Christa’s Soap Box – Just Do It.

No pictures – words only today! šŸ™‚

A friend of mine recently pointed me to an interesting entry on Seth Godin’s blog: the difference between commitment and technique.

When I read it, it hit me like a ton of bricks because it perfectly embodies one of my philosophies but I didn’t quite know how to phrase it. In a nutshell, he states that we need to focus more on teaching commitment rather than getting hung up on technique. I think technique is important of course, because it’s important to learn the fundamentals, especially when it comes to quilting.

But so many people get frustrated and give up when trying to machine quilt their quilts (especially free-motion) because they expect their efforts to be perfect right away. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. It takes commitment and a willingness to put in hours and hours of practice over a period of time. Honestly, my first quilting efforts were pretty awful, but I stuck with it, because it was a skill I wanted to learn and master.Ā  If we give up when things get hard, we will never accomplish what is in us to do.

So here’s my plug for commitment – if you really want to learn to do something, keep going and push pass the “it’s not working for me” stage. When you do, you’ll be greatly rewarded with a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with a job well done!

26 thoughts on “Christa’s Soap Box – Just Do It.

  1. Linda H. says:

    This is a good expression of what it takes to become a good free motion quilter. I use the word “perseverance” to explain it to students. They won’t get better by trying it and then giving up. It does take commitment, and perseverance to learn. Great words! Both of them!

  2. Ronda says:

    Thanks for the reminder, Christa. Like many others I think this rings true for most of the challenging things in life.

  3. Lisa in Port Hope says:

    Amen. For new knitters, I recommend mittens–you use every stitch you are likely to need to know and they work up quickly. For new quilters, I recommend placemats–small and easy to manoeuvre, and they’re just going to get spilled on and washed a million times so imperfect stitches don’t really matter.

  4. darlsc says:

    So well said!!! Practice, practice, and more practice it what got me to feel comfortable quilting and giving my projects, small at first, as gifts. Now I am ready to tackle those bigger quilts! Christa, you are a wonderful teacher, and your posts have helped me along the way in my quilting journey. Thank you!

  5. Pat Sell says:

    Such a smart girl!! This is the answer to MOST of the world’s problems – if we all would just show more committment, miracles would happen! šŸ™‚

  6. Sandy says:

    I totally agree with you, Christa! I’m still working on getting my machine quilting to the level I’d *like* to achieve, and I’ve been doing that for over 15 years now. šŸ˜‰ I think there’s always room to improve, in just about anything we do, and the learning continues as we keep on trying.

  7. Nancy Dolch says:

    Wow! Timely article. Starting my machine quilting today. Just want to do it because then I will never have to be a beginner again. Going for it & looking forward to my next one. Thanks

  8. Sheila Richardson says:

    Your words are timeless, Christa. I am well past my 70th birthday and can still hear my mother preach “Tear it out. Do it again.” as I learned to sew. These words have been my mantra for every new task. Practice does, indeed, make perfect. Even old “birds” can learn new tricks.

  9. Martha Cook says:

    So true Christa. It takes time and practice like anything else we do . It is not instant perfection. Which I use to be. Plus you have to relax,enjoy the process and just chill. No pain no gain.

  10. kathyinmn says:

    Great post, and I agree with Jane, that this goes for any skill really. Its how I feel about new runners to, often they want results on week 1 and its just not possible.

  11. kittywilkin says:

    Here, here! I completely agree! When asked for tips for new quilters, I often say “Just try it!”. I sometimes feel like it’s less than stellar advice, but at the same time, the best way to learn is to do, and to do again and again and again. It is certainly tough to make something that has so much of your heart and soul in it and then not have it be “perfect”, yet at the same time, nothing is perfect, and the only way to get better is to practice. So I will keep plugging away and doing what I love (creating beautiful things) and one day I’ll look back and smile at how “novice” I was back in the day when I first started quilting (aka now LOL).

  12. Jane says:

    Fortunately this was one of the first things my previous instructor told me about quilting, and I think it’s true of any skill. And honestly, I’ve seen very few professional quilts that didn’t have at least minor issues in either the piecing or the quilting. Nothing done by hand is ever perfect, but that’s what makes it worthwhile. And it’s such a journey. Having a physical record of one’s progress, and actually my quilter’s as well, has been one of the most interesting parts of it all.

  13. julie gier says:

    Christa…wanted to let you know that my daughter referred to your articles on fmq on craftsy and said it totally helped her šŸ™‚ just thought you would l I me to know that you are appreciated!

  14. julie gier says:

    Great post šŸ™‚ I keep one of my first quilts hanging so I walk by on the way to my sewing room and think “wow,I am much better now”…and a year from now…I will be better than today. Quilting is definitely a process. ..and one to be enjoyed!

  15. shecanquilt says:

    Yup, I do think that we are often instant gratification folks. I want to do it now and do it well, and most everyone does too. Luckily for me, I know that is generally a fantasy and that in real life we all must work and learn and try and fail and try again. Without the failures and mistakes, we learn almost nothing so the process is important. Finally, it’s all process, one is seldom at the end of the journey, and yes commitment, the desire to really understand or know, for some to be one of the best, is needed, even in craft, even in quilting. There, if you catch me at midnight I can happily join you on that soapbox.

  16. Patrice says:

    Christa: you might also appreciate “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell, who theorizes true expertise takes 10,000 hours of practice, and gives many excellent examples. I will probably never free motion quilt for 10,000 hours, but I do think of the book often when I am quilting and realize that I seem to be just a little bit better at it this week than I was last week.

  17. Lynn R says:

    Hi Christa – been a while since I commented but I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and have done a couple of your quilt a longs. You were one of the first and biggest encouragers to me about quilting my own quilts and free motion quilting. I like many have struggled very much with free motion quilting – it did not come natural – and it was ugly and I did put it away for a while (gave up ) but after moving from Oregon to Arizona and now being retired I thought I either need to learn this quilting thing or quit making quilts, because the tops just can’t sit there forever. šŸ™‚ So I did commit myself to keep at it until I learned it and after a few more tries a few more quilting friends nudging me along – I got it. My stitches are still a little uneven at times, my loop sometimes have a sharp point instead of being completely round, But I actually feel like I can quilt a quilt AND here’s the big one I even like it now. I even look forward to picking my next top that I will quilt and figuring out what design I want to use on each section. I know I still have a ways to go, and I’m not ready to put my quilting in a show for judging yet, But I’ll get there someday. šŸ™‚ All of this to say – Thank you – And you are right if you commit to it – you will eventually get there.

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