Free quilt pattern: Directionally Challenged

December 17, 2019

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APQS Dealer Lauren Jackson jumped into this journey of quilting when she was only 25 years old! Even though she had zero sewing skills, she had a good sewing machine and a goal: to learn to piece so that she could make memory quilts for her kids.

Lauren has shared a free pattern she’s included called “Directionally Challenged.” This unique quilt offers up plenty of space for free motion quilting practice, and you can see that Lauren is clearly no longer a novice!

When you look at this quilt, notice that the arrows still point to the central star? That’s symbolic of the Jackson’s status as a young military family where moving A LOT is part of the package. But no matter where you land or what direction you take, “home” is always where you are.

As Navy brat herself, Lauren is used to purging so she’s not sentimental about much; her children, however, are. Meltdowns over getting rid of their clothes at 5 and 3 years old led to “NOT MY FAVORITE SHIRT… Noohoohoo!” wails and tears. Who knew clothes could be so important to little people? At that moment, Lauren made them promise to “learn to cut up their clothes into a blanket or something” as a memory.

Having enough common sense to know she could only cut into their clothing one time and get it right. she knew she would need to learn to construct quilt tops…so she began with simple tops and looked to her local shop for insight and inspiration. When she finally completed her first quilt she proudly bound it and took it to the quilt shop to show it off. “Look, Susan! I did it! I made my first quilt top!”

Susan replied, “Well that’s nice but how are you going to quilt it?” She replied smugly, “Umm, there is a top, a fluffy middle and a back… IT. IS. DONE!” Susan just giggled and smiled as sweet as could be and pulled Lauren over to the longarm machine, explaining that there’s a difference between making a quilt top and actually quilting.

Lauren said, “The longarm machine was a thing of beauty, it was running on a computerized system all by itself, but at that moment I could see the potential in it. I was in love! I pieced and rented time on the longarm machine until I could afford to buy one.”

Lauren began saving for her own longarm. An unexpected windfall allowed her to buy one much quicker than she dreamed! Looking at her amazing quilting now, it’s hard to imagine that she ever felt like she was a newbie.

Like many quilters, Lauren had a different longarm before finding that she soon wanted “more” in her machine. Lauren said, “I was stalking the APQS machines at every show. I used our move to Florida as an excuse to sell my old machine and get a Millie.”

It didn’t take long for Lauren to start sharing her learning journey with others through her company called “Bold Notion Quilting.” As she learned new skills, she shared her experience with others in mini videos on YouTube. Now she’s successfully quilting for others and teaching at local quilt shops as well as offering online courses and a full line of tools, thread, patterns and supplies through her online store. “I decided if it was this hard for me to learn and encourage myself, then others in the community must be feeling the same way.”

Lauren tries to make the process simple for both new and experienced quilters. Her free motion mastery series allows you to jump into any one of the classes at any given time, and takes you from “I don’t know what to put into my quilt project, what materials to select or designs to use”, to “I can free motion anything”! And after looking at Lauren’s quilts, we agree—she can free motion anything!

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