Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just Start

When doing something new, it is almost always helpful to do some research before you begin. But there is such a thing as too much research.

That's where I find myself with reference to quilting. I've had a home ec. class and maybe some sewing in mini 4-H, but that's about it. It's enough that I can thread the sewing machine in the required Rube Goldberg way  if I look at the manual for reassurance. It's enough that I understand the importance of backstitching at the beginning and end of each row. It's not enough to understand how to read a pattern. It's certainly not enough to understand what all the buttons on the machine do.

I reasoned that since I bought fabric I really loved and I was going to put all this time into a quilt, I'd better know what I was doing. So I checked out library books.

This was perhaps a mistake.

Partway through The Quilter's Bible I began to freak out. There is so much I don't know. I don't know that I'm going to be quilting enough to justify buying this book, but there's no way that I'll be ready for the binding instructions before it's due back at the library. I began worrying that I had made a mistake, that I was not prepared for this sort of gigantic project, that I should give up and stick to knitting.

I stopped reading and went back to knitting. After about 15 minutes, a voice in my head said, "Do you see what you're doing with your hands?" I looked. I was doing stranded knitting--knitting with two colors, one held in each hand. It's impressive. (If you disagree because you find stranded knitting super easy, please don't tell me.) "When you started knitting six years ago, did you think you'd be able to make something this complicated?"

Well, no.

What's the difference? The difference is that I started with a beginning knitting book. I started with Stitch 'n' Bitch, a book that has cartoon drawings of the knit stitch and holds your hand through a plethora of new skills. I started small, making washcloths with holes in them and dropped stitches. When I made a washcloth that came out somewhat square, I went on to something else.

I put down The Quilter's Bible and went on to another library book, Quilting 101. When I became overwhelmed with that, I closed the book and walked away.

I have learned enough for now.
  • I need to wash, dry, and iron my fabric before cutting.
  • I need to make all the seams .25". 
  • I probably want a polyester/cotton blend for the batting.
I'll start with that.

It's not a big leap to apply this idea to the rest of my life. I need to learn what I can, but I also need to be willing to move forward even though I don't know all the answers. I have to just start. Sometimes I don't know anything more than how to do the first step of something, and that's okay. Just start. Figure out the rest as you come to it, one piece at a time.

Just start.

So say we all.


  1. Did you write that specifically for me or was it just a coincidence that those were the exact words I needed today?



    1. I imagine it's because we share a brain.

  2. I was just thinking the same exact thing! Thank you.

  3. You're moving in the right direction - like the sneakers say, Just do it! And then remember that you can always renew your library books! Good luck