Today’s Topic: Deep Work Quilting, Learning a New Skill
Good Morning, Quilters!
I’m back! After a long, unplanned hiatus from blogging, I’m back in front of my computer–and I have some exciting quilts and news to share. Most of it is good news, but unfortunately, not all.
Deep Work Quilting with My Sister
Please meet my sister, Patricia. She is a long time quilter. In fact, she’s the person who inspired me to begin quilting. She is a lady of many talents and interests and she came to Minnesota to learn to longarm quilt with me.
A Lesson from an Expert
We started by taking a day long lesson from a longarm expert. Jeanette from Quilter’s Haven in Rosemount, MN was our talented guide. Her day long class covered how to load quilt layers on the longarm and the basics of using the Qmatic computer system.
Believe me, that was enough for the first day! We left with our heads spinning, but excited to get started.
Three Weeks and Nine Quilts Later
For the next three and a half weeks we spent most of every day learning to longarm.
We watched videos, consulted manuals, called the technician, texted Jeanette, and requested help from a few Facebook friends.
We laughed, we nearly cried…we tore our hair out…
But we completed nine UFO quilts! All of the quilting is very basic, but we learned a lot!
How to Become an Expert?
My refrain to my sister, whenever we made a mistake (which was almost every 15 minutes for 3 straight weeks) was
“We’re becoming experts!”
The best way to learn something–to become expert at it–is to make mistakes. The mistakes force you to learn faster than when things are going smoothly. Mistakes help you understand how things really work and why.
Pat and I are a long way from being expert longarm quilters, but we’ve taken a lot of baby steps–equivalent to a huge step-forward in three weeks. We are on our way!
Deep Work is Focused
Have any of you read, Deep Work by Cal Newport?
According to Newport,
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive 21st-century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep – spending their days instead in a frantic blur of email and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.
While I didn’t plan to, I found the mental effort required to learn to longarm left me with little energy for blogging or photography or dusting. (Though we did find time for cosmos and happy hour every evening!) Deep work is focused and demanding but very satisfying.
Tips for Learning Any New Skill
Whether you are learning to free motion or longarm quilt–or any other skill, Pat and I learned a few things that might help:
Start with an expert
Experts give you the fastest jump start to learning. Take a class or hire a private tutor for a day. An expert can weed out what’s important and what’s not so you can start working independently in the fastest possible time.
Learn with a friend
Beginning this big project was so much more enjoyable because we were working together. In addition, it was better to think problems through with someone else. Two heads are better than one!
The weather in Minnesota was below zero for two weeks-so we didn’t mind hiding in the sewing room. We minimized social media and other distractions (like housecleaning and cooking) so we could focus as much time as possible on quilting.
Mistakes are a necessary part of the process. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Pat and I both agree, the bigger the mistake, the more likely we were to not repeat it! By researching and studying our mistakes, we got a deep understanding of how the longarm and the computer work.
While we found progress was not a straight line upward, we are definitely more competent than on February 1. And the great thing is–we completed several UFOs in the process!
LET YOUR SUBCONSciOUS WORK
On multiple occasions, we found the best thing to do was to turn off the computer for the night. (Sometimes the computer reset solved the problem.) For several problems, we found our subconscious had solved the problem for us! We woke up with the answer! Amazing!
Free Motion Quilting, The Quilt A Long, and a Bump in the Road
Just because I’ve taken up longarm quilting, that doesn’t mean I will abandon my first love, free motion quilting!
I hope longarm quilting will improve my free motion skill and my ability to teach and write about it—like cross training.
Starting next Monday, we will begin another round of our quilt-along based on my book, 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting.
The next round will be completed in a shorter time frame and will included links to our first round along with some new material.
Tomorrow, I’ll share my new challenge–one that makes quilting difficult, but where there’s a will there’s a way!
What about YOU?
Are YOU ready for a new Deep Work Challenge on Free motion quilting?
Do YOU have a friend or sister who will quilt with YOU?
Has your subconscious ever solved a problem for YOU?
Are YOU facing a bump in the road?
We’d LOVE to hear!
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