Friday, September 14, 2012

Wherever you are, JUST START!

Planting seeds of quilting!

I got this adorable picture and email from Michele N who’s toddler daughter is already showing signs of being a master quilter someday!

She’s been very observant watching mommy sew and quilt and knows just what to do!

She writes:

Hi. On your QuiltCam one night you were talking about the younger generation learning to quilt.

My daughter is two now. Last November i had had my rotary cutter and rulers and stuff on the floor. My daughter went over to it and on her own tried "cutting" fabric.

I of course took away the cutter with a blade in it and gave her an empty one. But at that moment I was so proud of her. Her name is Emeline. And she loves fabric. I hope that continues for years. Thank you for letting me share.

How often do we start something so late in life that the learning curve just knocks us flat?

I have a friend who didn’t start piano lessons until well into his 40s. He is playing so well after 5 years that he regrets the time lost and wishes he had started earlier. But you know what? We start when we start. Wherever and whenever we start, it’s the right time to start!

This brings to mind another photo I posted on facebook the other day but has had me considering it since. It is SO IMPORTANT not to give up!


This applies to our quilting in oh, so many ways! Read it – read it all, read it more than once. Save the photo to remind yourself to not give up! It’s normal to take a while. While Emeline is getting a good early start, no matter where and when you started on this journey, every day, every project is one step forward in teaching you all you need to know.

“It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap. And your work will be as good as your ambitions.”

Quilt on, Everyone!


  1. Thanks, Bonnie! I love it!

  2. So true, so true!! Glad someone put this into words other than "Practice, practice, practice". This is so much more motivating!

  3. Great quote. When I get 'down' about results of something, I look back at how far I have come and feel better. I just keep trying to improve my skills and learn new ones along the way.

  4. I love it too! I've saved it to remind myself.
    Thank you.

  5. Oh Bonnie, that is just what I needed. I am trying to teach myself how to use my mid-arm quilting machine and frame. I keep having this feeling that I will never get the hang of it. My curves are all clunky and chunky. I do want to give up at time and just say the heck with it, but it keeps calling me back. Maybe someday I can acutally quilt a quilt on it.

    1. I am learning on my machine, too. But what I do is make quick and easy tops and then quilt them for donations, such as to the Linus project or other charities. They don't care if the quilting is perfect but just love having a quilt. That way I can practice and still make something useful for someone who needs it.

    2. That is a GREAT idea JoAnn! I think I will start doing that. :)

  6. Learning is a lifetime journey.

  7. Bonnie, thank you for posting this! You're SO right and I really needed this reminder today. The poster brought tears to my eyes. I'm going to follow your suggestion, print it out and hang it where I can see it often. :-)

  8. This was a great reminder to not give up! I love this! Thanks! And what a cute pic of that little sweetie! :o)

  9. I have to remind myself not only to practive, but to NOT GIVE UP! It won't be perfect even after you practice, but you have to keep at it.
    I remember BH telling me that "the points are in there...they are hiding in the seams". If she can hide her points once in awhile..so can I!

  10. Thanks, I really needed that! I've been through a lot of changes lately (recently back from a deployment, shoulder issues that are making rotary cutting difficult, loneliness as my hubby is still away) and this is what I needed.

    Plus, oh yeah, 12 babies born from a month ago through March who all need quilts. Gah! No stress...these are quilts to use, to love...not to hang in a competition. Maybe someday I'll get there (after all, I started quilting in the 8th grade) but not today!

  11. Thank you Bonnie. You are so right and this sign is so true. I was 32 years old before I started quilting and I have loved every single minute of the last 20 years. Life will always have something new coming your way. Set your goals, plans and just keep chipping away at it and you will succeed.
    You are such an inspiration to all of us to just keep chipping away at piecing those quilts and before you know it you will have a finished top and then another one and another one.
    Happy Quilting to all.

