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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You Rip What You Sew...

I am taking a break from quilting to write this blog, even though I've only been quilting for about fifteen minutes. That was long enough to complete a pattern on the quilt I'm doing for a customer.

A near-perfect pattern.

Most of you quilters have heard why no quilt can be perfect: It's an Amish saying. "Only God is perfect." That's why the Amish (in theory) deliberately put a mistake in each quilt they make.

I've never had to try to put in a mistake... Is there anybody out there who has had to? Please answer!

Anyway, this was a near-perfect rendition of the pattern I've been doing on this current quilt. It's an "L" shape on each of the corners of the blocks. I've often forgotten to turn right or left as I've been sewing and gone on to sew parallel lines, and then had to stop and rip them out.

I've started too far away from the blocks' edges, and had to stop and rip out the sewing.

I've put the lines too close together, or too far apart, or both in the same "L" shape...

I've crossed previous stitching lines, when they're supposed to be concentric...

I MADE myself sit down to quilt today, even though there's laundry to do, shopping to do, cleaning to do... But this quilt is due at the end of September, and that's simply not far enough away for my liking, permanent procrastinator that I am.

I took my time, I lined everything up. I sewed the first line and saw it was too far away from the edge, and I ripped it out, repositioned and sewed again...

And everything worked "like clockwork", as the saying goes. I kept up my "personal tension" (held my breath) while working on it. It went quickly, smoothly. It went without surprises.

By the last line, I was experiencing something I rarely get these days - the simple pleasure of quilting, enjoying the process, relaxing.

Feeling like I'd finally "gotten the hang of it."

I heaved a deep, contented sigh, and allowed myself a brief moment to admire the work just before moving on to the next corner...

... and saw the mistake.

I'd done it in the wrong color thread.

Like, the SERIOUSLY wrong color. Blues and greens and yellows, when the thread I was supposed to be using was in reds and oranges.

I've re-threaded now with the CORRECT color thread... but I keep wondering, WHY???!!!

Why did I take up this blasted hobby? Why did I turn it into a business? Why do I keep making these stupid mistakes? Why do I make mistakes, different ones, at each step of every single process? I solve one problem and create three more!

This was supposed to be something I enjoy!

Well, if it was MY quilt, I'd just leave the wrong thread in. But it's not, so now I'm going to go and do some more "Frog-Stitch."

Rip-it. Rip-it. Rip-it.

1 comment:

Random Royalty said...

Interesting you mentioned the Amish. I was just there in Lancaster PA, and we had a buggy ride with a tour of a working farm and of course a gift shop loaded with quilts.

And they were utterly amazing. Some of the most beautiful quilts I had ever seen. And all made by hand (they don't use sewing or quilting machines).

It isn't that they eschew all technology (they use what is required or appropriate) but the criteria is that you don't become a slave to it. In our society technology has meant more things to manage and less time for what it really important. It has become about the machine and not the purpose of the creation.

So what causes foolish mistakes is having too much mental clutter (too many things to manage/remember) and being too much in a rush. Using technology like quilting machines is supposed to make us faster and more efficient but it doesn't prevent us from being distracted and being hasty about what we are creating.

And I just read that being constantly distracted by e-mail lowered IQ more that smoking pot. If technology is making us stupider, more sloppy and less attentive, then maybe the Amish are much smarter than us.