A good iron (thanks again, Rex) can press a lot of clumsy quilting away.
I've discovered that I can use any light colored thread if my neutral bobbin is spent if it is in the same colorway as the pieces. That is a rule-breaker for some quilters. And honestly, there is a reason why that rule exists. Cheap thread is like cheap fabric. It might cost less, but in the end, it lasts less time too. Am I denying the way it will wear or look in 10 years if my quilt lasts that long? Choose-Sewing-Thread
Some really old quilt top backs I've seen were filled with newspaper! That was what the quilter had and the quilt was still of value. Was she in denial or full acceptance of her reality to use what she had? Looking at it now, I am in awe of her flexibility and creativity, not sitting in judgement that she used the wrong material. Some of those quilts were made with flour sacks or repurposed clothing.
With all the tutorials on You Tube, a person can see the differences in quilters based on their artistic natures as well as what supplies are available to them. IMO, purchasing high end fabrics helps a quilter create higher end looks.
Factor in personal health aspects, aging issues effecting energy, stamina, eyesight, or steady hands, and good equipment, other financial resources or considerations. Output can vary with each person. Most quilters I swap with will comment on how much they learned working with each monthly block swap. The same happens for me too.
I struggle most with the 6" blocks. Not only are the patterns challenging, but I am challenged by fabric selections. I am my own worst critic when it comes to the end product, wanting points to match, and 1/4" allowances outside the points so they don't get lost.
Another thing about doing one's best is that its about you, not about comparing to someone else or competing. Its your best, you.
I did more work on the paper piecing project. It seems like progress is steady. The quilt will look wonderful, however, I am still not that much of a fan regarding paper piecing itself. Maybe the outcome will change my opinion.