I certainly wasn't thrilled with my first quilting experience. I loved piecing the top together (it was just a baby quilt afterall), but I was overwhelmed when it came to quilting the layers together. I just couldn't decide how to do it: grid seemed too plain and free-hand and stippling seemed too complicated. I took me a year to finally complete the thing and I figured that quilting just wasn't my niche.
I'm still not sure that quilting is my niche, but after stumbling across an amazing quilting blog I am totally and completely inspired! Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts has an awesome knack for piecing together contempory designs. I love that she rarely uses a border on her quilts, something that most patterns seem to call for but I always thought seemed an unnecessary step and, frankly, a pain in the rear.
Some of her designs are so simple--like this Happy Go Lucky quilt that is mostly white with a few patches of color near the bottom. I never thought to step out of the quilting square and add just a punch of color to a certain portion of a quilt. This type of design would go together so much faster and should, therefore, keep my interest long enough to finish such a large project.
I also enjoy her Quilts of Valor that she completed as a donation to wounded soldiers. This is a great idea for my dad's 60th birthday (which is in a little over a month so I'd better get started). I will use the star idea and squares of stripes--a stars and stripes quilt if you will. I will also include something in memory of my brother who was killed in action almost 3 years ago, but I'm not sure what yet.
Unfortuately, Amanda Jean has decided to discontinue active blogging but stated that her blog would remain in webspace indefinitely. Lucky for me since I just discovered her site and it holds so much useful information and inspiring ideas. It will be a great reference for the quilting projects that I have already committed to: dad, hub, son, sister . . . and hopefully one for me and maybe a couple for gifts if all goes well. I know, an ambitious goal for one someone with a whopping 1 quilt under her belt. But where there's a will (and willing recipients) . . .
UPDATE: I recently came across this blog about free-motion quilting. The author, Leah Day, explains in detail with videos a new free-motion design each day. Although this may not help with my biggest problem of deciding on a design, it offers hundreds of days of inspiration.