I am a self-taught seamstress and quilter. I can figure out how most things work without having to read directions and I enjoy trying new things and learning new skills. I've made a few quilts before and enjoy the process but especially the finished product. So one of my goals has been to consistently improve my quilting skills. I thought I could do this by making a small quilt - maybe for Project Linus. So when I came across a cute little pattern called houndstooth, I thought "Oh this would be perfect. It's easy... no points to match. and it looks like it will go together quickly." Nice. They even included a pattern piece for the offset angle you have to cut.
The pattern was for a wall hanging or pillow or something - it only had 4 blocks, so naturally I knew it would take a whole lot of pieces to make this into a baby quilt. I figured cutting strips would be a good place to start, so I cut several out of two different fabrics. The finished product they showed had used several fabrics, but I liked the idea of one fabric per swirl, which I thought would make the houndstooth pattern more pronounced. And it does. I'm really happy with my fabric choices. After I cut the strips, I put the paper pattern piece on them and began cutting odd angles. The angle was only on one side, so I figured I would just flip the pattern over and cut again, eliminating wasted fabric. I am the ultimate fabric miser.
Well, as you can see, this created a problem of it's own. I now have pinwheels that spin in opposite directions.
When you put them together it looks more like a doghouse than a hounds tooth.
If you just look at the top two rows you can see how this pattern is supposed to look, but the bottom row shows the problem. I guess if I were making this for someone clever I could tell them about the play on words and they would probably appreciate it, but I don't think a baby would get it. Of course, I could always applique little dogs in front of the doghouse portions. Ha. It also turned out to be much smaller blocks than I had anticipated, which means I not only need a bunch of them... I need a million of them. I really thought I could whip this out quickly. NOT.
I made yet another mistake when sewing two sections together and then made another half to match just to see what it would look like, and I have to say I like the mistake better than the original. It has a pinwheel effect. Love it. But already, if I keep going, I will have two hounds tooth quilts spinning in opposite directions. I don't love this block well enough to make a pinwheel quilt out of the same thing too.
So about the mentor. I love being self taught, and feel like I can do anything I set my mind to. (That kind of sounds arrogant, but it's how I approach life in every aspect, and it's gotten me through some really rough times in the past.) But there's a big difference between being able to figure it out and being efficient with figuring it out. More and more I'm finding that when I try to be frugal, it costs me more in the end. I think if I had a mentor or took a class, or had a really good book that I went through like a textbook, I could learn some tricks and methods that would greatly improve the methods I have figured out on my own. I haven't taken classes because of the expense (and lack of availability) but perhaps it would be worth the investment. Then I could just make the one quilt I intended to make rather than three lol.