The mail arrived yesterday and a new/old friend returned – my quilt Polaris from the final round of the McCall’s Design Star Contest came back home.
With it were copies of the July/August issue of McCall’s Quilting with an article about the 8 finalists.
It is hard to believe that it was just over 10 months ago when I began the journey of jumping into the first design contest that McCall’s sponsored. I always joked that there should be a version of Project Runway just for quilters and this seemed to fit the bill. So I looked through some of the quilts I had made, picked one and sent it off. And it seems that before I knew it I was taking part in the first challenge and then time flew and I found it was the end of December and I was sending off my final entr.
So, what did I learn from taking part in this contest? Well….
- “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” is a phrase that is often thrown around – and it’s true. What is the worse that could have happened – I get cut in the first round, maybe my pride would be hurt a bit – but hey give it a shot.
- Love your design wall – it is your friend.
- When you think you hit the proverbial “brick wall” – walk away (yes even for a whole day – maybe two) – do something different. Take a break. Come back with a fresh eye – it’s amazing what happens.
- Don’t limit yourself – be willing to think “outside the box”. I just dumped all sorts of ideas/concepts onto a sheet of paper – no matter how crazy or absurd. My first choice for a challenge wasn’t always what I ended up doing, but this list gave me options to come back to.
- Time constraints can be a very good thing. We didn’t have much time to play around – so it was come up with and idea and go for it. Sometimes I tend to “over think” things – here it was FOCUS – DECIDE – GO WITH IT.
- Limits can help you be more creative than you think. Granted they can be very frustrating, but it can also lead to new creative ideas. When I received a package of 10 fat quarters for the second challenge and had to use 8 of the 10 – I said ……. (you can fill in the blank with your own sentiments).
So – how does this apply to you?
- Don’t be afraid to enter a contest or put a quilt in a show. The feedback from friends (old and new) and is a great thing.
- Step outside your comfort zone. Try working in a new colorway or different fabric line. It’s like trying something at a restaurant that you think you don’t like. Sometimes you find out that – yes I really don’t like it and other times it’s – Why didn’t I try this sooner! (Remember – “Nothing ventured …)
- When you hit that wall – that “quilters block” – do something to recharge yourself – It might not even be fabric/quilting related! Take a walk, go to a museum, or….. (in my book – chocolate and ice cream always help – combine the two – pure bliss – but I digress!)
- Take a class exploring something which is “not you” – you might learn to like it – maybe love it, but you won’t know if you don’t try. I bet that you come away with some new idea/trick you can apply to your own work – and you might even meet a new quilting friend.
- Challenge yourself – get some quilting friends together and challenge yourselves to create something – design your own challenge.