Love the quilt, fear the quilt

This is the story of a quilt; a patchwork quilt that is still not quite finished, which has been many years in the making.

On 30th December 2014, I wrote a note to myself “Today I could be finishing the quilt, but the prospect is too alarming – at this point I could make an unrecoverable mistake, and 10 years effort would be destroyed.

Or is that too dramatic? It is a patchwork quilt, so any gross errors could be patched…

Maybe the fear is a fear of finishing, or of finishing but making small mistakes that detract from the whole work. Maybe it is a fear of what other people will say about the quilt, and maybe it is a fear of what project I will undertake next.

Later that day when I was working on the quilt, I did make an error of judgement and technique, which felt unrecoverable.

When trimming some excess of the wadding at one edge, I managed to get some extra material caught into the wadding and so cut a slice through the patchwork. After initial anger and despair at how stupid I had been, I realised that all I could do now was repair-patch it. Having made that mistake and repaired it, I decided to just go for it. I laid out the quilt, tacked it, and finally I sewed the edges. At last – a usable quilt!

In fact, if I had not made that mistake, I probably would not have been able to finish the edges. I still would not have a usable quilt.

Lately it has been cold, the quilt is on the bed, and in use. It is warm, cosy, and lovely to look at. It has flaws, but it works. A friend said to me today, “Are you really done with it? Or will you still fiddle with it?”  Honestly? I think once the weather warms up, I will be working on hand sewing some more areas of detailed quilting; we will see!

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The quilt on the bed

The story of the quilt has many strands. It has been an adventure in time and space, taking place in the physical world and in my imagination. When I made that mistake I thought “I love the quilt, and I fear that my technique is not good enough to finish it well.” But I did get it to a usable state. Now I have some posts planned about how I designed and made the quilt, and the story it tells.

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