I think I’ve said before that crafting is one area of my life where I allow myself not to be perfect. The point is to make things. That’s it really. I like learning new skills, I like practising old ones, and I like holding things I’ve made or giving them away. There’s always something wrong with them, but I don’t tend to let it bother me too much. Or if it does, I rip the whole thing out and make it again to a standard I’m happy with, which still isn’t perfect. Good enough is good enough.
All of which is fine as long as I don’t compare my work to other people’s. But this week, I entered a quilt into a competition, and have spent the last 48 hours on the Perfectionist Rollercoaster Ride.*
The quilt is for the Dear Stella-Timeless Treasures Modern Traditional challenge (details here). I only found out about it 2 weeks before the deadline (1st May, also known as “that Wednesday just gone”), and I only started to cut the pieces for it on Sunday. The whole thing was assembled in a bit of a whirlwind on Monday and Tuesday nights, knocking elbows at the desk with my husband who was using the computer at the same time. So that’s a mini-quilt designed in 20 minutes on a train, and then cut out, pieced, quilted, backed and bound in 3 hours. Which isn’t too shabby, really.
I was quite pleased with it. Then I made the mistake of looking at #DSTTChallenge on Instagram. BIG mistake. All I could see were beautifully pieced quilts with complex designs and perfect quilting, making me feel like I’d entered a finger-painting in a fine art contest. I was pretty upset about it, if I’m honest and had the hump for most of Wednesday afternoon, which is ironic because the other thing that happened on Wednesday was the release of the latest issue of Fat Quarterly, and I have a pattern published in there. (The issue is all about pre-cuts, and I had a great time playing with a selection from Color Me Happy. Love this quilt, and the issue is awesome – go buy it!)
It’s actually my second published quilt pattern, and although I ran out of time to finish quilting and binding it, the top looks pretty good. Most of the points match, and I love that it’s a one-block quilt. My DSTT quilt is a one-block pattern as well, and I’m starting to see a theme emerge in the patterns that make my brain happiest, which is interesting in and of itself. There’s lots of good stuff there, and Wednesday should have been a great day.
Instead, I couldn’t even bear to look at the pictures of my mini quilt most of Wednesday and it took most of Thursday to work my through the combination of disappointment and embarrassment, which was rather dispiriting, not to mention hard work. It takes a lot of reminding yourself that perfection is not the goal, that if you are happy that’s what matters, and that feeling things are rotten isn’t the same as things actually being rotten. Oh, and also remembering that it’s just a quilt and hobbies are meant to be fun!
So work through it I did, and I’m feeling much happier about the whole thing today. I made a whole quilt, from idea to binding, in just a few hours, and I like the design a lot. I entered a competition for the first time. I tried, I got to the finish, and while I can still see the problems, I can also see the good. The problems stop being problems and become “things to do better next time.” There’s no point not learning from the experience, but there’s no point not having the experience in the first place either.
And that’s the real lesson. It’s fine to enter something and not win. It’s good to have a go. The taking part really does matter, and you learn something along the way.
To see if others are having equally philosophical weeks, I’ll link to the post at Tami’s once it’s up.
*Can you imagine if this was actually a thing, or worse, a whole theme park of things? There’d be the Flawless Flume where you climb up and up and up until someone says you’ve come the wrong way, at which point you plunge over the edge; the teacups where you turn a wheel to go round and round trying to draw a perfect circle; and bumper cars where every time you hit someone else’s car you hear “their car is much better!”. I need a lie down just thinking about it…