31 Jan

Fellow Quilters,

Happy 2014!  As I sit down to write this post, it seems pointless to say Happy New Year, since it is actually the last day of January.  Was January shorter this year, maybe by a couple of weeks?  Maybe it seemed shorter because in our region we spent most of it huddled under layers of quilts, trying to stay warm.  I suspect that this will turn out to be one of the coldest January’s ever.  Well, I can’t complain too much, because cold weather usually brings lots of snow, and snowboarding this season has been epic.  We’ve even had 3 days of powder so far.  The feeling you get while snowboarding in powder is so euphoric, it almost defies description.  And it’s legal!  Suffice to say it should be enough of a reason for any skier to take up boarding.  I have yet to convince my hubby, but my 2 sons have converted, and my son Chris is in my adult boarding class this year, showing me up, of course, because that’s what kids do.  Each week, instructor Tim tries to teach the group a new skill, such as turning in circles, moguls or riding switch (backwards).  Everyone but Chris is older (45+), and we don’t bounce back as easily as when we were teenagers.  In fact, instead of bouncing, we “splat”.  After splatting a few times, we develop hesitancy to attempt to perform that particular move that precedes the splat.  The trouble is that we won’t improve if we don’t keep practicing.  It reminds me of a great quote by Jack Canfield that I read last week:

Everything we want is on the other side of fear.

How true!  Our biggest fear is usually fear of failure, so we avoid failing by not even attempting.  So we stop attempting, and resign ourselves to the fact that we can’t do whatever it was we were trying to master.  This brings me to another great quote, this one by Noah St. John:

The number one secret to success is giving yourself permission to succeed.

Aren’t we our own worst critics? We say “I’m so terrible at ____”.   It usually takes recognition of our ability/skill/talent from someone else before we acknowledge in our own mind that aren’t as bad as we think we are. We can shorten our road to success by granting ourselves this permission.  For 2014, I will attempt to become comfortable with riding switch on my snowboard.  I will try to practice every week, because I know I can do it, and with practice I will become competent.  I will fall less and less as I practice (fewer splats).  By April, I will have added this skill to my snowboarding “toolbox”.

I can extend this into another area of my life – quilting!  I recently purchased several new books on machine quilting.  I can do one of 2 things with these books – I can add them to my growing stack of unread how-to books on quilting, or I can crack the covers and read them, practice the techniques in them, and give myself permission to successfully use these techniques on some quilts this year.  Maybe this time next month, my blog post will be a book report on these books.  Will my quilting improve?  Not initially, but it will if I practice, because I know that eventually I will be able to competently stitch out the designs.  I have already given myself permission to succeed.  My quilting splats are much smaller and less painful than my snowboarding splats.

My quilting bud Betsey is going to add skills to her quilting “toolbox” when she takes my Borders and Bindings workshop on the upcoming Panama cruise in April, organized by Quilt Camp at Sea.   This is currently my favorite workshop – I love teaching this class, because the participants take away several new “tools”.  It’s great having Betsey in my class – she is very methodical, and takes her time, but she makes sure that she understands the process.  Right now Betsey doesn’t have a roommate, and I would room with her again, as I did on a previous Quilt Camp at Sea cruise, but this time around Hubby is joining me.  Betsey is an awesome roommate – we laughed until we cried.  If you know anyone (such as yourself!) who would like to join us on the cruise, please have them contact Kathy at www.quiltcampatsea.com in the next few days.  Just thinking of this cruise helps defrost my fingers and toes right now.  By April I will definitely be ready for some fun in the sun!

I haven’t done a give-away for a long time, so let’s do one today.  For a chance to win a bundle of Northcott’s new Artisan Spirit – Shimmer fabrics, please tell me about a fear that you have overcome, or would like to overcome, or a skill that you learned despite thinking that you “could never be able to do that”.  Please send your comments by February 6.



