The Free Motion Quilting Project: Lessons from a Star

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lessons from a Star

This fall I pieced four six pointed stars from the materials in a Quilty Box. I machine quilted one block with rulers for fun, but the other three star blocks have been floating aimlessly around my sewing room for months.

This week I pulled out one star block and jumped on the longarm for some much needed quilting play in between moving furniture and fabric and making a giant mess in my studio.

But...I hit a snag. I began quilting the block with a variety of rulers and made a very big mess of one corner. I didn't like what I'd quilted and I didn't know how to keep going without having to rip.

Ripping is SO not an option this week. I'm ripping shelves off the walls, reorganizing everything, and dealing with a huge mess of my own making. I don't have the patience or brain space for ripping out stitches, no matter how bad they look. I. Just. Want. To. Quilt!

So tonight I did just that. I kept going. I didn't rip, and I didn't worry about the bad design choice I made in the corner. I just kept stitching and I kept trying different rulers and I knocked out more space in the block.

And a funny thing happened as more designs and more stitching filled this star - I began to like it again.

I ended up finding many lessons within this little block:

1. I hate scallop rulers because they're a b*!@# to line up evenly, and extremely noticeable when they slip.

2. It's better to keep going and ignore the mistake. The longer you stop and agonize about it, the bigger the mistake appears, the more space it takes up in your head, and the more tempting it becomes to rip.

3. Everything looks better with more designs and more stitching. I already new this - it's one of my favorite things to tell you to "Throw more thread at it." but even I need a reminder occasionally.

It's also good to keep things in perspective. Will this little six pointed star block be the end-all, be-all of my quilting experience?

NO! It was a learning block and largely used to check the tension on my machine. It was never MEANT to be a masterpiece, and I should never have let some wobbly stitches and ugly design choices stop me in my tracks.

In short - you learn a lot more by doing more. You won't learn anything when you stop. So keep going, keep quilting, keep moving. There is always something new to learn, but only if you're willing to keep trying.

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day


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