Thursday, December 15, 2005

Safety Nets

What do you do if you set goals and discover that you really don't want to work towards them this particular day? This is kind of where I found myself today. I have these two gifts I'm working on, starting with that pillow top. I realized yesterday that the fabric I'd picked out previously didn't work with this new print - the colors were that much different. So there I was auditioning again, and based on the quantity of the various "winners" on hand, reconsidering how I would put it all together. How wide should this first border be and can I stretch this little bit of fabric that far? Yes I can. Which direction should I cut the strips to get the shading I want? Double and triple check that math to make sure I've figured the lengths correctly. Sew them on and reassess my choices. Should I add another border or just sew this much on to a larger square of fabric?

So you see there was a lot of thinking and decision making going on yesterday. It ended with the center pinned to batting and paper, several threads laid across, and my mind toying with using embroidery stitches in the quilting. I had every intention of doing that quilting today and attaching the center to the pillow cover. But when I looked at it this morning, I simply couldn't bring myself to face it and the decisions I would have to make. I simply did not want to work on it, goal or not.

If I hadn't had a second goal for this week, I probably would have forced myself to soldier on. Instead, I turned to that other project, one not requiring me to make any decisions. The requirements for this one are simple: cut and piece three blocks in a traditional pattern. Only two fabrics in this block and they had already been chosen. I used instructions from a book that I'd worked with before so no figuring or trial and error. No tricky construction, just straight seams to sew - grunt work. I've done this type of sewing so much that it is second nature, unlike the machine quilting. It's the sort of thing that I can easily gauge how long it will take and be relatively certain of success. Traditional quilting - my comfort zone, my safety net when I start doubting my abilities.

I was right about how much I thought I could do; I cut and pieced the three blocks and they came out fine. The hum of the machine while I chain stitched the units proved therapeutic. The positive outcome has made me feel more sure of myself. I think I can tackle that pillow tomorrow.


annabel said...

Hi! Glad to have found you. I have only had time to read your latest blog but will be back later on to read the rest (after I've been to buy the Christmas tree)

Bill Coe said...

Let's change the phrase "grunt work" to what I use at work--"woodchopping". That's when no real creative work is happening--no art, just technical stuff.