Wow! I'm really blown over by how many of you decided to learn quiltin' all on your own! Talk about bein' adventurous! It just goes to show you that quiltin' isn't just a hobby - it's a state of mind. And I think we're talkin' about some VERY creative minds! I think it's just awe-inspirin' how so many of you just put your mind to it and then DID it - most of you, I'll bet, just taught yourselves!

My first quilt (which I'm fair sure I've already jawed on about) was for my Gramma - an amazin' and wonderful woman. She had made a quilt for every single one of her grand-babies for every occasion imaginable (weddings, births, graduation ... you name it!) and still managed to raise fine children (my dear Daddy bein' one of them!!). So, I wanted to make one for her - for the woman who managed to find the time to touch sew many lives and never expected anything back.

Well, my first quilt was so horrible that, yep, it deserves a paragraph of it's own (consider it a "booby prize" LOL!). I didn't know doodly-squat about fabric (mine had just about every type of fabric - cotton, brocade, polyester ... just to name a few!), much less how to put striped fabric in a quilt! Can ya'll say diagonals here and there?? In my house back then, "fussy cutting" was an attitude, not a technique! If you could have heard the frustrated blue words comin' out of my mouth when I tried to get the striped fabric to look right! Well, let's just say that the average outlaw didn't have nothin' on my vocabulary (or temper)! :-)

And I sure as fire didn't know a durn thing about stitchin'! I knew that and joined a local guild (desperate to know why my quilt wasn't even a shadow of how lovely my Gramma's were) ... and one kind quilter took me aside and gently informed me that I didn't need to use a double strand of thread to quilt! No wonder it was such a chore pulling the thread through the sandwich! At the point that that lovely quilter had given me that valuable (and time and wrist saving) advice, I had only the borders left to quilt! I ended up using 3 spools of quilting thread (I'm not jokin' by the way) on a single wall-hanging size quilt! If you could have been a fly on the wall while I was strugglin' to pull the needle through the sandwich ...! :-)

Alrighty, I didn't just tell ya'll my greatest shame and embarrassment just so's you could laugh at me (well, maybe just a little bit). I really did have a point to make ... now if I can just stop laughing at myself and get my cheeks to stop flamin' ...

Oh ... yes ... my point ... those of you who are teaching yourselves to quilt: you're an amazin' bunch of people! It's not easy ... despite the bounty of books, videos, and such, out there, it's a pains-taking process. No book or video can make your quilting stitches smaller ... no seminar can make your stitches more even and consistent. It's all ya'll's own tireless (well, maybe not tireless - Lord knows quilters do sew much they've GOT to get tired sometimes!), endless pursuit for perfection. A journey in and of itself. And the destination isn't just so's you can pat yourself on the back or give yourself praise (or hear it from someone else) - it's to do the best you can and give your creative spirit a voice.

The one thing that can really depress the doody out of me is whenever I hear a quilter bash her (or his) own work and progress. Too many times (usually from the self-taught quilters) I hear "My stitches aren't small enough!" or "My stitches just aren't even!" or some such nonsense. And I call it nonsense because they got THAT far all on their own! No one took them by the hand down to their local LQS or fabric store and picked out the pattern, fabric, notions, etc ... no one put their blocks together for'em. No one assembled the top for'em. THEY did that all on their own!! And certainly, no one handed them their creative spirit.

Sew, all you self-taught quilters, give yourself a pat on the back (or at least, let ME give you one!) and remind yourself, those of you who have just started to quilt, that it's a journey. And each quilt you make is a single step towards that destination. Each quilt an opportunity to stretch your creative wings, expand your horizons, and learn somethin' new. The more quilts you make, the more steps you've taken! And you've got to face it, with each quilt, you've learned somethin' new! A new technique (or an improvement on an old one), a new concept, or a new way of distilling your vision into fabric and thread! You are an amazin' bunch of dedicated people!! Ya'll took a chance on a new creative outlet!! Kudos to ya'll!! Yippee for you!! :-)

And if ya'll will let me, I'd be most honored if you let me join you on that journey. :-)

Okay, ya'll, I'm done preachin' for the moment. I'm off to get more patterns finished and uploaded! :-)

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)