I remember well the first quilt I ever made and, at the time, I thought it was great. I'd seen my mother and grandmothers make quilts and it seemed easy. After all, I'd taken home ec and I'd made my own clothes for years so a quilt should be a breeze. I bought some polyester fabrics, cut out some squares, and tried to make some sort of pattern. I think it might have been a four patch alternated with solid colored squares but it's been years since I've seen it so I'm not sure. That was 1995. I bought a high loft batting and a sheet for the back and I hand quilted it. Yes. I. Did. I'd made it for a friend and since we don't live in the same town I've not seen it since. She probably uses it for a dog bed. I hope she does. I think I probably used a 5/8" seam, isn't that what you were supposed to do?
Even though the quilt was double awful, as I learned later, I loved the process so I continued to teach myself by reading a few books and experimenting. I'm still not a great piecer though I enjoy doing it. Quarter inch straight seams elude me. I'm very good at embroidery, and fair-to-middlin' on applique so I'm happy with that. I rarely enter a quilt in a show though because I see every single flaw. Every stray stitch. Every bobble of the seam. Every point that doesn't match. I got better over time and I'm much more comfortable with my stitching now, primarily because I learned to ignore the quilt police who have absolutely no authority, only loud voices.
My latest quilt, though, is one of those where everything that could go wrong, did. I fell in love with Moda's 12 Days of Christmas while I was on a mission trip last summer and bought a couple charm packs. At the same time I saw a new-to-me way to make Pinwheels. So I gave it a shot. You put two squares together, sew all around the four outside edges, cut and end up with half square triangles, which you put together to make Pinwheels. That's all well and good but here's my question. Why do they pink the edges of the charm pack? I couldn't decide if I should measure from the inside or the outside of the pinked edge. Apparently I did one thing on some and another thing on others. Or maybe I changed midstream on one pinwheel. Every single one of them ended up being a different size. And then there's the ironing issue. When I was a little girl growing up and learning to iron my mother used lots of steam and lots of pressure to get every wrinkle out. I know better than do that when quilting but if I am in a hurry or if I'm watching television or if I'm listening to a book on tape.....well, I sort of forget. And I iron the darn things to death, resulting in slightly crooked pinwheels, or majorly crooked ones. Points didn't meet, points got cut off, points float, blocks weren't the same size, and the borders waved. I gave up and quilted the darn thing. I can't seem to make myself slow down so stitches are different lengths and there are points where there should be curves. But when I washed and dried it I have to say it's the most beautiful quilt, even if it IS the second worst one I ever made.