54 Responses to “Splats”

  1. Cathi January 31, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    I never thought I’d be able to make a quilt entirely by machine and be happy with it, as my machine piecing skills were less than wonderful. Hand piecing is a breeze for me, but sitting down at the machine to piece a block would send me running for the hills!
    But I tried with a relatively simple block – the Japanese +/X block – and I was absolutely thrilled with the result!
    Will I machine piece more and more quilts? I don’t know, but it’s sure a nice feeling to know that I can machine piece some quilts! So I’m very grateful I pushed myself on that and learned some new-to-me skills and, in the process, actually got to know and like my sewing machine for more than just straight line quilting and putting on binding!

  2. Debra Kay Neiman January 31, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    I went to college 20, count em, 20 years after I graduated High School, even took the ACT test for the first time then. I was the First of six children in my family to go to college. Graduated Magnum cum laude. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  3. goonyburd January 31, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    Fear. Quoting fears – applique.Conquered. Binding. Conquered.Still have fear of free -motion quilting. Big fear of heights but it’s not consistent and I have no desire to get over it. LOL!

  4. Sandy K January 31, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    When binding my quilts I always hand stitch the back. I would like to try machine binding the entire thing, but I am fearful that things will not line up correctly and I will have to rip. I don’t want to rip that much.

  5. Vicki H January 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    I had a fear of zippers. I have seen so many cute totes and pouches that require zippers. I finally took the plunge and with a great tutorial I made my first pouch a couple of weeks ago. It turned out pretty good if I don’t say so myself.

  6. Judy January 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    Paper piece a quilt. I still confuse “right side up” and “right side down” sometimes and often add a section only to “unfold” and find it too small but, with the help of my trusty seam ripper, finished blocks are accumulating!

  7. Joanna January 31, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    When I’m afraid to do something I ask myself “Who is going to stop me?”, and the answer is ” I stop myself.” But I can allow myself to try things, so I work at doing that. In quilting, it was beginning my blog, going to my first (and so far only) quilt show, and then putting myself into my quilts. Just because I’m making someone else’s quilt pattern doesn’t mean I can’t change it. Let the quilt police try and stop me.

  8. Barbara Young January 31, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    A fear I used to have was making alterations to a pattern when I didn’t like it – then I made an appliqued leather coat and won Best of Show at school – now all bets are off in my garment making and quilting. The fear I’m going to work on this year is Free Motion Quilting – don’t know why I haven’t done it – but this is my year to beat this fear. I have way too many tops that need to be quilted.

  9. Connie Cain January 31, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    I want to do an appliqued cat quilt for my son, but am afraid to start. I will do this it this year! I machine quilted my first quilt last year, which was a fear overcame. 🙂

  10. Gloria Meyer January 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Like a lot of people, I had a fear of free motion quilting. Well, with a lot of practice, I think I do a pretty decent job. I even feel comfortable not using the stitch regulator on my machine. That’s when you know you’ve conquered it.

  11. Melissa Miller January 31, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    I didn’t think I could ride my mountain bike down this one section of a trail that’s steeper with roots and rocks. Every time I would stop, get off my bike and walk. One day I went for it. Woo! I didn’t wipe out, which was my fear. Getting banged up at minimum. Breaking something as the worse case scenario. I was so pumped after I did it! 🙂

  12. Mindy Veldhuizen January 31, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    When I was asked if I’d like to be Vice-President of our guild, I thought it would be fun — but it meant being President two years later. Yikes! I could never do that! I liked every one of our 80 members — individually. But not all looking at me at once! But the thought of all the fun things we could do was just too tempting. So, I did it! And am proud of my Executive’s service. Five months left of my term and they haven’t impeached me yet! Not even sure what I was afraid of now.

  13. Emily C January 31, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

    Oh.Boy. Try fear of presentations and speeches in speech class. I was forced to overcome both of those or fail the course.

  14. mrsunclefuzzy January 31, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    I am still working on my fear that everything I make will fall apart in the washer and dryer after I give it away, it has never actually happened but it scares the crap out of me that it might!

  15. jane February 1, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    I thought I’d never be able to knit socks, using those tiny, tiny double point needles. Apparently, with the help of the internet, you can learn to do anything because I did. Now I consider sock knitting my mindless tv watching activity.

