Friday, December 19, 2014

Conquering FEAR one quilt at a time

I have a finish to share!!!  Last week I took a few days off to complete some Christmas presents for the g-kids...I'll share them soon... and got on a roll and even finished a project for me!!!  The Portland Modern Quilt Guild had all its members working on a medallion along and I pretty much kept up all year.  Then in October, after we had completed the top we were instructed to get the top quilted and bound and bring them to the Christmas party in December to show them all off.  Sounded easy but not so for me.

I was pretty sure the only way I was getting it done was to take it to a longarmer to complete.  I hate working on a quilt on the domestic and since it is my only option, having it professionally finished seemed the smartest choice.  Then for some reason I dragged my feet and started thinking it would feel great to finish this thing all by myself...what a sense of accomplishment that would be.  Then I did the only sensible thing and hung it on a hanger in the UFO closet with plenty of company and left it there.  The week before the Christmas party, I started thinking I should take some time during my vacation to work on it....dare I try to even finish it???

Crazy, but I quilted all 72 x72 inches of this monster in the final two days before the party.  Actually the day before and day OF the party.  I spent 10 hours on Wednesday and another 5 on Thursday, the day of the party, getting this project to completion and it felt really good and really exhausting!!!  Wow, did my shoulders and arms ever feel so tired after fighting that weight thru the machine for two days.

I started by doing something different basting it this time.  Usually I struggle with it on the floor and I saw this idea on Pinterest years ago and decided to finally give it a go.  After basting the back with spray adhesive to the batting I took the top and wrapped in around a clean 2x2 piece of wood.  I started by taping it to the length of the 2x2 with blue painters tape and just wound it around the wood until it was all on it.

Then, I was able to just pin baste it on the table, which was much better than the usual strain on the back and knees on the floor routine.  It was also great to only spray the adhesive on the 10 inches ahead of the section I had just finished and just roll out the quilt onto it each time.  This really revolutionized this part of the process for me...Yeah!! 

A few weeks before the Christmas party, Alyssa Lichner from Pile 'o Fabric presented her 2015 Skillbuilder BOM quilt, Technicolor Galaxy.  You can check it out by clicking on the link if you haven't seen it already, and I was thinking it really would be a fabulous quilt but I wasn't sure if I would want to change up the colors or how I would attack doing that plus did I have the time to commit to it???  Then on December 6th, just when I needed to hear this message the most, she posted talking about the Purpose of Skillbuilding you may want to check it out.  She reiterated that the learning is done thru doing , doing, doing.  Essentially the old practice makes perfect speech we all know so well. Problem is she was right about what stops us from delving forward into the doing, doing, doing, at least for me, and that is the fear.  She says fear will hault your learning and for me that certainly rings true.  I don't finish quilts because my FEAR holds me back.  I feel I have spent all these many hours creating a really beautiful and unique quilt top and I don't want to ruin it's perfection with my free motion quilting skills.  My fear paralyzes me from even attempting to do the next steps to finish the quilt.  I have spent a little time lately getting more comfortable with my walking foot but even then, I could do it more and do and do and do until I am more proficient and certainly not scared of doing it, but I rarely do.  How am I to acquire the necessary skills if I am too afraid of failure to try?

Therefore, two things went through my mind when I read and saw my fear head on in her post.  I was going to finish this quilt and I was going to finish my other UFO's in 2015!!!  Alyssa was so right in pointing out that to grow and succeed I needed to challenge myself to do it!!!  If I didn't try new things I would never realize my potential.  I needed to take her advice and approach this craft with NO FEAR!!!  So I used that as my fear!!!  Although I felt completely vulnerable taking the quilt top little ol' me had fmq'd to the PMQG Christmas party and hanging it up for all to see, I did it and can you believe I didn't hear one person gasp or belittle my skills.  By the way, thank you for that...seriously :) to all the PMQG members!!! I can chuckle about it now but it is scary putting it out there for such a group to see.

Despite the fact that 75 to 80 percent of the medallions that were finished in time for the Christmas party were probably longarmed and the fact that I felt completely out of my element hanging up my very amateurish in not juvenile skilled fmq'd quilt at the meeting/party,  I am going to  stay strong and fearless and committed to learning this craft.  I kept telling myself, Angela Walters would be proud of fearless... and you know what 15 hours later I had a completed top and it felt amazing!!!

Oh and guess what... that Alyssa Lichner--Pile O' Fabric--2015 Skillbuilder quilt, Technicolor Galaxy, well the PMQG took advantage of a group discount program Alyssa threw our way and a large group of us are all doing it next year together!!!  Talk about Kismet...only fitting I give it a go.
I hope I can stay fearless and motivated in 2015 because I need to grow and succeed in this manner if I am ever going to become the quilter I know I have living in me somewhere.  Just one more reason to say...
Keep Stitchin'


  1. So glad I read this post! I let fear put my machine quilting off too. I am a long time hand wuilter, and very relaxed with that. I bought the Tiara longarm..sit down.....and have done quite w few quilts on it. Just finished a king size for a Christmas gift, was challenging but I did it with no problems. I just need to move along with my designs a Merry Christmas!!!

  2. that is beautiful.....and a wonderful accomplishment

  3. Felicidades!conquistar cualquier miedo es precioso para nuestras vidas.
    A veces me pregunto si no vinimos aquí para eso.
    Que DIOS le de un nuevo año lleno de desafíos y oportunidades,

  4. Oh hurray for you! I'm sure you are very proud of your accomplishment. And Yes we are the only obstacle to our own success. Congrats on a beautiful finish.

  5. I love this quilt so much, and I'm glad I got to see it in person! No matter what you might think, your quilting was gorgeous! Keep going and it will get easier and easier each time. :)

  6. your quilt is beautiful, you must be very proud of yourself. it's no small feat to fmq a large quilt. you're so right about fear holding us back, my newest quilting phrase is 'Just go for it" very freeing. I did Alyssa's first skillbuilders, took me 2 years, just finished it this month, but i am very proud of doing by myself. She is an awesome teacher, and being able to learn fmq at the same time as piecing is great. My confidence has really grown, i didn't do last years, but am debating on doing 2015 just to keep up the skill i learn and hopefully do it better as an intermediate than as a novice. btw i love the arrows that are the center of the medallion.


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