Monday, August 27, 2012

The Seven Year Stitch

My Patchwork Baby Quilt
See the quilt in the photo? Does it look familiar? Maybe it looks a little like my blog header up there? Well, there's a reason for that. They are the same quilt, just at different stages of completion. Like a magazine tear-out of a swimsuit model taped on the fridge (horrid thought) might remind someone about their goal of getting in shape for summer, I very cleverly used a photo of my unfinished quilt project for my blog banner. I see it nearly everyday. So, I am constantly being reminded of something I haven't finished. Is that sick or what?

The Phenomenon Of Disappearing Motivation
Anyway, let me just say that the strategy doesn't work. That scantily-clad stick-figure on the fridge will eventually become invisible... transparent. She will just cease to be noticed any more. And then it's July and well... there's always next summer, right? It's the same with my UFO* blog header. I stopped hearing it's motivational message. I simply stopped noticing it. 

Recently, I made a renewed effort to complete the incomplete, finish the unfinished, wrap things up and move on to the next thing... whatever that may be. Sounds so healthy, right? Well it is... and it isn't. That baby quilt, for instance, is for my God-son...

He just turned 7. 

I started the quilt when he was 0.

What can I say? I am a distracted recovering perfectionist. Expect gorgeous, just don't expect it overnight. Did I mention that I hand-quilted it? Yep, I'm nuts. But I love the process... knowing that every stitch and pucker is placed there by hand... by my hands. Exactly the same way women have quilted for centuries. That physical connection to history gave me special insight. I realized the reason some of those beautiful antique quilts were started at age 19 and finished at 78. Or why a stack of antique quilt tops might be discovered in a trunk in an attic, unfinished... (they take time).

The L in QUILT stands for Love.
Without it... I would have quit.

Quilt-making is a journey in cloth. It's slow going, to be sure, but so personal. That quilt up there is part of me. It's been with me through so much these past few years. And just like the first one I made, when I finally clipped the last thread, I had to hold it in my arms for a while... curl up with it on the sofa... watch some Jane Austen with it. Time had to be spent with it before I could let it go. It sounds crazy maybe—and it sure surprised me the first time—but now, though I can't really put it into words, I understand it. Or maybe I just accept it as part of the process.

Yesterday I let the quilt go. It was time. And today the cycle returned to the beginning... a new beginning: imagining and planning my next quilt. I'm pretty certain it won't take me anywhere near as long to finish as this last one did, but I'm not taking any bets either.

*UFO: Un-Finished Object

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  1. You are not alone. I have an unfinished quilt that is over 15 years old. I'm repairing my very first quilt by adding a 'crazy quilt' pattern right over the old one. It'll be great one day..- when I finish it... :)

    1. 15 years? I'm such a newbie! :) I think quilts get better with age (even before they're finished!).

      Your crazy-quilt solution sounds intriguing... one of the things I love about quilts is that they can be repaired indefinitely and it just adds to their charm.

      PS: I'd love to see your quilts sometime :)

  2. And by the way, your quilt is gorgeous!!

    1. Thank you!!! I have to keep looking at the picture for proof that it's finally done!


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