Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Darn the Turtle

(Nick is in the lower right square.)
It all started with a turtle. While reverse appliquing the final of a series of turtles, I nicked the underlying cloth. Just slightly. My internal dialog raged...No one would notice...It was tiny...I was keeping it anyway..

I didn't really want to cut another turtle. I paced for a bit and stepped back to grasp the bigger picture of what was going on. (Amazing how my conflict resolution training of stepping back to get perspective applies to turtles and beyond. :) )

The bigger issue wasn't the turtle, of course. Check out this photo of the background that five turtles were going to be journeying across. Notice anything? Check out the border in the corners.

In sewing the outside blocks, I had messed up the pattern. I didn't realize it until I had placed some cut outs of turtles on the background and taken a photo. (Lesson: Photos are not only a great way to step back and get perspective on a design but also to catch silly errors.)

That first problem had happened back in June. I had rationalized my way into letting it go and continued to cutting out the turtles. I wasn't thrilled but I had been really good at rationalizing in June. But, now it was July and I had another error - actually far smaller than the first - but big enough to  cause me to step back and look at the real conflict.

The truth was that I didn't really want to make an imperfect quilt, even for myself. If no one else ever noticed the errors, I would know they were there.  I didn't really want this quilt to be a reminder of my many imperfections. I wanted to smile every time I saw it - why else would you decide to put a groups of turtles crossing your quilt?

The answer was clear. It was fine that I didn't want to cut out another turtle right now. I had a bigger issue to address. I really needed to be tearing out that border. Then I could deal with the turtle issue. And, that's what I did.

Now I am smiling at myself and my background. Doesn't it look great!

PS. Yes, eventually I cut another turtle too.


  1. Hummm . . . Very profound.

    If I remember correctly the Amish always make sure to leave a slight imperfection in their quilts. I like that. :)

  2. Thanks so much for your comment! I thought of the Amish, Marguerite. Glad you brought it up. In fact, when I mentioned my original error to my husband, he referred to that tradition. I probably tried to rationalize for a month that I could leave the outside blocks as is because of the Amish. But, it didn't work in this case. :) Why? I didn't choose the imperfection out of a belief or philosophy. It was a mistake outright. I think that is why I needed to fix it to feel really good about the quilt - which by the way is about to get sandwiched and quilted!