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Bounce: Mistakes were made

I just finished a quilt I'm calling Bounce. I believe Bounce is the most challenging quilt I have ever made. (Yeah, and I kind of thought the last two quilts were doozies - HA!)


The graphic that inspired it was on a card I had saved from my friend Judy for years.  I really liked the design and wanted maybe someday to make a quilt based on it, but it was pretty complicated so I never tried it. Then recently I saw another graphic very similar to it on Pinterest and when I looked at the card again and realized the similarities; I knew it was finally time to make this quilt.  But as I said, it was complicated, no straight lines, weird little pieces...

It's kind of like my last blog - mistakes were made and lessons were learned and it was a crazy-ass make.  For example, I ended up having to cut the thing out three times, and I sewed the top together twice.  Challenge and frustration abounded and blah blah blah...But, when I finally finished the quilt and bound it and hung it up on the design wall, I felt -


Talk about disappointment!  Why had I been so doggedly determined to make this thing? Why had I spent so much time and energy and even emotion on it?   And why oh why didn't it make my heart sing, like it did when I was conceptualizing it?  (Can anyone guess before you read on?  Tell me in the comments what you guessed...)

After mulling it over for a while, I finally realized that it was because, despite my best efforts, it wasn't perfect.  I felt I had earned  a certain level of perfection with all my efforts, and yet even though I had exhausted in every way in the making of it - all I felt was "Meh." (A small aside here - I won't allow myself to cry over a quilt; no matter how frustrated I can get, I try to keep in mind that the relative importance of it is very small in the scheme of things, even if it doesn't feel that way in the moment.  I also really, really don't want negative energy going into my work - I will force myself to stop (and I do mean FORCE, because usually when I'm being very challenged, I want to overcome it, I don't want to stop. But I do, because if the negativity is that strong I know I'm not going to get where I want to go at that moment anyway AND that energy will creep into the work itself and that, my friends, is NO BUENO!)


Later, I talked to my husband about my disappointment and the feeling that my skills were just never going to be where I want them to be, and that I guess I can never reach the highest quilting level  and dammit - WHY NOT? after all these years of making and creating?!  And why, since  I TRIED so hard to get it right and kept going and was willing to make the thing over and over - why couldn't it be at least ALMOST perfect?  

With his usual wisdom and clarity, he said to me "Carrie - you are an inventor and a creator.  You're always pushing yourself to make things that are really really challenging and difficult to create.  You're not really about precision and perfection, you are about creating new things - That's who you are as an artist."   Hot damn - cue the "AH HAH" choir! I swear I felt like a light shone on me and I suddenly felt exhilarated!.  He was -  as he often is - absolutely right.  It really IS all about the journey for me, and although I do very much strive to get it right, sometimes the first or second or even the third time isn't perfect because I am challenging myself, because that's what brings me joy.   

And yeah -sometimes my journey is frustrating and exhausting and keeps me awake at night and makes me curse and even almost cry, but the truth is - I obviously LOVE it that way!  That's what keeps me coming back for more.  

And it doesn't mean I'm not going to keep striving for that perfect make, knowing I may never achieve it, but I'm going to allow myself to love my work, as flawed as it may be.  I mean, I COULD make this quilt a fourth time, using all the lessons learned and get it closer to perfect, and - maybe I'll take up that gauntlet...but not today.  

Today I'm going to celebrate my perfectly imperfect finish, and a beautiful make, and most of all, the journey and all the lessons learned it took to get there.  

After all, it's the very reason I create.  

Meet Bounce, my latest adventure in creating.


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