I am quilting a pieced block quilt that looks horrific to a quilter but is so full of love. This type of quilting would be thrown out in public school home economics class. The stitch length is all wrong. The white fabric sewn with orange and blue threads. There are tucks and folds and holes in every surface. It looks as though color theory has been thrown out the window. There is a mix of cottons, good quality and poor quality, old polyester, flannel, and something I don’t know what to call it. Some of the blocks were done long ago by another quilter, a much more experienced quilter. The new blocks, meant to look like the older ones, but fall short by a mile. More of the new blocks are a different pattern altogether done with colors that just don’t match. Both block patterns are definitely advanced. A circle with rays coming out of it. Tiny nine patches turned on a 45 degree angle. All hard and tricky things.
This quilter though was 13 years old. She set a goal to make a quilt and she didn’t quit. She had no idea this block was hard or tricky, she just loved it. As I set out to quilt this with little clamshells, after fixing about 50 holes and adding fabric to her too short back, I thought oh this is the ugliest quilt I’ve ever seen.
Then something changed. I saw those old blocks that were done a long time ago and thought I wonder why that quilter didn’t finish? She didn’t run out of fabric because this second quilter used it to make new blocks. Maybe she got discouraged with how hard or tricky the pattern was and she quit. Or maybe she died of a broken heart. How happy she would be to have a budding quilter want to finish what she couldn’t?
If you want to quilt then do it. Jump in and try.
This little 13 year old wanted to quilt so badly she decided to just pick up this fabric and try. She is a dear friend to me. This little old ugly quilt will be, I know, praised and used and cuddled and appreciated. This little 13 year old girl will be patted on the back and told she should enter it in the fair. And she should. Quilting this quilt has brought me to a new found appreciation for hard work and determination. It’s also reminded me that basics are a good foundation to start from and will make life and quilting go so much smoother. If you love what you’re doing and you love it enough for everyone then do it. Stop saying it’s not good enough.
I will take this girl by the hand when I return her quilt and tell her how proud I am of her for finishing this very large undertaking. Then I will teach her some basics, so that hopefully in the future when she asks me to quilt her another quilt I don’t have to patch 50 holes.