First off, if you haven't yet, jump over to my post from yesterday and enter to win my Angela Walters Textures FQs giveaway that's linked up with Sew Mama Sew's [GIANT] Giveaway Day! Hundreds of bloggers all over the web are offering up handmade items and supplies, and you have until December 13th to enter : )
<--- You could win this! Go comment to enter : )
Now for trying new things... as I've mentioned in my SWC series goals and recent post on perfection, I tend to shy away from attempting something I think I might fail at, but I also do so love taking on a challenge and experiencing something new. (Hmm, that might explain me whining all through our first year in Maine about wanting to stay put and never move again only to hit the twelve month mark and get the itch to pack, even suggesting at least moving across town since we're "stuck" here two more years. My husband was not amused, but boy did it underscore that I'm really cut out for this mobile Army wife life!)
So I'd say my approach is a bit of a dichotomy, falling somewhere from "easy peasy avoid failure" to "directions look easy enough" to "gotta get my feet wet sometime!" Some examples from my approach spectrum:
Easy Peasy Avoid Failure: You may be aware from my last SWC post that I'm afraid of zippers. Well, not using them, but sewing them. When I wanted a new skirt for summer, I scoured the internet for a wrap pattern, stumbled upon Tilly and the Buttons' Miette Skirt through an image search online, and tried my hand at my first PDF tape-it-together pattern from across the pond. It turned out gorgeous (Alexander Henry fabric <3 <3 <3), but I did learn something: I hate cutting and taping pages of PDFs, so good old fashioned paper patterns will continue to dominate my collection. (Anyone need a stocking stuffer for me?? I love these adorable pattern weights 0: )
Directions Look Easy Enough: I also recently finished my first foray into cute appliqued Christmas decorations, following Bareroots' pattern for a triptych of holiday hangers that mount on a cute little metal stand. I followed the directions to a tee only to find the finished product, while looking exactly like the cover image in regard to placement/fit of each applique on its background, is actually smaller on the metal stand than the example picture. Apparently whoever wrote the pattern made the original slightly larger and then wrote the pattern directions differently : \ It's cute, the details came out adorably, but I'm disappointed that this gift will be missing the oomph I was hoping for and will definitely need some filling in with greens when it's displayed. Again, lesson learned: hold up the measurements to the display piece (even if they're sold as a set!) before I start the project. Five minutes of enlarging on my copier and some simple math could've saved the day. (But double points for me embracing imperfection on this project!)
Gotta Get My Feet Wet Sometime!: Ironically, I've chosen the set of zipper pouches below as my project for the secret swap our quilting guild is working on, so let's hope when I dive in head first (working with someone else's fabric no less!) that I can find a great set of online tutorials to get those closures neatly inserted.
So it seems that sometimes I hunt down what I envision and find a pattern or tutorial to make it happen (hurray, Pinterest & Ana White's brag posts!), sometimes I just give it a whirl if it looks interesting and not too daunting, and sometimes I'll seek out a class to tackle a new technique instead. I remember that my first big full size quilt was made at a quilt-in-a-day class fifteen years ago. I don't have any pictures because I wasn't that fond of it complete (I used too much green!) and donated it, but I learned a lot about cutting and working efficiently that has stayed with me through the years. I tried my hand at a FMQ and paper piecing in classes taught at Quilt & Sew at Golden Threads last year, learning the basics (and that I hate paper piecing! lol). More recently I took a longarm quilting class at Cotton Weeds, and have taken a few online classes through Craftsy (they've been running some great sales and holiday specials this month if you're looking for gift ideas for a cook or crafter in your life).
We're fortunate as quilters to live in the age of YouTube, Pinterest, and blog-mania because there are so many awesome ideas and tutorials out there for anything new we want to learn, and many really talented people who get joy out of sharing their skills with others. Plus of course, wonderful people like Jess at Quilty Habit who set up these great series as a forum for us to discuss and share! Do you have a current favorite tutorial you'd like to suggest (on zippers perhaps ; )? Link it below! What new technique are you hoping to conquer in 2014?