  12. Anonymous3:56 PM EDT

    Bonnie, I started quilting by hand, when I was 19 or 20. I was poor and in college. All my supplies(fabric, needles, book) came from Walmart. I didn't use a sewing machine until I was 22, when I received one for a gift. At 26 I sewed my own curtains. At 30, I did clothes for my kids. I'm proud of my progress and branching out. This year, I decided to pick up my mom's old knitting needles and crochet hooks and figure those hand crafts out. I regret not learning those when my mom was alive, but I'm glad Zi finally learned. I love the feeling when I accomplish things. I often wish I did them earlier!

  13. I've been sewing most of my life, and my 3 DD do not have much expeirence. they don't care about it. I think one might eventually take it up again, and another one taught me how to make socks (knitting) so I think there might be hope for them..... I can just dream!

  14. Very good advice! I hope someday my skill catches up with my ambition. :) I quilt, knit, and I'm learning Japanese. I stink at all three but I try to persevere. The past few days, I've been feeling kind of blah, like there was no point in continuing something that I'm just no good at. This helps. :) Thanks for posting it!

  15. Anonymous4:13 PM EDT

    OH BONNIE --- your sign is SO TRUE for each of us. In fact, on my blog today, I talked a bit about being perfect. THERE IS NO SUCH THING! LOL - it is like a desert mirage.

    STOP, realize with each quiltie thing you do, you can learn some more. And remember this cute little post-it note quote:
    "There is only THREE rules in quilting .... except no one knows what they are!"

    I have that taped to my machines lol.

    Thanks for reminding us Bonnie ;)

  16. So glad you posted the little one's photo, it have me an idea. My youngest, who turns 4 next week has been driving me nuts while I am at the cutting table. I have one of those Fiskar rotary cutters, I can just take out the blade and allow him to 'craft' with me.

  17. Anonymous4:46 PM EDT

    For anyone who's wondering, that fabulous but unfortunately unattributed quote is from Ira Glass, the host of NPR's "This American Life." Credit where it's due & all. Thanks, Bonnie, for making sure it reaches a larger audience!

  18. I just love that quote.I rarely finish what I start because it is not perfect. A little voice in my head keeps telling me that it's not good enough, ie colours don't work, piecing too imprecise etc.I'm going to get one of those projects out and finish it!! and then enjoy it. Paradoxically, I have taught my two daughters to quilt. I am very encouraging to them and so they have both finished several quilts, not perfectly but nevertheless beautiful. I would not dream of pointing out imperfections to them, I am just so glad we can all quilt together!
    I need to do the same for me.
    This quote also reminds me of Mrs Goodneedle and her daily hour long practice on Sundance.She is putting in the body of work!
    I think I might see if I can find some more of Ira Glass's words of wisdom.

  19. I love that quote!

    Yes, as the commenter above me noted, it's from Ira Glass. I have a video of it that I love and try to watch on a regular basis to inspire me!


  20. How cute.. but please remember to put the cutters away up and away from little hands. One of my twins came so close to grabbing my cutter when she was little... thank goodness for those 'mom' eyes in the back of my head.

  21. Hello Bonnie,
    I am not sure, if I can say it all in English...
    I read this sign you show, but I don't agree all the way.
    Yes, working over the being unpleased phase, even if it takes years, I agree to do so (I do think, no creative work will be made without this phase). But I think being creative is more like being fixed on a moving ship. The aims and ambisions are always in front of you, you move towards them, but you never reach them, because they "move"/change,too.Your ambitions grow, rise. You allways want to be better than you are right now. And I think this is just the way it needs to be. Otherwise, what would happen if you touch the goal? Quit being creative? Getting bored with any projects? You still might be pleased with your work, but you never stop to try to get better!
    xxx Doris

  22. I love the process of learning a new creative thing to do. Sewing and crochet first. Then spinning weaving and basket making. Then needlepoint and other hand work. Now quilting.
    My life is so interesting and I will never live long enough to do all I wish to do.

  23. So so true. i'm still a NEW quilter and very new guitar player, but won't give up or give in.


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