I’ve done my fair share of teaching workshops on a variety
of quilting techniques, and I’ve learned quite a bit from my students. Not necessarily
about quilting, but about learning styles and confidence levels. I’ve observed
so many different attitudes and perspectives on ‘trying new things’ or
‘reaching beyond one’s comfort zone.’ For me, as a teacher, giving quilters specific tools and knowledge to
tackle something they fear builds their confidence inch by inch. I’ve also
seen that amazing ‘I did it!’ moment when that curved seem turns our perfectly
flat or those corners match up just right. It’s the most rewarding part of
teaching for me: seeing the confidence blossom in quilters that arrive at a
workshop with little to none.
Technical sewing skills aren’t the only thing that make quilters feel
intimidated. Color selection and fabric choices just terrify some folks! If
this doesn’t apply to you, then surely you have sat next to someone in a
workshop who feels this way. I take the same approach to design skills as I do to technical sewing, dispensing simple tools that will build upon each other to
(hopefully) encourage someone to step outside their comfort zone and enjoy the
One of the best ways I have found to encourage folks who
fear trying those crazy curves or using new color combinations is to start
small. Rather than tackle that huge, queen-size quilt, start smaller. Just aim
for three to five blocks to see if those brilliant colors really do make you
happy. You will know after just a few blocks whether this new technique is
addictive or ho-hum for you personally.
No one really wants to waste their favorite fabrics on
blocks that are just for the exercise of a workshop, so I always offer an
option to make one row of a quilt into a table runner. It
always thrills me when folks have so much fun making the small project that
they decide to forge on and make the big quilt instead!
Several of the projects from my book,
Scrap Quilt Secrets,
have smaller project options offered for free on my website at Butterfly
Next time you are ready to try something new, but are
feeling intimidated, start small, sew a few blocks or a row, and then decide!
Either way, you’ll end up with something fun, and perhaps a new skill or two.
Enjoy every stitch,
Diane D. Knott
Author of Scrap Quilt Secrets
Find some fun, small projects for free on my website at www.butterflythreadsquilting.com. And to win your own ebook copy of Scrap Quilt Secrets, you can enter our giveaway here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.
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