From – June 24, 2010
In any discipline, learning the basics is the first step towards mastery of a skill set. Quilting making is no different. There are so many tricks and short cuts and more appear every day. There are tons and tons of gadgets that make our work faster. Because of all of these advancements in techniques, materials and tools, we can now make quilts that were not possible before.
The quilt designs that were only achievable by highly skilled artists are now available to all of us. Following pretty simple instructions now rewards us with masterpieces. Techniques, materials and tools have taken a millennia old art form and completely transformed it.
However, these wonders work so much better if there is a fundamental core knowledge base. Being able to sew straight seams, understanding the importance of pressing seams, cutting carefully and accurately are qualities that are best appreciated when coupled with the experience of having to redo project where these basics were not done correctly. That results in practice and an investment of time and effort.
If there is a problem with the outcome of a particular project, a well seasoned quilter can identify where the difficulty arose and even possibly repair it. Steam a seam is wonderful but the ability to hand appliqué allows you to determine this tool’s appropriate usage. Thangles can make perfect corners, but so can old fashion straight pins and a great deal of care. I absolutely love my embroidery machine but it can’t compare to a beautifully executed hand done project.
Experience only comes with time. And practice is only valuable if it has been applied to basic quilt making skills. We will never do it perfectly but we can take the big goofs out and redo (re-practice) and when we do, we appreciate our results so much more. That effort doesn’t take that much time and it takes your whole life. Results will very quickly improve having done relatively few projects but practicing is a lifelong journey.
Gather those experiences and practice those basics and develop the knowledge base that allows you to truly and fully express yourself in your art.
Learn, Grow, Share – And most of all – Create!