I am always experimenting. Trying something new. It doesn’t always turn out well, but I always learn something!
Can you step out of your comfort zone and try something new? If so, I highly recommend starting low and going slow. By that, I mean, pick a small project to trying something new rather than dive into something HUGE. You can build your confidence and skills on your small accomplishments. Then, start adding these accomplishments together to make the masterpiece you have dreamed of. This method minimizes the chances of your UFO (unfinished objects) pile growing at an equal rate to the projects you start.
I know, great theory, but how can you put this into practice? Here are few ways.
- Join a block hop. Block hops are great ways to collect blocks of different types and techniques, which you can put together in your own special quilt. Often, block hops are created by a group of designers who agree upon a theme or fabric collection. They usually have blocks of the same size. Therefore, they are easy to collect and put into a cohesive quilt. Designers typically agree to publish one block per week or month, which gives you time to complete it and move to the next.
- Join a quilt along. These can be free or paid. A designer will publish a pattern over the course of a few weeks or months. You and others will encourage each other to complete the blocks before the next one is published. The host of the quilt along may even incentivize you with prizes for being the first to complete or add your name to a drawing. This method helps you to pace yourself and provides a sense of community, which will inspire you to keep going. The National Quilt Museum has one every year!
- Make a mini quilt. Many mini quilt patterns are one block patterns that focus on a specific skill. These mini quilts are great to learn a new technique without committing to a large project, which may be intimidating or daunting. Mini quilts are great for gifts and perfect for practicing your binding techniques!
- Make a small special project. Small bags, pot holders, runners, and journal covers are small doable projects to test a new technique. Again, they make great gifts and help you test drive a new technique. These are especially good for free motion quilting practice.
If you like a technique, add it to your “Can Do” list. Then, try something else new. You can combine these techniques in your next project. Eventually, work your way into sampler quilts, which may contain several blocks of a new technique or several different techniques. Keep in mind when you do a sampler quilt, you don’t have to do it all! You can pick the blocks you like and skip the ones you don’t. There are no quilt police!
During the next year, I will be launching a quilt along, which will focus on a new technique each month. Watch for it!