Sunday, May 30, 2010

Perfectionism (A long wordy post)

Quite often I find myself not wanting to quilt because the thought that I am not perfect at this craft stops me cold. I look at magazines and see award winning quilts and instead of enjoying the beautiful quilts, I lament that I have never acquired that level of expertise. I decide in my mind that everything is too hard, would take too long, and I couldn’t think up the designs in the first place. So why should I bother at all? Then someone will remind me that you have to work at the craft; that the expertise only comes from years of practice and failing. Sorry, but that does NOT inspire me. It just increases the size of the mountain I must climb.

Oh, I have periods of not letting the perfectionism factor stop me. I sew, I quilt, I buy fabric, I continue haphazardly, enjoying the colors and patterns. Most of all though, I love my fellow quilters – the friends in my Bee group, women I admire in my Guild, and many, many quilting bloggers.

As the years have gone by I increasingly lament the fact that I am not good at quilting. As I bemoan my shortcomings I have begun to notice that my listeners are getting tired of hearing my sob story.

My unhappiness got so bad that there have been many times recently when I seriously considered throwing out or giving away ALL my fabric and quilt books – thousands and thousands of dollars worth of quilting stuff. It was not bringing pleasure into my life and instead was making me miserable.

Enjoying lunch with my friend Brenda the other day, she patiently sat listening to me once more go on and on about poor me, lousy quilter me, never good enough me. What do I expect people to say? “Yes you are lousy. You better quit quilting.” Hardly. The usual response is “Oh Bonnie, I love your quilts. You’re too hard on yourself. Your quilting is fine.” They might as well be saying, “blah, blah, blah” for all that I listen to that reply. But Brenda replied with something that I have heard before, but have never felt as deeply. She gave me the “enjoy the process” speech – and it penetrated my thick brain that the whole point of quilting or stitching or knitting or reading or eating or being with your friends or just about anything that you do is to enjoy the process.

The people I admire most in the world are those that have enthusiasm – about what they are doing or what they just acquired or where they are going or what they had to eat or what they are reading. Who wants to be around someone like me who whines and complains about being less than adequate? Not me. I want to be around the person who can’t wait to show me their latest garage sale find, who just has to tell me about a good book, who got some fabulous new fabric, who had a great idea for a quilt project and who made a wild, crazy, wonky quilt. I don’t care if the quilt they show me is perfect – all I care about is the enthusiasm and pride with which they share their craft.

So right here on this public blog, I am vowing to stop the negative thinking and begin to truly enjoy the process of quilting – picking out the fabric, deciding on a pattern, cutting everything apart, sewing it all back together again, and sometimes doing my imperfect but unique (and wonderful) machine quilting.

If I slip up on my vow, would you please remind me? Thanks!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Saturday

It was a happy Saturday at my house. I machine quilted (cross-hatch) this little pieced pumpkin quilt and it is now ready for me to hand sew down the binding. My machine quilting is a little less than perfect, but it is OK with me. I like the over-all effect and will think of it as "quirky" quilting.
I used a varigated thread that had yellow, gold, orange and beige which adds to the quirky nature of this little quilt.
There was time also to work on this little piece of stitchery which is from Blackbird Designs - one of the August miniature stockings.
Finally, I made a little progress on my latest binding project.
Time went by very quickly today as I enjoyed working with needle and thread.

Friday, May 21, 2010

More poppies

Lots of quilters are also gardeners. I am not among those green-thumb people. This year I hired my grand-nephew to plant a few flowers so that I won't be the ugly yard on the block.

Some marigolds and petunias,
and some impatiens.
The star of my garden though are the poppies that were planted last year. I just can't get over how beautiful they look - that bright red against the green grass and the lavender centers - simply stunning.
As far as quilting goes, I spent the day organizing and making lists. There are so many unfinished projects in my home, it overwhelms me. By making a list of exactly what needs to be done I can now prioritize and start making some progress. I did manage to sew binding onto a rather large quilt that just came back from the long-arm quilter, so that is one thing already to cross off my list.

Today I am grateful for a nice gentle rain. (I don't have to water the plants!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sewing today

All the stitching around the letters is complete for my Welcome banner and I started working on the stars.

I also finished the binding on this little quilt for friend Moe.
That is today's sewing report from my house.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


My favorite flower is a red poppy. This is a painting done by my friend, Donn Warden. It hangs in my office and is my favorite painting.

This round robin quilt hangs in my bedroom and is my favorite quilt.

This beautiful poppy with a lavender center appeared in my garden this morning after a night of pouring rain. Lovely!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fun in the Quilt Studio

This is the Welcome banner that hangs on my front porch. It has been there a long time and is looking rather faded and worn out.

Time to make a new banner. I gathered together a pattern and some fabric choices and began

This is what I got done this afternoon. The house is all sewn together. Now I need to sew the borders, add the WELCOME at the bottom and the stars along the side panel. A lot of my original fabric choices were changed, but that was the fun - digging through my stash and saying No, No, No, or Yes, Yes Yes.
I will add a button for the door knob and sew in some window sashings. The door looks huge and entirely out of proportion, but that makes it all the more charming. The patterns are by At last count, there were 48 patterns in this series and I want to make more - at least one for every month.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mitten, Mitten

The borders are on the Mitten quilt and
the backing is made. The cute mitten flannel I saved for this quilt was not quite wide enough for the backing, so I had to put a strip of the border fabric down the middle.
Also made the binding so that it is ready to go when this project is quilted.

My cutting table and sewing table are cleaned up and ready for me to begin a new project, OR finish an old project.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sewing and gluing......

The mitten blocks are all sewn together and the sashing has been added. Next comes the borders and I have enough of the sashing fabric (I think) for borders and binding.

Using the instructions from Vonna ( I made my first flat-fold. There is a lot of gluing involved and Vonna suggests in her instructions that you have water available for cleaning your hands. I put wet paper towels in a plastic bucket and used those wet towels constantly. My results are not any where near as good as Vonna's, but I learned a lot doing this little project.
Next time I will purchased larger sized trim. My skinny trim does not cover the edges very well. I also opted to put the trim inside the bottom tab and perhaps I should have gone outside the tab.

Also finished up another binding for my friend Moe. This sweet print on the back of her quilt made the binding time fun.