Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My first quilt (and other learning opportunities)

I made my first quilt last year, to give as a first birthday gift to my niece/goddaughter Briar Rose.  I had spotted on Pinterest a fabric line that shared her name, designed by Heather Ross, and I figured how hard could it be to put make a quilt?  I put together a straightforward patchwork quilt, with a mitered corner border, pieced together the backing, free motion quilted vines and leaves all over it with my home sewing machine, and hand stitched the binding.
Briar Rose for Briar Rose quilt
I didn’t know a thing about quilting before I started, but I studied up on each step, and followed tutorials on blogs, and watched youtube videos to figure out just what the heck to do.  I truly believe that anyone can learn anything.  I want to stress that most of the crafty things I love doing I have had no formal training in, and I have learned everything I need to know from the internet, which is such a great resource for anyone looking to learn!

I turn to Google so frequently in my crafty adventures.  My grandma had taught me how to knit a good ten years ago, but has since passed away, so I wasn’t able to ask her for help any more.  I didn’t know much beyond a knit and purl stitch, and so stuck with a lot of beginner patterns because I didn’t know how to do any of the stitches in more advanced patterns.  Finally one day, I decided to just Google what I didn’t know.  Now I have no fear to tackle the most difficult patterns!  I know that I can learn what I need to know from a quick tutorial or youtube video. 

On the left is a straightforward knit/purl blanket I made (a "before google" pattern); on the right is a blanket with all kinds of crazy stitches and cables I made (an "after google" pattern).  Amazing what you can learn if you just take the chance and try! 
The internet has guided me through so many projects.  I’ve learned all about cake decorating, knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, English paper piecing, foundation paper piecing, watercolour painting, embroidery, home repair/renovations, baking and cooking.  Yes, I won’t be turning professional with any of my projects, but they are still pretty darn good!  And I wouldn’t have ever known what I was capable of if I hadn’t just taken a risk and tried. 
All made with internet tutorials
All techniques learned from internet tutorials
All executed with instruction from the internet. Yes, even the fireplace.  Stone masonry is learnable via youtube video.
Lots of people in my life will ask me “How did you learn all this?!”  I tell them how helpful the internet is as a resource (literally anything you want to learn is on there), and I always encourage them to try as well.  I often hear them say, “Oh, I could never be as good as you.”  But believe me, I am not as good as the previous person.  It doesn’t matter!

Just because someone else is better at something than you, doesn’t mean that you are no good.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  Allow yourself the luxury of being a beginner, allow yourself the luxury of being forgiving of your mistakes, and allow yourself the luxury of being proud of your accomplishments.  Because you are awesome! Now get out there and learn something new!

Post by Laura - Week #9:   Laura is an adventurous crafter who enjoys sewing, knitting, crochet, cooking, making cakes and blogging. Quilting is a relatively new string to her bow - but after quilting for little over a year she has completed three quilts and is working on a La Passacaglia quilt as a new project for 2015. Laura blogs and shares her crafty life at


  1. Thank you! I just saved this under "Encouragement." I love it! Sure, I knew that the knowledge is out there on the World Wide Web, but it IS easy to poo poo one's own abilities while lolling about eating bonbons and pinning others' accomplishments. Where you really got me was the proof in all your pictures WITH your encouragement. That's a hell of a cake and a stunning fireplace!! My favorites are the two knitting examples side by side, haha! I definitely felt that very timely kick in the pants you just gave me. Now I just have to stay in an upright position and fight the inertia! Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for these kind comments! I am proud of my accomplishments, and I want to share that feeling with others. I'm so glad that you feel inspired. Your comment has made my experience with this project so worthwhile. Thank you!