Tuesday, September 20, 2016

No Such Thing as an Ugly Quilt

I used to get pretty hung up about my so-called ugly quilts.  Maybe my fabrics didn't all play well together.  Maybe my corners didn't line up just so.  They used to drive me crazy.

But then recently, I did a block exchange at my quilt guild.  We each made and exchanged 20 9-patch blocks and were challenged to see what we could do with them. Some of the ones I got back were pretty, and some were clearly from the what-was-I-thinking-when-I-bought-this collection.  (I'm sure we all have some of those.)

At first I was stuck...kind of wondering what in the world I could do to make a pretty quilt out of the stack of not-so-pretty I was working with.  I had a pattern idea in mind, something along the lines of what would happen if...

I took a look at the cacophony of colors and I decided to just go with it.  So I set to cutting, arranging, and sewing the blocks the way I had envisioned them.  And you know, the results weren't half bad.

Then it came time to quilt it.

I'm a relative newbie when it comes to making quilts, so up to this point, I'd been hesitant to attempt free motion quilting, preferring straight lines and stitching in the ditch to avoid ruining my pretty quilt tops with imperfect quilting.

This ugly quilt though?  What did I have to lose?  So for the first time, I free motion quilted an entire quilt, and for a first attempt, I was pretty proud of it.

It was very freeing to open up my creative channels and have the ability to learn without the pressure to chase perfection.  I didn't feel the need to judge my work other than to notice where I could use more practice.

Yes, our goal as quilters is to turn pieces of fabric into stunning quilts, but sometimes those perfect quilts can create a roadblock that might actually stifle our creativity, at least for a beginner like me.

But having that "ugly" quilt gave me permission to step out of my comfort zone and try something I'd never done before.  And that gave me even more confidence to try my new skills with an even larger project.

So I don't see an ugly quilt.  I see a quilt that boosted my confidence and gave me the courage to stretch my creative muscles and play.  And there's nothing ugly about that!

I call it Scrambled Nine Patch
That's my 4-year-old holding it for me.
He's such a good helper.

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