Run For It

Believe it or not I’m a runner. I’m not a very fast runner, but I can indeed run for several miles. Or at least jog.

Having not run for about 34 years (yikes!) it seemed pretty daunting to begin again. But, if you break something down into little steps, you can do just about anything. I managed to do it using an app called Couch to 5K. By combining intervals of walking and running on a regular basis, and gradually running more than walking, folks of all ages, shapes, and sizes have become runners.

I even ran in a race!

The same approach can be used by quilters. Many quilters find quilting on a domestic machine somewhat daunting. But, if you break it down and practice regularly you’ll be accomplishing great things in no time! Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Give yourself reasonable expectations. Few people can quilt a king sized quilt with no experience. Start small, maybe with a wall hanging or crib sized quilt. (Remember my post here?)
  2. Heirloom quality quilting takes practice. Do your best, but don’t expect to set the world on fire with your first attempts. Every bit of quilting you do is a learning experience and improves your skills.
  3. Find a style of quilting that you’re comfortable doing, whether using a walking foot or going at it free motion, and build from there. For a quilt like the red and white one shown below you might start with stitching in the ditch, move on to the arcs in the small triangles, quilt the large red triangles, and then go for the feathers.
  4. The Couch to 5K app has you run every other day for 30 minutes. You could do the same with quilting. Set aside 30 minutes a day every other day for a few weeks. Your quilting will absolutely improve in that time, and you’ll get a fair amount done.
  5. Slow and steady wins the race. If I try to run significantly faster, I can’t run as far. Take the time to slow down and quilt carefully, it will save you time in the end as you won’t make as many mistakes.
  6. The more you quilt, the easier it will be.
  7. Be like The Little Engine That Could. Tell yourself “I think I can!” If you believe you can do it, you have a much greater chance of making it happen.
This quilt was made by Dr. Mary Taylor Maynard in the 1920s and quilted by Margaret Solomon Gunn in 2015. It’s owned by Dr. Maynard’s grand-daughter, Kimberly Miles. Shown in July/August 2017 issue of MQU.

This may all sound a little goofy and optimistic, but I encourage you to give it a try. Commit to quilting a smallish quilt, break it down into reasonable chunks, then work on it regularly for a few weeks. Once you’ve finished it, you’ll be justifiably proud, and ready to tackle new challenges!

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