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Imperfect Perfection

In September I participated in the Cloud 9 Blog Hop. I was excited about my design for it as it is the first thing I've really designed using EQ7 ever. And I was quite pleased with the way it turned out, both the block and the potentially larger quilt. I spent quite a bit of time playing with it, even after I had decided on the final design, because EQ7 is a little addicting, really. You can easily change designs, fabrics, colors and before you know it you've spent - oh, I don't know - FOUR HOURS! just playing. Oh well - they were fun hours at least.

As I was having said fun, I got an idea to "tweak" the design. I took some of the straight edges and made them rounded. Why? I don't know - it seemed like a good idea at the time, and oh how beautiful the designed looked in EQ7 in Allison Glass fabrics!

I decided to make a small wall hanging of this one. Because of the rounded edges I knew I couldn't paper piece this one (more's the pity) so I had to piece it. I knew it would be a challenge but OMG I didn't know just how challenging it would be.

I've done a fair amount of round piecing because I really like circles (In fact, my sister-in-law dubbed me "Dotty" because of my circle obsession). But small piecing of circles is much more challenging than bigger circles, so I went online to look for tips. I was reminded to fold in the center, pin, pin, pin, go slowly...all good ideas. I reminded myself that I wasn't in a hurry, and that I really wanted to take my time and do this correctly. And so I blithely began.

First of all I want to report to you honestly that I truly was patient on this. I drew the patterns on freezer paper, ironed them to the fabric, cut them out, sewed, picked stitches, re-sewed, re-drew the pieces that were ruined from too much stitch-picking on freezer paper, re-cut, and re-sewed numerous times, all the while in a relatively calm, zen-resembling state. ( I really did!)

However, despite my abundant patience and infinite calm, this was the most challenging, most annoying piece I've ever done. I'm telling you, I just could NOT get it to go together the way I wanted it to, no matter how much patience I mustered up. When I finally finished the first square (which from start to finish took an entire DAY of above activities) and saw that my points were totally NOT pointed, I realized I was in over my head. Aaack! Zen-like behaviors destroyed.

I gave myself a couple of days to recover my equanimity. I regrouped and started on the second square, determined not to focus on the disaster that was the first square. Hey, now I had completed one square, and even if it sort of sucked, I figured I would be better this time around. And I was. This one only took a little over half a day to complete. But the finished product sucked only slightly less than the first one. This was naturally somewhat frustrating but I STILL remained calm, zen-ish and hopeful although a little sour as I stared at it. In the meantime, Mathis, the seventeen-year-old Frenchman who is staying with us, came by my studio and we had the following conversation. (Be sure to read his part with a French accent)

He: "Oh Carrie, this is beautiful."

Me: "Actually it sucks, Mathis."

He: "What do you mean? I love it."

Me: "Look at the points. See here, " I said pointing to them offending areas. These are supposed to be POINTED because they are POINTS! I'm not pleased with this at all. I'm trying really hard to make these perfect and they are anything but. In fact, they are yuck."

He: "Oh Carrie," says seventeen-year-old he. "It doesn't have to be perfect. It's like a beautiful woman - you appreciate them for their imperfections. No, it's okay. It's beautiful."

Me: (charmed and annoyed at the same time) "Well I disagree. And by the way - what seventeen year-old talks like that? I mean - WHO taught you that? Really! You are so...damn...FRENCH! Go away," I said rudely. With a smile.

(You see, I've known a few Frenchmen in my time and they all seem to have this innate way of appreciating women. Most American men could learn a few things from them about that. Of course for the ones I know (Mathis excepted) they tend appreciate a few too many women at once. But that's another story...)

Me: (continuing, somewhat sullenly as I looked at my disaster) And anyway, this is NOT a woman, this is ART. And it's way worse than just imperfect. It sucks. Like I said."

He: (Putting his hands up and laughing) Ah Carrie, leave it the way it is.

Humph - who could argue with that kind of Gallic charm? I left it. I ended up doing four squares total. When I sewed them all together my assessment was that one of them was good enough, one was just okay, and two of them downright stank. I left it for a week or so. When I came back to it, I took the two stinkers apart completely, cut them and resewed until they were - just okay, too. Then I sewed the thing back together and Viola! Here she is...the "Beautiful Woman" quilt.

She ain't perfect, but I appreciate her anyway.

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