Learner’s Luck from Soaring Stitches by Patricia Belyea

learner’s luck


By Patricia Belyea

When we’re beginners, we ARE beginners. That’s not a negative thing. Instead it’s a badge of honor because we got started! It’s a big step to move from wanting to do something to actually doing it.

My mentor Maurine Noble mentioned that lots of novices came to her wanting to make king-sized quilts for their beds. From Maurine’s point of view, the first project was a make-or-break affair. If the initial enterprise failed, the person would never return to quiltmaking.

So where does our dearly departed Maurine suggest we start? With a baby quilt, not a masterpiece production. She was interested in beginners experiencing the whole creation of a quilt—choosing a design direction and fabric, making a top and back, pinning the quilt sandwich together, stitching, and binding. Maurine was also a stickler for the final step—labeling a quilt. There’s lots to learn in quiltmaking!

But what if we sped up the process of quiltmaking and learning all the steps? Let’s consider Quilt Sketches—making smaller-sized quilts that explore color, design and composition. Instead of overworking an idea or taking on a huge challenge, we keep things simple. 

Of course, making a Quilt Sketch is not a five-minute operation. We still need to finish the quilt as a UFO (unfinished object) would be a burdensome thing. The faster we move with our rookie quiltmaking, the faster we can learn what matches our style and heart.

As Tom Jefferson wrote: The harder I work, the luckier I get. So true for us quiltmakers!

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SOARING STITCHES is a blook (blog book) by Patricia Belyea.

To read the Introduction +click here

To read other Creativity Snippets:
Holy Messes +click here
Freedom Makers +click here

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  • Barbara Stutz
    Hi, I hope you are aware of this event going on in Portland.


  • Patricia Belyea
    Barbara—Thank you for pointing my nose in this direction. Hey Everyone—there are lots of interesting and FREE events being offered! PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Katie—A throw quilt is just a little bigger than a baby quilt. So, great! Can you imagine if you were trying to make a spectacular quilt for your king-sized bed as your first project? It might fluster you quite a bit! The concept of Quilt Sketches is to work as fast as possible so you can cover lots of ground, make your fair share of mistakes, be successful many times, and catapult yourself forward in your personal relationship to fabrics, piecing, color choices, and more.

  • Mary
    I didn’t start with a baby quilt, but a throw size and my teacher had me make small videos of numbering blocks, chaining, ironing,etc. I found those to be helpful. took my first quilt classes right before COVID, so I have essentially been on my own since then. I have not made a quilt sketch and am wondering about that.

  • Patricia Belyea
    Janet—Just like in art class when you do 5-minute sketches for an hour, you learn a lot. Same with quilting. If you only make one quilt a year, you will be on a very slow journey to find your personal style and voice. PB

  • Janet Wright
    Hmm! That is why your seminars of 4-5 days were so great. You actually came out with a small project—doable.

  • Thomas Holmes

    Love this. Thank you!