100 blocks in 100 days – Naive Melody quilt pattern

Some people say it takes 21 days to form a habit. There are scientific reports that say its actually 66 days. But from my experience hand sewing my Naive Melody quilt, after 100 days I'm fully in the habit of hand sewing every day.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm a big needle-turn appliqué fan. But my intro to this technique started with a fairly negative experience. About 10+ years ago I was behind a table at a craft show selling my quilty and sewn wares, and had a hoop in my hands with some random shapes basted on, practicing needle-turn appliqué. I was just learning needle-turn appliqué and was trying to find a basting/holding/sewing method that I liked the best. An older woman (probably late 60s, early 70s) walked up to my table, noticed that I had a project in my hands and asked what I was working on. I told her "needle-turn appliqué", to which she replies in a snarky, demeaning tone, "You're brave!"

I was shocked into silence. I'm pretty sure she just walked away from my table as I looked dumbfounded after her. I was extremely confused, as any person trying to learn a new craft (and being very excited about its possibilities) would be. Why would she say that? Am I not allowed to be practicing needle-turn appliqué? Is it because I'm in my late 20s (at that time)? It was a barrage of "what am I doing wrong here?!" thoughts that were extremely discouraging. 

I will note that this was long before I found the modern quilt movement, and my experience with anything quilt related revolved around my Gran and the traditional quilts I was exposed to from a young age. I didn't know anyone else my age who quilted (or sewed as much as I did for that matter), so was I not allowed to learn?

It took me a while to realize that it wasn't a ME problem, it was a HER problem. I was teaching myself a sewing technique that maybe she was never able to do, or she was never "successful" with (in her mind). Or she had no concept of what needle-turn appliqué actually was, and replied rudely. Or she just had her panties in a knot and was having a shitty day and took her attitude out on someone else. Who knows!

I never did finish that piece, but you can be sure that one shitty experience didn't stop me from hand sewing. It also taught me a valuable lesson about squashing other's dreams/aspirations.

Never will I ever put someone down or discourage them from learning a new craft/technique/skill. If a person is interested in learning something new, isn't that incredible?! Learn that thing! Practice at it! Sure, your first few might not be the same as those perfectly posed and staged ones on Pinterest or Instagram, but they will get better. Your skills will develop. Your curves will get smoother. Your points will get crisper. You'll develop your own techniques that work best with your hands and you'll make needle-turned pieces that you'll love! Nothing will ever be perfect, and that's great! Show your "hand" in your work. 

This quilt will always be special to me but for a health related reason. Earlier in the year I had a bad few weeks of vertigo combined with ear infections - something I've never experienced before, and never want to experience again. Moving around too much gave me the spins and nausea. Sewing these blocks, because I could hold the pieces in front of my face without having to move my head around too much, helped tremendously with my sanity. And being able to still do something that I love was important to my mental health, as I was essentially useless at everything else home/parenting/work related. 

I pieced the top and then promptly dropped it off at a local long-armer Krista Zaleski with some fluffy wool batting! I asked her to do a fairly dense meander pattern as I wanted to be sure that the quilting would cover the appliquéd shapes, to ensure they stayed stitched down. I'm also quite obsessed with using shot/peppered cotton backing as it is soooooo soft and this orange (Paprika) went perfectly with all of these colours. 

Naive Melody quilt by Jenn McMillan

Naive Melody quilt by Jenn McMillan

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