Practice Quilt

Thanks to all who offered your tops as practice quilts.  One thing I learned in the very beginning of my longarm days is never to practice on anyone else’s quilt.  No matter how much people tell you . . “Oh, it’s just an old junker.  Do what you want with it.” Well, you mess it up or even if you don’t mess it up but it looks really ugly, then they show it to someone else and even though they may not care how it looks, eventually someone is going to see it and they’re not going to hear that you were just practicing and they’re going to think that was your best work and . . poof . . no one wants you to do their quilting.

There have been times when I’ve had ideas that I knew would work but felt like my skills just need a little bit of perfection and I’d offer to do that as a custom job on a quilt and charge panto prices or something like that but when there’s a big, out of my comfort zone project, no way am I going to attempt it on someone else’s top.

So, here’s the lucky top from my stack of unquilted tops that was chosen for this little practice project.


Do not ask me what I was thinking when I made this quilt.  I don’t have a clue!  Isn’t this so unlike anything you’ve seen me make? Yes, it’s pretty darned ugly.  You can say it . . won’t hurt my feelings.  There’s a heck of a lot of quilting space in there and lots of practice room.  I just hope I have more of that rose colored batik for binding but since this project was made almost 9 years ago . . I’ll be surprised if I still have it.

Next time you see it . . well . . you may never see it again.  Just depends on how this experiment goes.



  1. 1

    Susan ~ Patchkat in TX says

    Judy, Judy, Judy….It’s not ugly. It’s scrappy and bright and looks like a terrific kid quilt. Pick a place and donate it!

    You do have a lot of open space to quilt. I’ll be waiting to see the after photo!!!

  2. 2


    Judy, I don’t think it is ugly at all. All of that lovely space to quilt in. I hope you show us the finished quilt. I am sure it will be beautiful. Winona

  3. 3


    Ok, I have to say that it is kind of ugly but I know it won’t be but the time you add your beautiful quilting to it!

  4. 5

    Lydia says

    Oh, I don’t think it’s ugly at all. I’m sure the reason you made it might have had something to do with playing with those stripes, and matching them up where they come together at the seam lines. You did a great job. The pieced border’s disproportionately large, perhaps — but then again, that’s a matter of personal taste. If you don’t have any of the rose, I’d pull a blue or green shade out of the stripes from the block fabrics, and use that to bind it. I’m sure you can find a blue or green in one of the shades in there 😉

  5. 6


    I don’t think it’s ugly. Maybe not your usual style. I kind of like the center part. Imagine it all quilted with the new fancy quilting pattern that you are going to put on it. It will be a quilt where the quilting makes it.

  6. 7


    I agree with Mary-Kay C. that the quilting is really going to make this quilt. I think the center is not your normal way of putting quilts together, but you did a nice job with the assembly.

    I think the quilting would be pretty in a variegated thread to bring the colors of the center out to the edge. I do hope you show it to us in the future and think it would be a great tool for teaching about how quilting can make the quilt.

  7. 8

    Karla says

    I really do believe there is no such thing as an ugly quilt just ones with lots of potential. That quilt is unique and I can’t wait to see just how beautiful you can make it. I have faith in your abilities. 🙂

  8. 9


    I really do hope you will show us your quilting. I’m sure your practice piece is going to be fabulous. I think anyone would love to have one of your ole practice quilts. 🙂

    You sure are a stinker, not wanting my top to practice on, I had it all picked out and ready to ship overnight to you. 😉

  9. 10


    I really like this quilt because it is very unique…I’ve never seen anything like it!
    Can’t wait to see what you do with the quilting!

  10. 11


    Well, I’d call it more plain than ugly and I’d be very intimidated by all that white space but we all know that the right quilting can transform a top so I’m sure this will look great when your’re done. Isn’t it nice to have tops already pieced for just this reason??

  11. 12

    Julie H. says

    It’s good to go outside of our comfort zones and try new things. Gorgeous quilting can salvage most anything and that quilt isn’t too bad as is. Please show us the finished results.

  12. 13

    dawn says

    if you feel like your practice piece is not blue ribbon, just keep practicing. get some quick easy tops pieced, quilt them up to practice, and donate to local nursing homes or some of the many great causes out there. Most people will really appreciate and love it.
    before you know it, you will love it too.
    sure you dont want some of your readers quilts to practice on? I bet there are tons of UFOs among us that would give a gal a good run for her money. LOL
    It will be gorgeous. I know you.
    Dawn in MA

  13. 14

    Becky I says

    You certainly are way to hard on yourself! This quilt is striking with it’s color and placement. Like someone else said verigated thread would add wonders to the white spaces. With your creativity it will be stunning when it is finished. You are right though, matching pink batik would be perfect for the binding. Go for it and lets see what happens!

  14. 15

    Bonnie T says

    I’m not sure that I am looking at the same quilt that you are talking about being ugly. I see beauty in the picture.

  15. 17


    I really like that. Well, except for the border. 😉
    Is that stripes in the centers and pieced points?

    Remember those things we made in Girl Scouts where you wound the yard around a cross made from two popsicle sticks? I forget what they were called, but that’s what they look like.

  16. 18

    Angie says

    Judy, I think it’s a wonderful quilt top, and yes there are quilts we make that we not like as the project progresses. However, I think once they are quilted they change so much for the better we fall in love with them all over again! I think this will be one of those projects! Can’t wait to see what you quilt on it.

  17. 19


    NOT ugly – just a lot of space for quilting. I am imagining it with less peach space, maybe ending not too far from the rust border. I’ll bet it will be stunning when finished!

  18. 20

    Mary Carole says

    I like it!! Jill mentioned the popsicle stick thing. They were called “God’s Eyes” back in the day and your center does remind me of them. After it’s quilted, I’m sure it will be fantastic. I like it!

  19. 22


    I don’t find it ugly either! I like the variety you put into each star and how close they are. It will be very interesting to see what happens when you quilt it. Your “ugly” duckling will surely become a swan!

  20. 23


    It’s definitely different than what we usually see from you but it has a lot of charm. I’m willing to bet it will be one heck of a silk purse when you’re done with it.
    Please do show us when it’s done. We can learn just as much, if not more, from the ones that aren’t shining stars. Most of all, have fun!!!

  21. 24


    Judy, I think the quilt is terrific! and has some great quilting potential!! Do you like to do lots of the freehand fillers? You could make those diamonds stand out with tiny fillers around the shapes…if you wanted, but I know that can be hard on the wrist ’cause that would be a lot of work for you. The quilt is unique and I like it! Have fun with it!

  22. 25


    It’s not ugly – it reminds me of an ‘art quilt’. I can’t wait to see it with the quilting done. Hope you share the ‘after’ pictures.

  23. 26


    Well, I hope I don’t post twice… my last comment wouldn’t take!
    Oh, NO, it isn’t ugly! Its beautiful, I love the colors and I can imagine it on someones bed!

  24. 27

    Ronda K Beyer says

    It is one gorgeous quilt, look at all your quilting space WOW, I love it not just love but LOVE it….. I cannot wait to see it quilted…. Have fun

  25. 30


    I rather liked it myself. But then I have noticed that even some of my quilts look good in pictures.

    As to the points not matching. Well, I have not reached the stage yet when that is a problem for me. I am just delighted to get a top together.