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 new experience!
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 Threads Quilting.
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.