The Hardest Part of Quilting
From Cutting Fabric to Choosing a Design
I often get asked, “What is the hardest part of quilting.” I think that differs for everyone. In the beginning, the hardest part for me was getting my fabric cut properly so that it wouldn’t go all wonky on me while sewing. I have learned over the years to take my time while cutting so that I can avoid having uneven pieces. It takes practice. Lots and lots of practice to perfect the skill of cutting.
I have been quilting for about 20 years now. I could go back and show you quilts that I have made that are a hot mess! However, I try not to look at them in that way. They were stepping stones to get me where I am today, and I will tell you, I am still learning new things each time I make a quilt. Now, those quilts that I made early on were given as gifts to family members and were made with love, so the little imperfections don’t matter to the person who received it.
I am very particular with whom I share my quilts with. There are a couple of reasons for this.
- Quilting is very time consuming.
- Not everyone appreciates a handmade item.
- I make all my quilts with love.
It hurts when you spend a lot of time putting something together for someone, only to not have them appreciate it. I know. It’s happened to me before too. The only thing you can do is make a note of it, move on and be a little more choosy about who you choose to share your talents with. I have been fortunate that my mother loves receiving them. I think she’s a bit quilted out though. HA! She probably has 15 to 20 of my quilts.
I’m rambling here. The hardest thing about quilting for me today is…choosing the quilt design to put on the quilt. You see, when I first started making quilts, I didn’t put any designs on them. I yarn tied them! I know! But it worked and it looked great! As I have evolved as a quilter though, I started falling in love with the actual quilt designs on a quilt. I started visiting my local quilt shop and that’s where I was introduced to a whole new level of quilting. I’m sure my husband is extra appreciative of that! HA!
So I started purchasing fabric from them and learning how to really quilt. I had a friend approach me and ask me to make her a King Sized quilt for her bed. I agreed. Boy oh boy was I in over my head on that one. No really. I had no clue what I was doing, and to be honest, I probably shouldn’t have agreed to do it, but I did. It was a big learning experience for me and you know what, I did it! I did have some help from the ladies at my local quilt store though. They were nice enough to help me figure out how much fabric I was going to need and also what the measurement of each block should be. In addition, they helped me decide on the quilt pattern. I choose to do a Bear Paw Quilt. My friend wanted rustic and that’s what she got. It took me about 6 months to complete the quilt and I seam ripped so many times that I lost count. I cursed, I cried and many times I just wanted to quit, but I couldn’t because I made a promise to my friend and she was paying me to make the quilt too!!! No pressure there, right?!
Well…long story short, I finished the quilt and it was beautiful. Next came the dreadful decision of how I was going to quilt it. Now mind you, I had pieced this quilt on a little machine that I had picked up from Walmart. It was a basic sewing machine and didn’t have any of the fancy bells and whistles and it certainly didn’t have the throat space to put a quilt of that size through it. So I did what any young quilter would do. I went back to the quilt store for some advice and that’s when I was introduced to the long arm. Oh yes! I was so excited when I found out that there was someone else out there that could quilt my quilt for me and she would even sandwich the quilt too! Yippie! I had hit the jackpot! And then I got the quote on how much it would cost to quilt it and all excitement left me. Nevertheless, I went ahead and had it quilted and I’m glad I did. It turned out amazing! My friend loved it and I was a better quilter for sticking it through and finishing it. It also happens to be one of my favorites as well.
That experience got me thinking that maybe I could quilt my own quilts in the future. I knew I had to do something because there was no way that my husband would be on board with me paying that kind of money for every quilt that I made. So I would need to learn how to do it myself. And I have. I think that’s why I have such a hard time deciding on quilt patterns now. I’m not a pro and I don’t pretend to be. There are still many designs that I am working on and trying to get better at. If you follow me on YouTube at The Crafty Author, then you have seen how I struggle with some designs. I am learning right along with you and I think that makes the experience even more fun to be honest.
Quilting is a journey between the quilter and his/her tools. It takes time, patience and whole lot of practice to get to the point of being comfortable with your designs. What I am trying to say here, is…don’t be too hard on yourself. We all start somewhere and every project is a learning experience. Embrace it, enjoy it, love it!
Anisa (The Crafty Author)