Worst. Instructions. Ever.

June 12, 2016

I have been working recently on several quilt projects that include appliqué.  I really love appliqué!  It’s a lot of fun.  However, if the truth be told, I have been sitting on these appliqué projects for YEARS.  Yep, years.  I bought a block of the month quilt called “West of Baltimore” around the time my daughter was born (9 years ago).  It’s fusible appliqué.  It came with “complete instructions”.  I was so intimidated by it that it sat in a drawer until this year.  I have other quilts I am working on too that have appliqué parts that have kept West of Baltimore company in the drawer.  I love the way appliqué looks and I have always wanted to learn how to do it but there were never any classes around here to show me.  Most of the quilt patterns or kits I bought that had appliqué were purchased so I could learn how to do it.  I figured that they would have instructions on how to appliqué.  Usually what it said in the quilt pattern instructions was this:

“Use your favorite appliqué method…”

Back to square one.  I bought a book on appliqué and read it.  That helped tremendously.  I still had questions though and I had not yet begun to seek knowledge via the internet.   Fusible appliqué, machine appliqué, freezer paper appliqué, needle turn appliqué, back basted appliqué, etc….  Needless to say, my appliqué ended up in a drawer until this year.

My new year’s resolution this year was to complete all the unfinished quilting projects I have before I buy a new project.  I have been successfully plugging away at it but it is challenging.  So many beautiful projects are out there and I am tempted all the time to start something else but I am determined to get through my existing projects!  The most challenging of those projects are the appliqué projects.  Or so I thought.

I have decided recently that I LOVE appliqué.  I started by working through West of Baltimore (still in progress) which is fusible machine appliqué.  I have learned that I can do this and should not be afraid of it.  I have also learned quite a bit about freezer paper appliqué and back basted appliqué.  I love it.  It’s amazing!  Now I am looking to really sophisticated quilters like McKenna Ryan and Sue Garman.  Baltimore quilts have always been a favorite of mine and now I feel pretty charged up about creating my own.  I have to wait until after I finish all my other projects (but nothing says I can’t sketch it out and plan it!).

Back to the worst instructions ever.  “Use your favorite appliqué method” might be the worst phrase I have read on quilt patterns.  It’s so discouraging to all us novice quilters out there trying to learn how to do this.  I have been watching videos and reading up a storm about how to do it and now I am playing with all the methods out there but I still wish there were another way to let the novice quilters know that they aren’t going to learn how to appliqué before buying the pattern.  I am considering making some videos and posting them to help out beginner quilters with this.  Maybe all the beginners and I can fumble around together to figure it out.

I guess it’s a good thing that those horrible instructions have appeared so many times on patterns I have.  I have had to learn how to figure it out.  It’s been a lot of fun really.  I am not afraid of screwing it up because I know it’s going to happen so I forgive myself before I begin and just charge ahead.  That seems to work for me. What works for you?  How do you get through that project that scares the hell out of you?

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