  16. Chris Coms February 1, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    I’ve always done applique by hand and was fearful to try it by machine. I was asked to do a baby quilt with a name on it. I decided okay, now or never, so I gave it a try. It took me some time to get the machine blanket stitch down, but was thrilled with the results. I have several more projects in the works that require machine applique and I can’t wait to get started. I may have become a convert!!

  17. Cecilia February 1, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    My husband bought a Gammill for me last year and I want to be able to get better with my FMQ. I just finished my first “big” quilt on it and I really like the way it turned out. It isn’t perfect, but I can see an improvement over the earlier crib size quilts I started with.

  18. Mrs. Bee February 1, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    Oh I would love to learn to snowboard one day!

    When I was little (around 5 I think), I went to my grandma’s house and well, I pretty much accidentally stabbed my finger on her sewing machine’s needle. So I was a little intimidated by sewing machines! That terror of the needle through my finger. I just had to realize that I am not a little kid anymore. I am glad because I love to sew!

  19. Prudence Lay February 1, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

    I have a fear of heights. While in a trip, I kept watching para sailers go by. I decided that it was time to force myself to experience something that I knew would terrify me, but do it anyway. I was so afraid I almost passed out, and I had rope marks in my hands for days, BUT I did it. I was so proud of myself and my family really was beyond amazed.

  20. Shirley AKA Petunia Pinner February 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    Oh Patti!!! I laughed at the “splats” part – was laughing with you – honest!!

    I so want to be able to free-motion feathers – any kind of them! So I have “given myself permission” to succeed in learning and practicing feathers. I do have to teach the left side of my brain to cooperate, which might be a bit of a chore, but I do want to work on practicing some simple feathers

  21. Bethany February 2, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    My fear is machine quilting one of my quilts! I have always sent my quilt tops off to be quilted, and I really would love to learn how to free motion quilt, but it is quite daunting!

  22. Mara February 2, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    I guess my fear is FMQ, I don’t want to screw up after making something that has taken me so much time, I love everyone else’s FMQ, I just can’t bring myself to do it on projects, I always revert to the straight stitching, it’s sad, I need to just make some scrap crap that I don’t care about and have a go at it.

  23. Sarah February 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    I need to learn patience.

  24. Jo thatcher February 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    Splats! Is this a new word! I might use it for my bread making skills. Trying a new recipe and when I prefect it, will send it along….it might be a good one for the cabin. Artisan fabric Artisan bread!!!!!

  25. Wendi Lauren Dickherber February 2, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    I was afraid of change. I like things nice and predictable. I picked up and moved across country last fall. Totally conquered that!!

  26. Quilting Tangent February 2, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Learning to use a sewing machine. Slow and easy, just finished a Christmas ornament.

  27. Dianne Nanney February 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    I have a fear of free motion quilting on my home machine as I detest picking out mistakes!

  28. Pam S February 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    Free-motion quilting a big quilt on my domestic sewing machine was always a scary and sometimes frustrating experience for me. But I’m learning to take my time, adjust the quilt often, and breathe. My quilting is improving! Thanks for your thoughts on splats!

  29. omegamary February 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Triangles intimidate me, so this year I vow to master them.

  30. Joan H. February 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    I never thought I would be able do any free motion quilting but with a lot of practice and patience it is starting to look like REAL quilting.

  31. Kathy Davis February 2, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    I learned how to crochet despite my lack of confidence. I took classes and have made tons of dish cloths, scarfs and even a little owl purse for my granddaughter.

  32. barbara woods February 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    learning to fmq, i’m not great but love it

  33. Lynne Tilley February 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

    I want to learn to free-motion quilt. I don’t really have a “fear” of it so much as no confidence to just jump in and start doing it. That is my goal for 2014 !! It’s time. And also, to do more complicated blocks! Start that tiny piecing, matching points, etc. I can do it!

