Embrace your Visible Learning Curve!
NOTE #1: Because of back-to-back travel gigs, I probably will not post next week (23d) and iffy for the following week (Mar 2), then I should be back on track. I will probably make my newsletter this Sat (18th) but not the following week (March 4). If you’re not signed up for my newsletter (which my readers really do love) you can do so here.
NOTE #2: Because I will be on the road, my shop will not ship from Feb 21 – 26 and Mar 1 – 6. I do still have inventory of the discontinued Supreme Sliders. I will keep shipping until I run out. IF you do order during a time when I am not shipping, that will save the product for you but the system will charge you at the time you order. I can’t help that, it’s the way they set it up. Write if you have questions.
It’s been a weird and busy week. Guilds seem to begin planning their hires about this time of year and I’m getting inquiries for some fun upcoming gigs. I’m prepping for my upcoming travel: out of the next 19 days, all but 5 will be travel and/or teaching days. I am excited!
But there is a lot to be done. I would guess I have printed out at least 250 pages of handouts in the last week. I missed a date to send a box to the Daytona Beach show, so now I need to figure out how to put an additional 30 pounds of kits and teaching materials into my two 50 pound suitcases, which usually max out without that addition. I am a little scared about all of this; if I don’t pack well it could dramatically affect my teaching and my students. I am NOT worried about my wardrobe other than it needs to cover my body and take the least amount of weight and room.
Since I haven’t done any sewing or fun travel this week, I am writing about a subject that is really important:
VISIBLE LEARNING CURVE
If you’ve taken my classes, you’ve heard this phrase because I talk about his a lot in class. Visible Learning Curve is a Thing that we all experience. Let’s call it VLC. VLC means that as you continue to do a thing and get better at it, you can see your progress. By implication, that means your work was not as good in the beginning as it was at the end. That is a Good Thing!
The first time I really thought about this was waaaaaay back in 2010. These photos are 13 years old and poor quality, just sayin:
I was quilting this pre-printed panel:
At the time, I was trying to create my version of McTavishing.
I took a snip (above) of Karen McTavish drawing her McTavishing design from her video here. I am a domestic quilter and she is a long armer. I knew I would have to adapt her look to the domestic machine. I decided I wanted to McTavish this panel.
I started at the top and this is what I got:
Looks pretty good, but pretty far from McTavishing.
But I persevered and here is where I ended up:
Much better and a pretty decent take on McTavishing. You can SEE my VLV on the piece and I’m fine with that.
I gotta brag here too, I figured out how to quilt this design all on my own:
Pretty cool, huh?
Now fast forward to 2013 (or 2014? My records were not great then). This garment juried into Houston:
And here is a detail:
A little bit of background. This was when Houston had a vibrant Wearable Art category. This used to be a huuuge deal but required major dollars from sponsors. This category last showed in I think 2018. I had not attended a Houston show in many years and was not aware of the incredible artistry and talent that juried into this category. Had I known, I would have been too intimidated to enter!
A funny thing happened in the construction of the over coat. It was quilted from the right front to the back to the left front. Once I completed the quilting and put the jacket on I was shocked! The quilting on the left was way better than the quilting on the right! Oh no!
I elected to rip out half of my stitching, for a total of over 8 hours of ripping for sure. I then requilted the right part. Do you know where this is going? Yup, now the right side’s quilting was better than the left. A light bulb went on and I had an epiphany – all quilted items will have a VLC! Accept it. Embrace it.
And that is what I hope for you – that you will accept your Visible Learning Curve. It is present in everything we make. It is part of progress, learning, improvement! Embrace it.
NOTE: After this epiphany, my motto became “Onward”. Instead of going back and ripping out (I learn nothing from the process of ripping), I will usually go “Onward” and fix that problem in the next project. I sign all of my books with “Onward!”.
Oh, and one more thing, if you see an invoice of mine with this or you see this below my signature in your book, this is a stick figure of me, skipping:
It is not a zero over 17😊 It is me, the Quiltskipper, skipping. See my little stick legs and my arms kind of expressive? I probably should refresh the story of why I am a Quiltkskipper…but not today. I need to get on the road to Morgan Hill.
Please, accept your Visible Learning Curves and be happy! And skip for joy!
I will be posting at:
Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday
Janet Becker says
This garment sticks in my mind, Jenny! It truly is magnificent!
Jenny Lyon says
Thank you Janet!
Nina-Marie Sayre says
Ohhhh wow, VLC is what is happening to me now!! Learning how to hand applique a smooth circle and big stitch consistently has the whole concept of VLC in front of my very eyes!! Also, I was just watching a quilt show segment with Virginia Avery and it reminded me of the whole wearable art category at Houston. It’s funny how things come in and out of fashion isn’t it? We’ll miss your posts but have fun traveling!!! Great post Jenny!
Jenny Lyon says
Thank you! Your applique looks fabulous to me! I miss Wearable Art at Houston, sigh.
Gwyned Trefethen says
Jenny, I love the story about you quilted jacket. I always appreciate instructors who are willing to share the early efforts. Beginners need to know that their quilting idols were once beginners, too.
Jenny Lyon says
Oh I have a barrel full of those kind of stories! Thank you Gwyned!
Dixie MORRIS says
Jenny, I too am in the middle of the VLC journey with both free motion and ruler work on my Q20. I’ve done some ripping out yes, but it’s becoming less. I’m determined to conquer this process. I call myself an organic quilter. I do not like or want perfection. We are human. I loved your jacket and when reading your journey I thought how gorgeous it would be to see the visible changes from right to left. The journey. Thanks for inspiring us.
Jenny Lyon says
Ah Dixie, we are of one mind on this! Perfection is not attainable and can suck the joy right out of quilting. Good luck on your journey; find the joy!