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE!  I made mistakes!  Plenty of them!  I tried using polycotton for piecing, (didn't work out well at all), I used the cheap, fluffy, polyester wadding that is ok but nothing in comparison to proper quilt wadding be it poly or cotton or a mix, I used cheap as chips thread on my machine and wondered why does it keep breaking?!  I frequently did not sew a quarter inch seam allowance and then scratched my head when points wouldn't match.  Ten years on and I am still learning all the time!

What I am trying to say is that if you are a beginner quilter, if you have just started one of the many classes now available (thank goodness), or if you have picked up your first copy of one of the fabulous Quilting mags now available, do not be intimidated or overwhelmed!  I remember feeling like this at the beginning.  Many of my students did too when they were total beginners.  Do not let feelings of self doubt creep in or comparison.  I am still guilty of them, but I have learnt that we need to develop the attitude of "feel the fear and do it anyway" as Quilters.  It is how we learn and grow and gain that invalauble experience.  You can't buy it!  New Quilters today have the world at their feet and so many fabulous beginner friendly resources.  It is awesome!  Truly.  We are surrounded by some of the most amazing talent in the quilting world and sometimes this can be a bit scary and initimdating too.  Don't let it be!  Yes, admire and love the work of others on Instagram and facebook but do not think you lack anything because you do not produce the same work.  We are all at different stages on our journey as a quilter and it is good to make peace with that. 




Mucho love!
Collette x


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