Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Trying New Things - Courage Comes Before Confidence

Today on the blog, I'm deviating from my typical post about a specific project to talking about how we approach new projects  - quilting or anything new in life. 

Many times when faced with trying something new, we (myself included) immediately shy away from the project with excuses, flashbacks from failed previous attempts and a whole host of other reasons why we can't do it.  I've seen this in online quilting groups, I've seen this in classes I've taught, I've done this myself.  

Somedays we are our own worse enemy.  Instead of encouraging ourselves, we assume this "I can't do it" attitude and close the door before we even take a look inside. 

In quilting, project skill levels are frequently assigned as beginner, then confident beginner.  To become confident, one must first have the courage to try.  

I started quilting when I was a teenager with my grandmother as my instructor. I cut fabric using cardboard templates, machine pieced and handquilted each project.  I went off to college, Grandma passed and I didn't seriously quilt again until I was in my late 30's.  Oh my, things had changed in the quilting world!  

I remember seeing a paper-pieced quilt in a quilt show and was in love with the detail and precision and I wanted to make quilts just like that.  Well, my first paper-piecing experience didn't turn out well.  I had fabric stitched to both sides of the paper!  It was a complete failure and I swore off paper-piecing.  Every so often I would try again with better results each time. Now I would consider myself a Confident Paper-Piecer ... but only because I had the courage to try and try again.  Now I have the confidence to not only make but to design paper-piecing patterns, check out my Perfectly Potted Wall Hanging in the Summer 2021 issue of Quilter's World Magazine. 

When I made my first quilted wall hanging (read all about it here), I didn't know that Y-seams were suppose to be hard.  I liked the look of the project in the magazine, I followed Grandma's instuctions and I machine pieced Y-seams.  Was I courageous? Not necessarily.  It was more a case of Grandma encouraging me to make what I wanted to make instead of telling me that I can't do it.  

Read that last sentence again.... She encouraged me to make what I wanted to make .... instead of telling me that I can't do it.  

How many times have we told someone they shouldn't do something because it is hard?  How many times have we told ourselves we shouldn't do something because it is hard?  

Yesterday I blogged about the month's Old School Block of the Month using English Paper Piecing.  Is this a technique I use everyday?  No.  I've done it before but did every hexie turn out perfect?  No.  Is the method in the tutorial the same as I used before?  No.  Am I courageous enough to try EPP again using a new method?  Yes.  What is the worse that happens?  I advance to becoming a Confident EPP-er!  That sounds pretty exciting to me. 

I'm not sure why I felt the need to share on this topic today.  I went to bathroom at 2 a.m., laid back down in bed and the ideas popped into my mind.  So 5 hours later, here I sit at the kitchen table, typing them out before I have breakfast.  

I challenge each of you to be courageous today.  Try something new.  And encourage others to be courageous too. 

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