Moose Mini Hourglasses Week 2 and My Quilting Journey (So Far…)

Hello Friends!

The weather is getting cooler (thank goodness) and football has started! This Green Bay Packer fan is excited that fall is right on our heels!  This week’s post has me a bit thoughtful (and a bit excited!) Let’s start with the goodies shall we? This week has Debbie adding borders two and three to the Moose Mini Hourglasses Sew-Along and I’m sew jealous (see what I did there? 😉 that I’m not joining in on this one as it’s coming together beautifully! Here is Debbie’s finished product for this week’s borders…

Isn’t it gorgeous?! Quiltmania’s directions for this week are pretty straight forward, they give you the dimensions of each unit for the left-hand side pieced border and then the best part (in my opinion at least) is that they leave the other 3 sides up to you!  Improv quilting scared me a bit when I first attempted it (“What?! No instructions?? No pattern??!”) but now I simply look at it like a blank canvas… instead of panicked I find myself creatively inspired! (“What cute units can I come up with!?) So enjoy the process (more to come on that in a bit) copy the other border a bit if you aren’t yet inspired and then fill in with one or two units that are all yours!

The third border is pretty simple! 4 solid borders with mini hourglasses as cornerstones (aren’t you glad you listened to me and made extras last week!!? 😉 then you’re all caught up!  We can’t wait to see where you all are with these quilts… don’t forget to post on Instagram with the hashtag #MooseMiniHourglasses #MooseItUp #QuiltedMoose so we can send you some love and encouragement!

Ok… on to something that I’ve wanted to write about for awhile, and I think if you’re a new quilter or one who has been sewing and quilting for years you might be able to glean a bit from what I’ve learned about the quilting process in my first year of sewing (at least I hope so lol).

As most of you know I’m a fairly new quilter (just over a year now) and although I’ve been obsessed with quilts for years now, it wasn’t until I became an empty nester that I found time to finally dedicate myself to this new hobby. So I dove right in. I watched videos, I shopped (and shopped and shopped) for all the tools that I NEEDED (or thought I needed anyway) I bought rulers and fabric and… and… (you get it right? lol) I made a Jelly Roll Rug and a pot holder or two and then declared myself ready for a full-sized quilt.

I found a quilt that appealed to me (Zen Chic’s “These Trees”) and went about buying fabric.  I bought WAY too much of it (sure that I would make an error or seven) pulled out my old sewing machine and got down to business.  Here are a few things I didn’t do or know about…

  1. I didn’t read the whole pattern first
  2. didn’t make one block first
  3. didn’t understand the importance of a 1/4 seam allowance
  4. didn’t understand the importance of cutting accurately

What I did know is that I wanted to make this quilt and I wanted to do it quickly and efficiently.  I watched plenty of YouTube videos, I asked questions at the LQS (Local Quilt Shop) and I got busy. As you can see, it didn’t turn out terribly (or maybe you can’t see that, given this is the only photo I have of it – I didn’t even know that I should document my creations with a quick photo before I gave them away! lol)

I ended up gifting it to my darling daughter Emily for her first apartment and I was fairly proud of it – I had pieced it myself and even bound it by myself – I had it quilted locally – and the end result was lovely.  But I was frustrated… my measurements were off, I had made a major mistake cutting my backing and had to rebuy several yards of fabric (ending up with even MORE extra fabric) and my machine appliqué left much to be desired, lol.  But it was done. Finished and it had only taken me a week or so (pat myself on the back!! woot!)

Fast forward a year and I’ve learned many MANY things to do better (poor Debbie must be stunned at my ignorance sometimes, lol) but the lesson that I’ve valued the most is that the end result is not the only goal – and honestly not even the most important one.  A finished quilt is wonderful, don’t get me wrong.  But, I began to find joy not just in the finished project, but in the small accomplishments during the process of quilting.  

I think the breakthrough came when I took Jen Kingwell’s workshops for two days here at the Moose… I was terrified to hand-piece (I mean seriously… who in their right mind hand pieces a quilt top!?) but I loved Jen’s designs, and if I was going to take her class I was going to learn all I could from her, so I left my machine at home – and thank goodness I did! I walked away, two days later in love with handwork. The quiet process calms me and keeps me more social than just me behind my machine.

Since then I find that it’s less about the finished quilt than it is enjoying and finding peace in my time creating with fabric. I love it when a block is supposed to finish at 6×6 and actually does lol – when my points match up just right, when one of my Marshall hand pieced block is finished and I can carefully iron it just so.  I love the process of designing a new quilt and selecting just the right fabrics, it tickles me when I find myself actively working on 2-3 quilts by using different pieces as leaders and enders, and when a top is finished I love the idea that I can now long-arm it myself (thanks to Debbie’s endless patience in teaching me, lol).

I guess what I’m getting at friends is that we shouldn’t forget that the finished quilt isn’t the only thing to look forward to in this amazing hobby we have.  It’s a process, and we need to find joy in all of it (except ripping out…. no one likes that part) so look for the small successes and joys, slow down a bit and don’t forget at times go out of your comfort zone – you’d be surprised at what you might discover! Take a class, join our open sew on Fridays here at the Quilted Moose, watch a video on foundation paper piecing, use batiks in your next quilt, read a blog post that inspires you, whatever tickles you, even if it makes you a bit uncomfortable (like leaving your sewing machine behind to attend a hand piecing class, lol).  Get inspired and re-discover the joy that is quilting in all her glory!

Until next week friends!

Shauna