Did you see the parade of first quilts? If not, you can find the links here. It was fun to see so many first efforts and even more interesting to read the stories. One thing that struck me was the extent to which we were limited by the fabric selection available prior to the mid or late 1990's - there has been such an explosion in fabric selection lately.
Then, if you were anything like me, you imposed further boundaries. For example, it took me a good while, and several quilts, to get comfortable mixing lots of colors and design scales together. I was a little too matchy-matchy with my early projects, using just three or four different fabrics in one quilt. I think dabbling with the watercolor technique got me "over it" and now I like a more scrappy look. I also like to use larger scale prints, though I am still hesitant to cut them in very small pieces.
I think it is important to keep trying new things and experimenting with new looks and techniques. That is how I have really developed as a quilter. Of course, I still want to make the occasional "safe" project, the one I know will turn out exactly as I expect it to, either because I'm using the same fabrics the pattern maker used or I have made the design before and can visualize exactly how it will turn out even with a change in fabric. And sometimes I need a quick, no-brainer project. But if every quilt I make is another Yellow Brick Road, I won't develop my skills much nor will I develop an individual style. (Now, I don't mean to put down Yellow Brick Road or the designer - it is a great pattern and every beginner quilter wondering what to do with a stack of fat quarters should consider it - but making it once was enough for me.)
I have a couple things in the project line-up that will stretch me a bit. As soon as I finish the blue and gold...