So after my last post, I'm realizing that there's some serious machine quilting angst out there in blogland. I'm not calling anyone out - it's not just folks who read/comment here. Once I picked up on it, I started seeing it in a lot of the blogs that I read. Folks are scared to quilt their tops on their own machines. I'm here to tell you that it's okay to have angst. I get it. I wish I could tell you that I've arrived in some permanent state of free motion zen. But that's not true. I have (and still do) put off machine quilting some of my quilts for various reasons.
Exhibit A - My Bliss top was a beast. I knew that going into it - it was bigger than any other top I had put through my machine, so it scared me. It sat there in the corner of my sewing room for over a YEAR, all basted and ready to go, just taunting me, while I studiously avoided it and worked on a few dozen other projects.
Exhibit C - Then there's the pile of tops (including this one) I've yet to start quilting because I just don't know how to quilt them.
So over the next few days, I'm going to be sharing my
I played piano all through school and my undergrad degree, along with flute through high school. I'm a big believer in the power of practice. Even on the days I wasn't "feeling it," I still showed up to practice, and after a few minutes, I would get into it and practice for at least an hour or more.
Machine quilting can sometimes be the same way. There are some nights when I'd much rather sit on the couch with my laptop, but I tell myself to just go upstairs and quilt for 10 minutes. I keep a kitchen timer in my sewing room for nights like this. I set the timer for 10 minutes, and if I'm not feeling it after 10 minutes, I have permission to do something else sans guilt. But usually by that point, I'm engaged enough to keep going.
It kind of reminds me of the Friends episode where Chandler flips out about getting married, so Ross convinced him to just take the wedding day one step at a time - first he just had to take a shower - no commitment there, right? Even if he didn't go through with the wedding, he was still gonna have to take a shower. Then next, all he had to do was dry off and get dressed, etc. It's described here, but the video doesn't seem to be (legally) available anywhere.
Getting started with machine quilting is similar. I don't try to psych myself up to quilt a whole quilt in one night, even though I know there are people out there who do that. It's just too daunting for me. Maybe it's just me, and I'm easily overwhelmed. Instead, I psych myself up to go quilt for 10 minutes. That's all. Baby steps = low-commitment. Some people would call this lowering expectations, I call it setting yourself up for success.
So in summary, tip #1: Just commit to practicing your machine quilting for 10 minutes. Seriously, right now. Go quilt for just 10 minutes. You'll feel better.