Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Oh, Baby, Baby!

Small children learn to do things by doing. Some are Watchers, who take it all in and rehearse it many times in their minds, and then just do it without a problem. Others are the Fearless 'move first-think later' category. 

We witness a lot of trial and error with them. There are other kinds out there. All different. But considering the lack of language fluency by most, they are excellent problem solvers. If we help out, we don't necessarily tell them how to do things as much as show them. And when they succeed, it gives them confidence to take risks that are new and more exciting.

I often find myself talking to people about quilting. A few will proceed to tell me they love looking at quilts, and would love to do it, but they don't really know how. I'll hear how they once tried to piece a quilt, and it was a disaster. How corners weren't square, this and that were off, and they finally gave up. A few admit they still have the project bagged in a closet decades later. It makes me sad.

Why? What prevents us as adults from trying things a little beyond our ability or accepting a less than perfect outcome? Is it the fear of failure? That something could take us so long to do, days or weeks, and turn out in some way less than the one we saw in the magazine? Heads up! A quilt that is done, regardless of perfect seaming, is perfect.  It is an expression of you at that moment in time. It reflects who you were while you made it.

So, you say, where do you start? If you're a Watcher, then watch. YouTube is saturated with quilting demonstrations. Missouri Quilt Co. is one of my favorites. They will show you how to do the whole
quilt step by step, or you can fast forward through most to view what you need. There are endless tutorials.

If you are Fearless, then just start cutting and sewing. With Wonky Quilts so popular, your beginner quilts will look hip! How about a simple wonky log cabin? Square by square you can piece a baby quilt in no time with whatever fabric you have on hand. No one will know or care if you are a beginner.

We adjust our expectations for children when they are learning new skills. It's no different quilting than learning to ride that two-wheeler. You will fall, I guarantee it, but get back up. Be kind to yourself and your beginner friends. Cheer them on. Encourage success. So what if the colors didn't work quite as you expected? I despise the expression most of the time, but get over it. Be humble. Someone will appreciate that quilt more than you can imagine. You learned something.

I took this picture of our first son's floor quilt. It's not exactly what I would make today, but 25 years ago, I just loved it.

Come on doxie girls. Let's go sew.


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