Slow down, and enjoy the ride
Quilt-in-a-day, fast-fun-and-easy, weekend wonders, jelly-roll-races. So many projects are all about how quickly we can complete them. Sometimes that's a very good thing, especially when there's a deadline to meet. Birthdays and babies, weddings and graduations, events coming at us left and right on the calendar. None of us has a surplus of time these days, so there is certainly a place for quick projects.
But if quilting is what we love to do, why would we want to rush through it? Shouldn't we try to make the enjoyment last? With that thought in mind, I'd like to put in a good word for the long-term project. I'm not talking about a quilt that takes two weeks or even two months to complete. I mean a real long-term commitment, a relationship. Something to nurture, something that evolves and grows under our hands, and becomes dear to us through prolonged contact.
Block-of-the-month projects are a step in the long-term direction. At the outset, we know it's going to be at least a year before we see anything resembling a completed quilt. If we are committed from the beginning to follow through, we dutifully complete each month's task (even if we're up past midnight on the night before the next class). It's fun early on, but something else inevitably comes along, causing us to set aside the comfy and familiar in favor of the shiny and new, leaving us with a pile of blocks that never gets put together and finished. How sad and anti-climactic. Ask me how I know...
|my pile from 2011's $5 block-of-the-month - |
out of the box for the first time in almost a year...
So imagine our delight when Cheryl finally looked up from her work one night and said, “I think it's done!” Her patience and persistence, and her acceptance of that project as a long-term effort finally paid off. She knew, and so did we, that it would be done eventually, and so it was.
|Cheryl's hand-quilted "Rabbit" quilt|
I am in the midst of one such project. By now my friends are well-acquainted with my obsession for pieced hexagons, made entirely by hand, using the English paper-piecing method. When I began the project last summer, I had no idea how far I would take it. Over 70 blocks later, I'm still not completely sure. Countless hours of stitching, and I've enjoyed every minute.
Each block has felt like a tiny project on its own, instead of a tiny part of a big project, with the accompanying sense of accomplishment when I complete each one. Looking at that stack of blocks, I can now begin to see what the completed quilt might look like. And I like it!
|Hexies on the design wall - |
seeing the full effect for the first time