Machine quilting practice, that is! I have heard more than once that it takes about 500 hours of practice to get 'good' at machine quilting. I don't know about you, but I am always afraid to "practice" on my finished quilts. What if I ruin it? What if my stitches are uneven, my tension is off, my idea doesn't work?
Well, enough of the what ifs, that has only resulted in probably a dozen untouched quilt tops just taking up cupboard space. My cats accept my imperfections...why can't I?
I took a wonderful machine quilting workshop with Lynne F. of Fraser Valley Quilt Guild and she is a fantastic teacher! I have taken other machine quilting classes, and I think it is finally starting to sink in. You can only get better with practice. Period. No one jumps onto a machine and becomes an accomplished quilter, let alone a master quilter. Yes, some people are truly gifted, but for the rest of us, it just takes practice!
I am trying to figure out how I should quilt the Mod quilt sampler (from Oh Fransson!). At last weekend's retreat, I stitched in the ditch all of the sashing strips to stabilize it. I contemplated straight stitching lines through all the sashing, but wanted to try something out of my comfort zone.
I practiced some overlapping squares which I've seen online and really like the look, but hubby thought it would be too much as an overall pattern on the quilt. So I thought, what the heck, and started quilting the sashing using the overlapping squares.
Rather than quilt all the vertical strips and then have to jump over the cornerstones that would already be quilted, I decided to stair-step the quilting. I stitched down the first vertical sashing strip, and then moved to the right and stitched the horizontal sashing strip. This gives me practice moving the quilt in both directions, which is something the quilting instructor encouraged us to practice.
Yes, my stitches are not perfect, the squares sometimes overlap twice in one spot, the stitches get larger and smaller, but I am confident that over time, it will get better, and I am happy I've given myself permission to be less than perfect! Now back to my quilting!