Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Is Finished Better Than Perfect?
For twenty-five years, I was a quilter. It took years to make each quilt, even once I taught myself to machine quilt, and I struggled to make each seam, point, color selection and binding perfect. An article was printed in Quilters' Newsletter during my quilt making phase with the title I've used today.
A woman wrote that she was at a quilt show with her daughter admiring all the quilts hanging, and they were talking about how perfect each prize winner was. Her daughter said to her that they were nice, but as far as she was concerned, finished is better than perfect.
That article caused a flurry of letters, admonishing the woman to not succumb to the mediocrity of the rest of the world, that no one cares about quality anymore and that the least quilters could do was uphold standards.
I thought long and hard about that article, as well as all the comments it caused. Can we really make a perfect thing? The Amish would always make a mistake in their quilts to show that only God can make a perfect thing, but I always found that presumptuous. Did they really think that if they didn't purposely make a mistake, their quilt would be perfect? Doesn't a stitch occasionally run astray? Doesn't a knot sometimes refuse to be hidden? Does that pinwheel of fabric really look like a rose?
Sometimes, I just want something finished. Sometimes, I don't want to unweave the last two inches to fix that missed throw. I'm probably the only one who will notice it, and maybe we at the Center are right: It's not a mistake; it's a design element.
And why am I dwelling on this today? Observe the star pattern in the Sun, Moon & Stars. I missed a throw in the second half of the pattern, but didn't notice until I got the next set of Moon done. That's not just unweaving; that's cutting threads vertically and pulling out three inches. Will anyone really notice? Can you even see what I'm talking about?
I'm cleaning house today, kind of a mid-summer "spring" cleaning, with the dog in the kennel and the cats banished from the wooden floors until they dry. I'm avoiding my loom, even though I want to weave some more on that shawl, because I can't decide if I should go ahead or go backwards. I know you, my dear friends, will offer advice, but it's really a decision I have to make on my own. Because if it isn't perfect, I will always know. My eyes will always go directly to that error.
I'm happy to report that a mistake I didn't make was not replanting the median garden after the sewer guys dug up my first effort. Here it is, in halves:
I love looking at it out my front windows. I have great plans for it for next year! As soon as these guys have been beaten down by October, I'll rip them all out, saving seeds as I go, and I'm going to plant a hundred tulip and daffodil bulbs. They'll be followed by more zinnias and cosmos and LOTS more sunflowers. I like the absurd way the one that made it looks towering over everything else. Something just out of the picture is the pink flowering succulent my new neighbors planted at the end of the garden as a thank you gift for letting them use my phone the day of the wicked storm. I'm going to like being their neighbor!
My parting shot is what I left at the Center yesterday. The "New Mexican Sunset" warp is lovely, and I really like the way the peach fabric sets it off. It's a 20-yard warp, so B and I will be working on it for a while.
Have a lovely summery day, stay cool and hope for rain!