There's an old joke, from well before my time, that is still around because it's a classic.
An elderly gentleman is walking down the street in New York City.
A younger man steps up to him and asks, "Excuse me, sir, but how do I get to Carnegie Hall?"
To which the older man replies: "Practice, kid, practice."
I love this joke because not only is the misunderstanding funny, but the truth of the old man's wisdom resonates with me as someone who is always trying to improve my artistic skills.
Regardless of innate talent, very few of us can design and stitch the perfect quilt the first time out, or even the fifth time. It takes practice, whether you're free-motion stitching, choosing colors, color values, creating perspective, dyeing, and so on.
It's no fun to just repeat the same stitch or color combination over and over, though. So when I need to practice, I like to work in a series. Then, even if each attempt isn't a perfect work of art, I still have a feeling of accomplishment--and I think I learn more, too.
I have a feeling many of you feel the same, because whenever we do a series of articles on a particular topic in Quilting Arts, readers respond enthusiastically.
That's certainly been the case with the six-part series Susan Brubaker Knapp's did on thread sketching last year. In each article, she examined a different aspect of the technique, and offered a pattern on the Quilting Arts website for readers to practice with.
If you missed any of Susan's articles, now is a good time to get them, as all back issues of Quilting Arts are on sale for a limited time.
Once you have Susan's expert advice in hand, you can grab the latest pattern off our website (the snowflake at left), make your way to the sewing machine, and practice, kid, practice!
P.S. What do you do to practice? Do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment below!