  34. Whiskers February 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    A couple of years ago I said to myself, “you’ve been quilting 25 years, triangles don’t bother you, why do curves?” So, I decided to tackle the blocks needed for a drunkard’s path and those for double wedding ring. Ah-ha! I did it. Good templates and a 1/4″ piecing foot with a guide, and I pieced curves. Onward….
    Yes, I admit, the only fear holding me back is fear of failing.

  35. kimberlee February 2, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    Wow, this was a powerful post, thank you so much! I really needed to hear about giving myself permission to be successful at something. This summer I decided to try making myself clothes. It was frustrating and I asked my mom for her expertise a few times, but the feeling I had after the first blouse I made was like I had climbed a mountain. And I made a dress! I don’t even wear dresses, but I loved the style and the fabric and I plan to wear it for Easter. I plan to start making more clothes come spring. It would be amazing to have a wardrobe to go through and say, “I made this…I made this…I made this…I made this.” 🙂

  36. Lori Morton February 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    Seems we are ‘sposed to tell a quilting related fear we have overcome… I’m pretty new to quilting world..tho have sewn “forever”. I really & truly have a fear of choosing fabrics for a quilt…’specially if for giving to someone else!!!! but improving each time I want to do another project. Trying very hard now to conquer FMQ. Know this will take longer than choosing fabrics tho…wowie…arrrrgh! BUT I Will Win!!! 🙂

  37. maggielou February 2, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    I am doing fmq something I admire seeing from other bloggers. I have done 2 throws so far and now plan on doing a big quilt. I am sure that I will get better with practice but right now I am having fun just doing something that I thought was out of my box. Thanks for sharing

  38. Chris February 3, 2014 at 2:19 am #

    I don’t have fears just things I don’t like to do. I hate making cutains, that repeat drives me crazy. My house has all blinds. Sounded like a good idea but now I have to dust those. I dread hemming pants, I’m short. Buttonholes are no fun in my book. I will line an apron so I don’t have to do a double 1/4 inch turn. I will do anything once but no guarantee I’ll do it again. I almost cry when my husband gives me 5 pairs of pants in 5 colors to fix torn seams. How do they do that anyway? My daughter will often show up with an arm load of can’t you just shorten, take in, adjust, etc. My response is pure dread. So I guess my fear is my family thinks just because you quilt you must be a tailor too. I love them all what would I do without them!

  39. Rochelle February 3, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    I was always afraid to quilt a large quilt on my small home machine. But 3 other women and myself decided to do the same quilt pattern but with different colorways. I chose red & green. The quilts were to hang in our local quilt show at the very entrance. Well, the other 3 finished theirs in plenty of time. 2 weeks before the show I was the last to finish. just decided to take the bull by the horns, sit down and do it.After all, I couldn’t very well have a big empty space where mine was to be hung! I did all kinds of quilting on the appliqued quilt. Echo, stipple, free motion, grids etc etc. They all came out beautifully and now I am no longer hesitant to do my own quilting.

  40. wendy February 3, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    I managed to do some free motion quilting! I had done a bit before and ended up with nests, I was pretty scared of all that unpicking, but I overcame the fear and succeeded. I’m very afraid of fairground rides (fine by me), and bridges. I’d love to overcome that one!

  41. shirley tener February 3, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    I have always been afraid to slice my fabric, play with it in combinations and I want to be a modern Quilter but you need to know the basics of quilting and I adore the history in those basics and history in the basic blocks. I just bought Quilting with a Modern Slant, it hit me in a great way, that night after reading half of it and I have never sat down and just read one of my Quilting books, but it hit me, No rules just what you love and I threw a quilt top up on my design wall and the only rule I made for myself was keeping the blocks 10 inches and it will include some applique and hand quilting which I know I would love. I haven’t had time to really pour my heart into a piece because my family has made me a grandma in 5 yrs with 7 grandkids all under 5 and I have done quilts for the kids and some nursery items. My goal is to be come a quilt artist, I would love to make a quilt of an item like a face or a scene with in-depth hand-sewing.

