I have been quilting for some time - around 15 years. Not considering myself any kind of expert, I tend to do my own thing rather than following a set pattern. That said, I have completed two mystery quilts (one organised by a group I was a member of, the second by the British Quilters Guild), and made a Block of the Month quilt. I learnt a lot of skills from these quilts.
My first two quilts were made from the pattern given in an embroiery magazine. Both my first two quilts were exactly the same, since both daughters wanted to own the first quilt. That was a really steep learning curve. Amazingly, both daughters still have those original quilts - they now also own other quilts I have made.