Today I met a couple of students in my class that I hadn't met before. Because our store is small (relatively speaking), and because I have been teaching for a few years, most of the students I have in classes I know, and many of them have also become friends. I knew that there were a couple of students in the class that were new to me. It is so good for us to go outside of ourselves ... sometimes in life we always see the same people, go to the same places, eat the same food, etc., etc. Life can get boring, or even suffocating ... when you force yourself to go outside your comfort zone, good things always seem to happen. I never intended to teach; it was definitely outside my comfort zone, but I am so glad I did ... I've met so many amazing and interesting people, and it is so enjoyable to just get to know people that love to do what I love to do ... quilt. Today in class I was talking to one of the ladies that I have known; I met her first as a student in one of my classes, and then she hired me to quilt a few quilts for her. She is such an interesting and amazing lady ... she taught herself how to quilt after she retired and raised a family. She decided to take classes to "learn" the proper way to quilt, and now she is just going gangbusters! Everything she starts, she finishes ... that in itself is amazing! Today we were chatting and I found out that she used to be a legal secretary and met her husband (a retired lawyer), at one of the firms she worked for. I started as a receptionist in a law firm in 1978, and then trained as a legal secretary on the job; I worked as a legal secretary until I quit working in 1990 to have our first child and be a stay-at-home mom. She asked me who I had worked for here ... she knew the firm ... what a small world! It was such fun to find out something else we had in common.
This is a long way of saying that I had a good day today; I think everyone in class left with a clearer understanding of how to make these 5 1/2" blocks. It is challenging to put together pieces that are smaller. There is very little room for mistake ... what they all discovered was that it is okay to make a mistake, and sometimes it SHOULD be part of your quilt. If they made a mistake in one block, this is one block out of 45, and they have just started the process of putting them together. Are you really going to see that your seams don't meet in a couple of places? When that block is set on point, and it's surrounded by setting triangles, sashing and borders, does it really make that much difference? Now I admit that I would call myself a "perfectionist." But what are we telling ourselves when we expect perfection? We're setting ourselves up for failure .... there is no perfect here on earth, and the more we try to be perfect, the more frustrated we can become.
This is the first quilt I ever designed. I had a vision in my head of what I wanted it to look like and I just set out blindly putting it together. The measurements are not all correct, and you can see that if you look closely at certain parts of the quilt ... it pulls in places, and waves in places. I was so afraid to hang my own creation in the store and advertise to people "hey, take my class." That means people would be judging me and my work. Well, this quilt is now hanging in my hallway ... it's not my favorite quilt that I've ever designed, but because it's my first, that makes it special. In order to learn, I had to make mistakes ... and I made several! But it's all a process, and I am so much better at it now than I used to be. The above quilt was designed in January 2010.
This quilt I designed in August 2010 ... eight months, and a world of difference later! But that process of making mistakes got me from point A to point B. This has been a hard lesson to relearn; you do your best and you strive to do a good job. You expect that sometimes you will fail and make mistakes, and that's okay. Because more often we know that what we try to do we will accomplish and in the end we'll have many more successes than we will failures! That is life, isn't it?