  42. Linda Yeager February 3, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    I’m not normally biased against trying something you’ve always wanted to do based on your age alone. My father was career Army & we were perpetually low on money with four kids, so traveling from one duty station to the next always entailed long drives in our vehicle–even from Delta Junction, Alaska to Pennsylvania (through Canada) in the dead of winter in a VW camper with a camping heater going in the back. We kids always waved to the truck drivers & sometimes elicited a horn blast as we passed. How great was that! I promised myself that someday I’d drive a truck too. At age 53 I finally stopped nursing & took a community course in learning to operate & drive a big rig. I’m 5’6″ & weigh 135 lbs. I was hired to drive for a national company & drove OTR for 18 months, solo, courtry-wide. I loved the long drives with my satellite radio & laptop for company. It was sometimes nerve racking (steep mountains, poor weather, time constraints, heavy traffic & poor roads, inadequate directions) but overall I am very glad I did it.

  43. Betsey Ryan February 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    All right already Patti Carey, enough with the “SNOW DANCING”(like doing a rain dance). You must have died and gone to “Snowboarders Heaven” this weekend, especially on Sun. I thought of you as I watched the plethora of fluffy flakes dance past my head as I blew out the dogruns yet again!!!! You have no idea how the first part of your post hit so close to home. I spent most of Sat. doing the “fear of failure” dance re:FMQ and then I read your e-mail post. I could not believe it….it was as if you were inside my head. It’s comforting to know (sort of), knowing how well you FMQ, that you still have a degree of anxiety when attempting a new technique. In order to try to conquer my fear of FMQ I plan to do more guild cuddle quilts…..it removes a bit of the self imposed pressure. Thanks for the “roommate” plug…..I’m so looking forward to April’s cruise.
    TTFN Betsey

  44. Michele T February 3, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    I was in my late 30’s when I finally got the nerve to get my driver’s license and it was something that took me many years to get comfortable driving around town and not having that funny feeling in my stomach! I am still nervous about driving on the highway and in cities.. slowly but surely I’ll get there!!!

  45. Denise F February 3, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    This will sound so silly but after lots of stalls and stutters I learned how to drive a manual shift car. Oh, what an ordeal and I was sure I could never learn — even thought about returning the car, but as they say: “Practice makes perfect” or something like it.

    • Whiskers February 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

      Anyone that has learned to drive a manual transmission car has gone through the same learning process. I remember it well. A friend was telling me just an hour ago about her learning experience driving a new (2014) car, and the adventure of pushing the wrong button. Good job, and may your wheels keep turnin’ for a long time.

  46. Susan February 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    I finished college. It took me ten years of off and on again, but I finally did it without student loans.

  47. Linda Christianson February 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    When it comes to quilting I never thought I would go crazy learning every skill to master the masters in quilting. It has taken more quilts than I ever thought it would.

  48. Darlene February 5, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    Like many others, being a perfectionist and a hand quilter, it has to be the fear of FMQ. Though I have the books, taken classes at IQF-Houston on domestic machines, purchased CDs, viewed hours of YouTube instructions (they make it look soooo easy), I can’t seem to find the time to practice due to working long hours and always on a short deadline for the finished quilt. Very stressful-thus straight line quilting has been the end result. Maybe this will be the year to throw “perfection” out the window and just go for it!

    • Whiskers February 6, 2014 at 12:49 am #

      Make some little quilts or potholders and go for it. It is really easier than you think. And who doesn’t need a new potholder now and then?

      • Darlene February 6, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

        Great idea!! Not wasting fabric and time, but instead creating something useful while learning. Thank you.

  49. Mom C February 6, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    I attended a quilt retreat this past weekend and made a bag. I make bags but never the structured with batting, interfacing and precision sewing. But I took the class and the bag turned out Great! And I’m ready to do more, turns out, it wasn’t that hard. Thanks.

  50. Cindy April 29, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    I try new blocks out and make them into mug rugs. That way I get to practice my FMQ which is getting a little better. More mug rugs more practice. LOL

  51. lindybigd April 29, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    I like the first quilt, the straight set, because I like the diagonal sashing effect (a paradox, huh?) Beautiful use of the fabrics.

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