Mark My Word August 2009
There comes a time in every quilter's life where the urge to piece starts to fade. It's not so much lack of interest, but lack of inspiration. The old "been there, done that" bug hits all of us at one time or another. Yet I'm willing to bet that if you pull out all of the quilts you've made, and look at them with a discriminating eye, you will not only see the quilt and quilting patterns in your quiltes, but you will also begin to see pattersn in the stly of quilts you like to make, from the similarity in color paletters to the stalled level of difficulty. (Don't believe me? Start spreading your patchwork and just see if I'm wrong.)
Let me tell you, if you're sticking to piecing the same kind of stuff with the same types of fabrics and colors, then of course you're going to be blase about starting another project! Piecing for piecing's sake, with no eye toward experimentation and frolic, is the equivalent to patchwork water-boarding -- it's torture. Sure, you get a quilt, but probably not a brilliant one. (And you wonder why you feel like you're drowning?)
No I'm on to talk! You probably don't know that for the first 10 years of my quilting life, I refused to sew a curve. It wasn't because I didn't think curves added excitement and drama to a quilt. Oh, no! It was because I was as fightened of them as the ex-Miss California's Carrie Prejan is of more topless pictures. I was afraid of screwing them up, or that they might be too hard for a quiltier like me with so little technical expertise. Once I risked piecing a curve or two, I couldn't stop making them! Now I actually love to teach curved piecing -- don't faint! -- without pins.
Y-seams are another pain in the butt, until you learn a fast, easy technique that really works. And once you conquer that, your Y-seam options appear limitless, allowing your patchwork to take off in new, unexplored directions. Trust me on this!
So, if you're starting to feel a twinge of quilter bumout or patchwork fatigue, stop blaming the hobby and take a look in the mirror.
As soon as you take stock of your finished quilts (and your predicatbale style), head to your local fabric depot and find a pattern or book with a quilt you want to try. Then make the uncomfortable effort to choose fabrics totally out of your comfort zone. If you like autumn colors, choose a summer palette. If winter is your thing, go fall. See what I mean?
If you only make magazine quilts, buy an off-the-quilt-shop-rack pattern - something more challenging than what you see in your tired old subscription copies - so you begin to reach beyond the smae old, same old.
If you've never appliqued, try it. It doesn't have to be perfect, just finished. If you're a traditional piecer, how about trying some freedom-expressing, non-traditional piecing? If you've never paper-pieced, or Drunkard's Pathed (other than that time or tow in college), just do it. If you get stuck, bring your block to your local shop or guild meeting for some one-on-one assistance. Break free! Challenge yourself!
Nothing is truer tha the adage, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." I used to be the biggest piecing chicken in the nation, but once I adjusted my cojones and went for it, the excitement and passion for patchwork cam back in spades. And I have the curved, Y-seamed, artsy and complex patterned quilts to prove it.
Go for it, cupcakes! You never know what might happen next!
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