What is your quilting passion? Never mind, that’s an easy question. What is your quilting fear? You know, that quilt pattern you’d love to try but your inner voice keeps holding you back with things like, “I am not good enough to make that!” and “That’s just too much for me, I’ll stick with squares!”
We all have a quilting technique or quilting pattern that elicits thoughts like this. For me, once upon a time, that unclimbable mountain of a pattern was a Feathered Star. Determined to defeat my own self-imposed quilting obstacle, I set out to create a quilting pattern that would help myself and others afflicted with the irrational Feathered-Star-a-phobia.
After I finally tackled the pattern, I decided I wanted to help other quilters like me, but I wasn’t sure how. Finally, it came to me: create a mystery pattern! Led through the process one simple step at a time, quilters don’t have a chance to feel overwhelmed or question their ability to complete the quilt.
For instance, it’s easy to make a few Half Square Triangles (HSTs).
Scared yet? Nah! The next step is to to sew groups of HSTs together with simple shapes.
Easy peasy. A few partial and several regular seams later…
And BOOM! A Feathered Star is born
Obviously, this is a simplification, but a ton of color graphics and simple instructions demonstrate this technique for quilters who might need the extra information to stay in their comfort zone. The point is, if you don’t know the end product, you aren’t able to keep yourself from trying a fabulous design because of self-doubt. The above pattern is Bella Cosa. There are no ‘y’ seams or similarly intermediate level piecing involved, which is why this made a wonderful mystery pattern.
Over the years I’ve often experienced the power of mystery patterns helping other quilters achieve their own “unachievable” goals During one of my first gigs as a mystery quilt teacher, I met “Square Girl”. It was a six hour class. The students came in with their fabrics cut, ready to sew and complete a small top in a day. The mystery I was teaching was Phire’s Radiance, which is my take on a Lone Star. While Square Girl was sewing, I overheard her murmuring “I like squares… I like squares… I like squares…” as she pieced together this quilt full of strips, and diamonds, and triangles.. I was still a new teacher, and I remember telling my husband when I got home that I blew it… I would never see this girl again! I have to give her props though; she persevered and completed her small table topper in class.
The important takeaway is that when we come upon a quilty mountain that intimidates us, we must find a way to make that climb. With a friend, with a mystery, or with a nice glass of wine and a box of chocolates – the reward is in making the journey and never looking back.
How do you overcome your own quilting fears? Today is the day; don’t wait any longer. Go climb your quilty mountain!