Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Badly

Well, so there I was sitting in my quilting bee this morning, cutting away.
It was Community Quilt morning, so we were all working on quilts to give away -- to battered wives and children, to families whose homes have burned down, to the homeless, there are all sorts of people whose lives can be brightened not only by a quilt, but by knowing others are thinking of them enough to actually spend time and effort making them something nice.
Actually, at the moment, every week I work at community quilts. There are two bags of "squares" donated by someone who must have been, to put it kindly, happily sozzled when she cut them. There is much less use for irregular rhomboids and trapezoids in quilting than she must have thought. My job is to recut them into perfect squares so they can easily be assembled into quilts.
As a total novice quilter, just about to finish my only second quilt, I cannot tell you how intimidating I find all these wonderful women and their incredible skills. And they are wonderful. Quilters have an ethic, a code, a morality, a custom, of always being helpful to one another. Don't know how to do something? They will line up to kindly show you how. Make a mistake? They will line up and show you sixteen ways to get out of trouble with it.
And yet, and yet ... damn they know so much, and I know so little. Those who have always thought I was an arrogant sod would be amazed to see this shy intimidatee!
But as we went along today, first one, then another of these elegant gifted creative skilled women cried out, "Drat, how long have I been sewing without a bobbin thread?!" (A sewing machine needs two threads to stitch one line, the needle and the bobbin. Without a bobbin thread, you get a nice line along the top that looks as if you've sewn something, but it's a sham. You've got no connection.)
Now a few times at home I've been sewing along and when I take the piece out, flop, it falls apart, I've run out of bobbin thread. Dumb rube, I've thought.
Can I tell you how reassuring it was that these prize-winning show quilters did the same thing, and laughed with and at each other. I thought, "I might make at least a beginning quilter yet!"
Just reminded me how much we all struggle to look perfect, good, in control ... when so often what helps and inspires others is how our mistakes helps them realize maybe they could do this too.

1 comment:

ms. kitty said...

Without a bobbin thread, you get a nice line along the top that looks as if you've sewn something, but it's a sham. You've got no connection.

There's a sermon in there somewhere, Juffie!

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