Fons and Porter had a recent article (see below) saying that the four barriers to quilting are (1) time, (2) selecting patterns, (3) getting started, and (4) completing the quilt. I know that I can relate to each of these items. The article below gives some good suggestions to overcoming each issue:
Personally, I think that the underlying problem (for many people) is perfectionism. We are afraid to cut into our beautiful fabric and have it look worse. We’re afraid to start piecing because our seams will not be straight. We’re afraid to choose a quilting pattern because it might not best enhance our project. And we’re afraid to bind because the stupid continuous binding never turns out correctly, and that means our project is finished and we will experience judgement of the final product.
Well I have bad news. The ONLY way to become a better quilter is by quilting. You can read all the blogs and books you like, watch Youtube videos for several hours a day, and subscribe to every magazine on the planet. That will not improve your quilting nearly as much as sitting down and actually doing it. There are no shortcuts.
I am a firm believer in using classes, Youtube, books and magazines as learning tools. But we need to apply what we learn. To not be afraid to tackle a project and make mistakes. Not every quilt needs to be a masterpiece. In fact, we can actually throw out unfinished quilt tops (and even completed quilts) if we don’t like them. Yes, I’ve done both.
I have taken block of the month classes at my local quilt store. Many of my blocks have turned out to be ugly, or have not been the 12.5″ squares required by the directions. So what? I just toss them. I figure they’ve been a learning tool. No artist keeps every sketch and doodle they’ve ever done. There’s no reason I need to either.
My suggestion for solving many of these quilting challenges is to let yourself quilt imperfectly. Give yourself permission to learn. If you’re not satisfied with the results, you can donate your quilt to a willing charity. Or you can stop half-way through, realize that your learning is complete, and throw it out. As I said, not every quilt needs to be completed.
Quilting is a hobby. It should be fun. Be willing to make bad quilts and you will soon find yourself with the time and energy you need to enjoy this wonderful hobby.