There was a time when I held the belief, “If you start a book, you finish a book”. I’m sure this came from 18 years of schooling when teachers and professors picked books for me to read, and, if I wanted to do well in school, I had to read the selections even if I thought the books were rubbish. This was closely followed by years of belonging to book clubs where I read the books other people suggested. You would hear comments like, “I know it’s long and tedious, but the end will make you glad you read it.” So, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, I diligently read through books even if I thought they were rubbish.
Eventually, my philosophy on reading changed. Two major notions brought about this change. First, life is short. Second, there are more wonderful books out there than I could make my way through in 10 lifetimes! Conclusion… I now only read books that I enjoy cover to cover. Does that mean I think every book I read is fantastic? Of course not. There are books I read that I wouldn’t recommend to my friends, others that are certainly not great literature, and some that I forget soon after I read them. These I refer to as an adequate read. But, what they all have in common, the adequate readers and the unforgettable reads, is the pleasure I experience WHILE I’m reading them. For me, while reading, it is certainly about the journey, not the destination. If I have to wait until the end of a book to have the author offer me a “You see Timmy” moment, than I have wasted my time. Everyone has their own opinion on what qualifies as a worthy read, and even whether or not to finish a book you don’t enjoy, but for me, I give a book 50 pages. If, during that time I haven’t found it personally rewarding, I move on. Did I mention Life is Short?
Like many of my meanderings, today’s post isn’t actually about reading or the quality of books, it’s about being able to walk away from a crafting project after it’s begun. For years I held a similar philosophy about crafting as I did about reading, if I started a project, I finished a project. Sure, some of the projects got pushed to the back of the closet with the intention of getting back to them someday, but I never truly gave up on anything once I began. That would be quitting, and worse than that, it would be admitting defeat! But over the years, my philosophy on crafting has changed. Two major notions brought about this change. First, life is short. Second, there are more wonderful projects out there than I could make my way through in 10 times! (Sound familiar?)
Because of the shift in ideology, I’ve gone through those abandoned projects in the back of the closet and I’ve pitched some, frogged some, passed some on, repurposed some, and, I’ve actually finished some. The point is I no longer keep or finish something that I think is rubbish. Actually, it is harder to walk away from a crafting project than a book. For starters, often there can be considerably more money invested. You can borrow a book from the library for free, but what about that quilt you started or the lacy wool shawl? You may not like how the fabrics came together in your quilt and the lacy shawl is so complex that every time you start working on it, you feel an aneurysm coming on! How can you walk away from the time and money invested? I believe, sometimes, you just have to.
Case in point, the quilt I was making for Adam and Raewyn’s little baby girl, (who I loving refer to as Peanut) due December 24. Their nursery colors are gray and yellow. They wanted a gender neutral room, and the colors are soft and beautiful. I was surprised at the limited fabric choices available in those colors. Eventually, I gathered together fabrics and started. From the get-go I wasn’t loving the quilt. Although the fabrics looked lovely in a stack, as I started working on the quilt, it wasn’t making me happy. I wasn’t getting more and more excited as I continued. I certainly couldn’t envision my beautiful granddaughter sleeping angelically under it. I knew, “It would be fine.” but I want more than “fine” for this blanket that will not only cover sleeping baby, but Raewyn will spread it out on the floor for Peanut’s tummy time, it will wrap her while Adam reads her a bedtime story, and it will be dragged through dirt, thrown up on and occasionally misplaced. It needs to be a spectacular blanket, not just “fine”.
So yesterday, I went out and started over. I picked a new pattern and new fabrics. Arguably, there will be those that will like the first blanket better. Hey, there are people that think The Old Man and the Sea is the greatest book ever written. I just happen to think it’s rubbish… or at least highly overrated. In the end I didn’t care whether he got the fish or not… but I digress! Anyway, people have different opinions and that makes for a wonderfully diversified world. But I wasn’t stitching love into each piece of the quilt. I was stitching doubt and uncertainty. Did I really want Peanut wrapped in that kind of strife? I think not! I want her wrapped in comfort and security. I want her wrapped in confidence and pride. In other words, I want her wrapped in all the love I already feel for her. So, I put aside the time and money I had already invested in her first quilt and started over.
When it is all said and done, I’m sure both quilts would have been acceptable, but making the first brought me no joy. Making the new one already feels right. Yesterday, while happily sewing away, I could envision a curly haired strawberry blond toddler lining up her dollies on the blanket. I could see her taking it into the backyard and using it to make a tent over the patio table. But mostly, I could see a cherub, with pouty lips, contently sleeping, while clutching her favorite blankie. Those visions made the do-over worthwhile!
Photos were shot without any natural lighting. The photos do neither set of fabrics justice!
I am using the pattern “Disappearing Nine Patch” for the new quilt. It will look very different when I’m done, but this just shows you the fabrics I’m using.
Also, I do like the first quilt… just not as the main blankie for Peanut. I do plan to turn it into a dolly blanket so all is not lost 🙂