This is the week that the boys and I are are away from home on our annual trip to visit with good friends. I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time and we were off to a bit of a rocky start. The boys have had a nasty virus and we had to postpone our trip for two days! Finally, the fevers broke and we got out of the house. It is a very relaxing week for me. The boys go to VBS and I stay in a house that is not my own (meaning I don’t have to clean it!). I bring a project (or five) that I have been wanting to make some significant progress on and work on it. It’s a great system that forces me to be very project focused. At home, I have so many projects started that I sometimes get overwhelmed with project guilt. Usually this does not bother me. After all, I make stuff because I like to, not because I have to.
However, the project I am working on this week has been haunting me for a long time.
I made this quilt top in 2000. Back then, I had a lot of time. My husband was in grad school, we had no kids, and I needed something to do to keep myself occupied. So, I made a couple of quilts. Then, we moved and I put it away. It came out last summer and I started to do a little quilting on it. But, honestly, I was having a tough time with it.
Hand quilting is a laborious process. It is my least favorite part of making a quilt. It gives me a hand cramp and I just was having trouble with my technique. I really wanted small stitches. Small stitches are supposed to prove that the quilter is especially skilled.
See those stitches? They are huge. And uneven. I am getting maybe (and I stress maybe) 5 or six stitches an inch. Really good handquilters get 10-12, or so they say. I have tried lots of different sized needles and thimbles. No change. I almost gave up.
However, I think that a handquilted quilt is a thing of beauty that cannot be replicated with a machine, no matter what imperfections might exist. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to machine quilting. In fact, I am hoping to increase my skill level in that area, but that’s another story.
I really love this quilt. I love how the crosses echo each other. When I made it, I imagined that I would hang it on a wall in a future house. I think it’s time to let go of my of my perfectionist tendencies. I think it is time to finish it now.
Unfortunately, there might be some other distractions coming up. More about that later.