Fixing Problems while Quilting

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Unless one lives a truly charmed life, one is sure to suffer disappointments from time to time. Some can roll with the flow. Others see every problem as a huge disaster. Some donít even recognize that their current status is anything other than life, plain and simple.

When I first started making quilts, every tiny mistake felt like a huge disaster to me. Not knowing how to fix the problems, though, I gamely went forward, attempting to roll with the flow. It should probably be noted that I was a quilter for a couple of years. A rank beginner who knew little and pretended to know everything. After three questionable attempts at making quilts, I gave it up for about seven years.

I didnít spend those years idly, though. Instead, I considered myself a quilter and read anything I could get my hands on about making quilts for bed and dťcor! I learned about techniques without ever once trying them. I collected quilting supplies and drooled over exquisite embroidery quilting. When I wasnít reading, I was designing. My workspace was always covered with graph paper, precision drafting rulers and increasingly expensive colored pencils and markers. I lived quilting!

When I finally took up the actual task of making quilts again, I knew what I was doing this time. At least in theory! I still had to train my fingers and brain to work together. However, because I recognized that I was much better prepared this time around, any mistake was a giant catastrophe! Much moaning and stomping around was the result. Then, I would sit down and do my least favorite task of ripping out stitches before trying again.

This went on for a couple of years, but then I began to laugh at my mistakes. I realized that I just hadnít been paying attention, which is a normal consequence when the quilter becomes so used to the tasks of making quilts that it almost becomes second nature. I also realized that I really hate ripping out seams.

Because my mind has a tendency to wander, I needed to figure out a way to minimize the frustration of my mistakes. It didnít take me long to realize that it was worth the hit to my quilting supplies budget to buy a little extra fabric for each project. Plenty to cover for any mistakes in cutting and sewing. It also allowed me to simply throw out any patch that needed to have the seams ripped out. This small waste is worth it in my time and level of peace. I also always cut a few extra pieces at the beginning. Now, if I make a mistake, I truly can just start over! There arenít many things in life where that is true.

Finally, I began to be kind to myself. Mistakes became a small blip in my quilt-making ventures. I realized that I was not just making quilts but creating works of art. There truly is no such thing as perfection in art, only perception. My perception began to change until all I saw was the beauty I had created, mistakes and all, while remembering the joy I had while creating it.

So, I say this from the heart. Whether youíre making quilts, learning to cook or trying your hand at gardening, be kind to yourself. You may or may not get it right away, but you can still enjoy every step of your journey. Enjoy!

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