Check this out! I took a Finishing Class at the local quilt shop recently where they came up with a great idea: to make the class accessible to everyone, they donate the fabric and batting for a small practice quilt to all class participants. In class, you cover all the necessary skills for binding and finishing a quilt. When you finish the practice sampler you return it to the shop and they donate it to the local animal shelter! Isn't that sweet?
They gave us a beautiful butterfly fabric that my pictures can't really do justice. I took it with me when Eric and I traveled for Thanksgiving, and he was generous enough to drive so that I could stitch - and I finished it! It turned out really well, and now I can back and bind the quilt top that I made in my first quilting class over the summer. This isn't a great picture, so you can't see all the stitching, but that's probably just as well... it was my first practice piece, after all! :0)