Sunday, January 18, 2009

An AHA Moment

I have been working on the hand quilting of the turtle quilt I am making for my 15 year old. Last night I was working on a block and I kept going back trying to make every stitch perfect and thinking about how I am never ever going to finish this quilt. I was not having fun.

This morning I got up and started working on it again, same thing as I finished up the block I was quilting last night...frustration. I kept thinking about stitch length and trying to get at the most 10 stitches per inch, the amount mentioned by several people I have worked with during classes. My frustration level was rising and I thought about getting out the tiger tape, but it really just makes me more frustrated. I was really working myself up into a frenzy until I set the quilt down, took a deep breath and took a good look at the quilt. Then I hit myself in the head and said what is wrong with you and just started quilting with ease.

This quilt is not going to be judged. This quilt is for my 15 year old son. The son that drags his down comforter from room to room wrapped around him like a sari because we keep the house so cold. (Although he never wears it into the kitchen.) The son who last night was sitting in front of his computer, wearing his comforter, eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking milk. The son that will come up when I am quilting and say "Hey that looks cool." rub his hands over the quilt and walk off He is not going to count the stitches. He is going to notice is I don't finish the quilt before he is 20.

So when I started the next block I eased up on myself. I am probably getting between 6 and 8 stitches and inch and it looks fine. In fact, it looks perfect for something that I know is going to be used by a 15 year old that just wants to be warm and will be happy that his mother thought enough of him to make him a quilt.

I am a beginning quilter. This is only the 3rd quilt I have pieced, and it is really only the first one I have really worked at hand quilting. The other quilt I have hand quilted on is the sampler I made in class, which I have not finished hand quilting, and may never finish, because quite frankly, I am not sure I even like it any more. I need to ease up on myself.

It was quite an "Aha" moment. This quilt has just become fun again.


Laurie said...

Love your a'ha moment. When I was first learning to quilt I went to Mary Ellen Hopkins shop in Santa Monica. (check her website). What a hoot she is! You would love her philosophy that she put in her first book "its okay to sit on my quilt". She said she wanted to make quilts that it was okay to sit on, okay to cuddle up in when you are sick, okay for little boys to make tee-pees out of. I always felt so inferior sitting in class with these "perfect quilters" however, when I got home, no one saw the perfect quilts, Brad & Mike only saw mine and they wanted to take a nap with it or "sit on it"! I never will be able to make a quilt that is show-worthy because I'm not a perfectionist. But that's "Okay!"

Loni said...

Mamma C ~ Yes, ease up and relax about it; it makes a WORLD of difference. Just remember that this is a journey of love poured into those stitches and that your teen doesn't expect perfection. Just like when I was making your afghan, there may have been a few stitches out of whack here and there; but then I just tried to remember that this was a gift of love and to exude only positive and loving energy while I was making it. Hugs!!