Sewing & Quilting: Back to Basics

When is it the right time to stop calling yourself a beginner quilter?

It was not too long ago that I considered myself a member of this category. Since I started to learn to sew and quilt back in 2012, I have learnt many skills and techniques. I have made a total of 5 quilts, a couple of patchwork pillows, a reversable sewing machine cover, a mug rug and a simple Christmas stocking.
Perhaps I have forgotten something, yes, my embroidery projects which include my detailed quilt labels that were mini embroidery pieces all on their own.
When I first began to learn to quilt I didn’t even know how to sew a stitch, neither by hand nor on the maschine. Since then, I have become a keen hand sewer and embroiderer, as well as, a good hand quilter.
As for my maschine sewing skills and maschine quilting skills, I have yet to gain the necessary confidence that would enable me to float effortlessly from one project to the next, that is if I  could actually decide on a project.



My first hand embroidered and self-made/ designed quilt label.

My first quilt was a child’s bed quilt made with lots of love, for my niece Stephanie, seen far left with a tiger face painted on her. (Also to be seen is my mother’s side of the family, cousins and aunties and mini cousins) My mom is the one in the blue at the far left.
I hand pieced the blocks, learning on the internet and from books the needed skills and then went for help from the professionals. I received the necessary guidance from my ‘local’ quilt shop, which was the team work of the two ladies Maya and Irène who run my favorite quilt shop here in Switzerland, The Quilt Place, just outside of Zurich, near Winterthur. I finished the piecing of the sashing and front and back by maschine and maschine quilted it on my simple starter Bernina Bernette 15.
 This quilt was a real learning curve, so after that I tried something much easier: The
Windmill Quilt.
Following that I designed this quilt, which was easy peasy with a simple half-square triangle block design

and then along came The Granny Square quilt


and finally a flannel sampler quilt for my husband Yves’ Quilt.

Those last three were generally big challenges as my Bernette is really a trial.
For that reason I have hand quilted all but my first quilt. As for the binding of the quilt all of my quilts are hand bound.
Although I have developed a passion for hand sewing and quilting, I know that if I want to up my quilting and sewing game and make more,  I will need to learn how to piece and quilt the quilts entirely on the maschine, and maschine bind them.
There are so many people I would like to make quilted or hand sewn and embroidered gifts for but until I can make things quickly and confidently I can forget it.
This does of course not mean that I will be giving up my hand quilting all together, rather I will hand quilt only things that are made for myself or my husband. No one can imagine how much time and care goes into a hand quilted item, unless they themselves are quilters.
All of the quilts mentioned (minus my niece’s quilt) are showing in my local quilt group’s quilt show which is held every 3 years. This is my first quilt show and I have been very busy getting everything ready lately. Today is the first day of the quilt show here in St. Gallen and it lasts all month. I will write a seperate post on that once I get photos.
If you follow my blog regularly, you may remember that I made some quilty goals and resolutions for 2016. Most importantly, my word of the year was FLOURISH. Getting back to the basics in both my quilting and sewing is part of that challenge to myself. By getting back to the basics and studying the techniques and skills behind piecing and quilting quilts I will be able to improve my quilting and sewing skills and thus will be more confident and be able to make more of the projects I dream of doing.
Not only that, but I will be able to give beginner quilters a little advice on tips and techniques that I have learnt along the way.
This is going to be a test for me, but one I welcome.
Leaving you on that note, please think back to my original question and help me define an answer: When is it the right time to stop calling yourself a beginner quilter? What categories do you make for yourself as a quilter? Where do you see yourself fitting and why? Are you a hand quilter, a modern quilter, a dream quilter? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on the matter.
I wish you all a happy Sunday.