Lessons I learned while making a quilt.

I'm a late in life beginning quilter.

Actually, that's not entirely accurate.

I went through a quilting phase in high school during which I made baby quilts for all my pregnant friends (true story), and I even made a full-sized quilt top for myself that was so crooked my Mama shipped it off to my Aunt Sue (who is a REAL quilter) who fixed it, quilted it, and sent it back to me.  I still have it, and I smile every time I see it in all its lopsided glory.

I've dabbled on and off with quilting a time or two in my adult life, but lately I've become more earnest about really learning.  I'm loving the process, and I'm loving what I've learned.  The internet (thank you Pinterest!) has been a huge source of inspiration and assistance, and it makes me wonder how people in the olden days (like 1991, when I was working on my last quilt) knew how to do ANYTHING, since you couldn't really look it up online back then.

So slowly, I'm teaching myself how to do this thing, and aside from acquiring the technical skills necessary to actually cut, piece, sew, quilt and bind the darn thing, I'm finding that quilting gives me time to reflect and live in my own head and actually THINK about what I'm doing, so here are some of the random thoughts that have crossed my mind. 

Things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.  I'm a life-long, self-proclaimed perfectionist, and I have been known to toss entire projects because of some small flaw that probably only I could ever see in the first place.  While it's important to me to have seams line up and corners squared, I've come to realize that sometimes the overall picture is just as, if not more, important than whether I have a crooked stitch here and there.  For a detail-orineted gal like me, this is epic.

Sometimes you really do need a do-over. I have ripped out so so so many seams... Logic says that this should frustrate me given my personality type, but for some reason, it doesn't.  There's something really satisfying about taking apart something that is flawed in order to make it better.  

I don't have to be good at everything, especially not at first.   I don't like to fail.  I don't like to make mistakes... I know that few of us really do, but I seem to hold a grudge against myself for far too long sometimes when I screw something up.  Often, things I deem myself "not good at" get pushed aside.  But even though I've only been (back) at this quilting business for a little while, I can already see major improvements in my skill level, and it proves that you really can teach an old dog...

It's ok to ask for (or ok, buy) help.  My weakness and my most hated of all quilting and sewing tasks is cutting the fabric.  For some reason, it's just hard for me.  When I realized you could buy pre-cut quilt pieces in various sizes my quilting life was revolutionized.  Yes, it's a little more expensive to buy it that way, but since it allows me to skip right over the part I don't like and get to the good parts, I've decided that it's worth it.  I'm worth it.  It's ok not to be a martyr in ALL things.

Creating beautiful things makes me feel good.  Beautiful fabrics inspire me.  Putting these beautiful fabrics together to create something with my own hands, something that has use and value, makes me feel pride at my abilities.  This is a feeling everyone should strive to find for herself, through whatever outlet she chooses.

The truth is, I still have so much to learn about quilting, which is an age-old tradition and craft with a long and colorful history.  As I make progress and make quilts, I'm proud to say that someday, it will be a part of my history, too.

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