Part 2 on my reflections about the “Beast”, my very first serious sewing project. To read part 1 click here.
Once the Beast came to mind there was momentary panic but this time my thoughts about the Beast were different. Not strictly emotional, a bit more analytical, more questioning. While the Beast [see part 1] came to mind my accompanying thoughts and feelings were on how will this project help me improve my sewing? What if I slow down and enjoy this project while praying for the person it is for? What can I learn from this journey? Thoughts were not on all my mistakes, or the difficulty in sewing a perfectly straight line that is a perfect ¼”, or getting all those squares in the sixteen patch to be perfect right angles. Perfect, perfect, perfect! Yuk.
Instead of allowing frustrations to build, I started asking myself questions…”why aren’t triangle points matching?”, “what can I do to change that?”, “so what if I have to rip a seam, that happens all the time in my garments?”, “how can I make this one block, no this one seam, better?”
And finally this liberating thought.
IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT. IT’S OKAY.
It is true that while looking at my triangle points that didn’t match up and after trying numerous fixes that didn’t quite work, I had momentary panic. But, it WAS only momentary. Afterward, a huge realization followed. I am my worst enemy when it comes to quilting. I commit to projects beyond my level, I have a tendency to do things the hard way and I don’t ask for help, even though now I know A LOT of accomplished quilters who love to pass on their knowledge and guidance. I even attended several meetings of a [gasp] quilt guild overseen by a lovely woman who gave me this advice. “If you can live with it and move on….move on. You are your own worst critic; no one but you sees those mistakes”. [well, and all those accomplished quilters but this quilt isn’t for them] but she was on the right track. The person this quilt is for will never ever notice and even if they did, will be so absolutely delighted by the gift of this quilt it simply will not matter. And THAT’s why I started making the thing in the first place! To give someone joy! And to know joy from giving joy!
Following this realization, another, I actually was enjoying piecing those 700+ 2 ½” squares.
I liked putting the puzzle together and seeing
the design begin to take shape. Why, the fabrics I had chosen were simply lovely, warm and the quality of
the fabric brought me joy.
|A few of the many 2 1/2" squares.|
Thoughts on perfection were followed by how I am a more patient person now, much more skilled in my sewing with too many resources to count to help me if I get in a jam; positive thoughts on why I was not prepare to set this quilt aside and let it linger, thoughts about why I was making this quilt and who it was for! Suddenly, I understood so much more about the Beast and why I could never finish it. Yes, it is true I did not have the knowledge to take on the Beast, yes it is true I started with an overly ambitious project, yes it is true, anyone that I could think of to help me was far away. But, equally true and a bit more humbling was this fact. I was not mature enough to take on the Beast. Back then, I was a person who quit things and trust when I say, the Beast proved to be a minor failure in comparison with other things I quit over those years.
And, suddenly I understood so much about who I am now and as a person that sews; my motivations, my hopes and dreams, my goals, my tendency toward
precision, my skill level, and most important; my accomplishments in this hobby
I so love. In other words, I can’t but even more importantly I don’t want to
So, with Irene and the help of Terry’s sew-a-long and my
great big quilting family right outside my front door…I press on. I actually finished 2 entire rows and another
partial one! I’ve already had some ah hah moments and
finally figured out a trick for matching those sixteen patches to those little
tiny half triangles. Seems small I know
but it really was HUGE for me.
Will Irene be perfect? No. Will I ever sew another quilt?
Maybe. Will I learn and be a better sewer because of it? Of course! Just as it
was logical to put the Beast to rest, it is logical that Irene will be
completed and you know what? She’s gonna be a beauty!
|Precision. (well...good enough. :) )|
|A glimpse of things to come. Joy.|