Okay, a heady title for a blog post about making a quilt! I do think that quilting digs beneath the surface and taps into our inner soul. This week I was tested.
I needed a small item as a give-away at my upcoming book signing. I am hard-pressed for time and needed to keep it simple. At first I was going to give my recent project using the tea bags I made in Libby Williamson‘s class at Craft Napa. But there was a lot of work in that piece and those bags were precious to me – I don’t know when I’ll have the time to gather the materials I need to make more. Besides, I wanted to do more hand stitching and I just couldn’t justify adding more time to that piece right now. So nix that one.
I have lots of silk, lots. I thought I’d make a small silk whole cloth quilt based on a very traditional type of design. I sketched that up and concluded – boring! My eye landed on a bright red piece of silk and that got me started.
I love the type of design I did on Back Story (above) so I started there. Unfortunately I did not take a lot of in-process photos.
I pondered what to do in the border. I quilted piano keys in 100 wt silk thread so that it was just line and shadow. I should have stopped there! But I didn’t. Even though it was plain, it looked beautiful in its simplicity, next to the complex design in the center.
I decided to put in what I call my “Multiple Choice Border”. It always looks good and I love it. It especially benefits from being put upon a piano-keyed background. I love the blue variegated King Tut against that glorious color – it was the perfect foil to the red.
I hated it. Hated it! It distracted from the center and looked all thready. Ugh.
It took 4 hours to rip out. The backing is a sateen weave and you never want to rip out upon a sateen weave. Your seam ripper will want to catch those floater threads and then you have real un-repairable trouble. So I had to rip from the silk front which was tricky. It required tweezers, stilletto, ripper, abundant light, lots of time and patience and a magnifier.
Along the way I learned that if I don’t close the door to my bobbin area I get this. Duh.
Then I was left with unsightly holes. Think about this – I used a size 90 needle with a 40/3 weight (thick) thread and pounded over my lines twice. That was not kind to my silk. I kinda knew I was in trouble but I tried all the normal things: water, steam, manipulating the holes in various ways (scratching with sharp objects, rubbing with soft objects, twisting and pulling) and cussing. It was a bit better but the holes were there to stay.
This is where forgiveness, grace and imperfection come in. You were wondering, I know!
What did I have to lose? I thought my “Curves” border might look good and it’s a pretty intense motif. That might hide/detract from the holes. I was loving it as I stitched. I could see it was a great solution to my problem, kinda. The underlying piano keys are something I would not have done if I’d started out with Curves, but I like what it does to the border. I loved it! You can still see those holes though…
Then the angst set in. This was for a give-away? Did it degrade my brand, my body of work, to put something so imperfect out there? Is it acceptable to give away a piece with flaws? Should I be embarrassed?
I festered over this for a day and then the epiphany. My work is never perfect and I so don’t care. Would I hang this piece in my home? YES! Was I being harder on myself than I would on others? YES! If I were to own a piece done by someone else and I found similar imperfections would it make me value the piece less? No.
I realized that I needed to forgive myself for my error and accept (grace) the imperfections. I needed to be as kind to myself as I am to others. I still have a bit of trepidation about giving away this imperfect piece but I do love it! Quilting is more than quilting.
I have a history with imperfection in my quilts. My most awarded piece, Mom’s Lily Bed, received an interesting judges’ comment:
“We appreciate the visible hand of the maker”. That means, in Judge Speak, your work is not perfect and we appreciate your imperfections. There ya go – from the mouth of a judge. Imperfection is okay. It even gets ribbons.
And then I made this quilt that comes with a story:
QBI, the Quiet Beauty of Imperfection was designed to make a statement. I deliberately chose to make this without using a ruler. Every one of those straight lines has a bobble because I’m on a domestic, without a ruler. And it is a quiet beauty. The imperfection adds to the beauty.
So I embrace imperfection. Again.
I’m linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday where lots of good links hang out.