I should say, conquering MY fears. Every time I finish a quilt, the hardest point for me is when I have to sit down & start quilting. I think about everything else in the world I can do to put it off, and my heart races at the thought of beginning. I think it is very similar to the fear of drawing — which is the fear of failure. Moving through a process that makes it less initimidating & breaks it into smaller, workable pieces is how I have to approach quilting — or I would never get it done. To be honest, I’ve even considered skipping this part altogether. I know an artist that mounts all of his fabric pieces on wood — and another one that mounts it onto a frame — but in the end, I know that the quilting adds a dimensionality to the piece that I like. I just don’t always know how to get there.

What works for me is to take a black & white picture of my photograph & start drawing on it with a pencil. I can mess up, erase, and start over. I try to follow the natural contours of the face — or the line of the shirt, or the neck, or the ear. Pulling all of these lines together into something cohesive is what I am working out on paper so that I won’t be pulling out stitches later on the quilt. I used to draw all of my lines on the quilt — I don’t do that anymore (it took too long & once I had my confidence, I didn’t need it anymore.) I look at my roadmap & I draw in a few primary lines on the quilt — and then fill them in with contour quilting lines.

I won’t always follow my map exactly, but I have an idea of where I want to go and I refer back to it as I quilt.