1/15/17

Purposeful Imperfection

When I finished up my embroidery yesterday, I told myself I would finished the latest Wine Country block this morning, and I did.


This being Sunday, I'm linking up to

Slow Sunday Stitching

This is the fourth of 12 blocks. Here are the ones I've finished so far.


This latest one has an error. Do you see it? I didn't notice it until I'd completely finished stitching the little area I was working on. Just then, Mike walked up to say something and I showed it to him. "I made a mistake," I said. "Do you see it?" He stared for some time, and he has pretty sharp eyes. He couldn't find it. Can you?

So, this is going to be my "humility error". You might already know that the Navajo intentionally weave errors into their rugs. That's where the spirits move in and out. You can read about it right here. When I volunteered to teach art literacy at my sons' school some years ago, I learned that the sculptor Auguste Rodin was once accused of using casts for his life-like human sculptures. The detail was so rich, it was believed impossible to do something so perfect. To save his reputation, he began making his sculptures either smaller or larger than life.

Well, no one is ever going to accuse me of doing something so perfect. Whenever I think of perfection, I remember something a psychiatrist colleague once said to me: A perfectionist is someone who's always looking for the flaw. I decided right then and there that perfection is highly overrated. Certainly we should strive to do our best, but there's also merit in not sweating the small stuff. As for the error in my embroidery, it's definitely small stuff. It stays as a monument to the value of things created by imperfect human hands.

And while we're talking about things that are imperfect, let's just talk about the stylized stars, shall we? Actually, I'm pretty happy with these, imperfect as they are. The next challenge was deciding how to position them on the quilt. With this being an edge-to-edge design, I worried about how to space the rows of stars and stripes on the quilt. I didn't see how I could achieve symmetry, nor was I sure that it mattered.


Finally, I got the idea to quilt them diagonally onto the quilt, and that dispensed with the need for any kind of vertical symmetry. My next concern was whether I could keep the rows relatively straight. Would they fan out? And since my practice piece still had plenty of room, I decided to try it there. As it turns out, none of my concerns were realized, and so I was ready to move on to the quilt.


Gulp.

I can't remember when I've worried over the quilting of something so much. (Maybe I always say that.) Finally, late in the afternoon, I summoned all the courage I could muster and started in on the upper left corner. I'm happy to say, so far, so good.


The variegated thread is doing just what I hoped it would do, which is to fade into the background. The quilt blocks are the real stars of this show (pun intended), and I wanted them to be the first thing seen.

Because of where I started, I have the bulk of this rather large quilt sitting in my lap, and it's a little hard to maneuver it. As I move across row by row, of course, it will get easier. For now, I'm experimenting with rolling, wadding, bunching, etc., trying to find the easiest way to manage it.

Here's how it's looking from the back. I've had a hard time getting the tension adjusted right, and I'm afraid this is another place where I'm going to have to live with some imperfection.


The entire back doesn't look like this. It changes about halfway down, and so I'm hoping it will still look nice as I move into the lower regions. Here's the back I pieced together for this quilt. As I mentioned previously, these are bee blocks. I made two of them and the rest were made by five others. One of the bees in the hive made her first blocks in the reverse colors of what I'd asked. She sent me those too, and they were added to the quilt back.


So that's where it stands. I'm hoping to get some more quilting time in today, but we're heading out early this afternoon to go down to the kids' house for a family get-together. As I'm writing this, an angel food cake is baking in the oven. I'm making a dessert created by Giada DeLaurentiis called Angel Food Cake with Espresso Mascarpone Cream. It's so simple and so good. It's been quite a while since I made it, and so it seemed like a good choice for today.

It's still cold and we're still looking out at a snow-covered landscape. It's supposed to warm up at long last tomorrow, and then we're expecting lots of rain by Tuesday. As Tuesday's rain approaches, the concern over flooding increases. We're in no danger at the top of our hill, but I fear those in the valley may be in for some high water.

20 comments from clever and witty friends:

gpc said...

Beautiful stuff, as always. I love wine and so, of course, I really love the wine blocks, and I cannot find the flaw so I must not be a perfectionist, which is a relief.

Sandra W said...

I found the "mistake" but only after some careful searching. I won't spoil it for your other readers though. Keep them guessing...

Marei said...

Yep...I see it...or actually I don't see "it: because "it" isn't there...but you know what I mean. And it's no big deal at all. Love the quilting on your Stars & Stripes.

CJ Smith said...

I LOVE how the back of the star quilt looks! Way cool! I was having what I thought was a tension problem on my sewing machine just doing a wavy line quilting pattern. Kept tweaking it without success. I finally hit upon increasing the pressure of the presser foot (try saying that 3 times quickly!). Bingo! My stitches evened out as nice as could be. Hope this might be a helpful suggestion to your loyal readers :-)

Sarah said...

I love your wine blocks, such a fun idea! And your quilting looks great.

Marei said...

Well...I have to revise my comment because what I thought I saw, or didn't see, wasn't an error! I'm stumped.

quiltzyx said...

I think I found the "error" in the wine block, but won't say what here. I'll email you to see if I'm correct. I think those blocks are wonderful - I do love line drawings. I FINALLY got some embroidery floss & new needles. Just need to stop at JoAnn's for the backing stuff.
The diagonal stars are looking fabulous m'dear!
Enjoy your family time today/tonight!!

CathieJ said...

I really like how those stars look on that quilt. You are right that the quilting fades into the background, but it really complements the quilt itself. I can't find your error in your pretty stitched block. It just looks fabulous to me.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I am not the quilt police or the stitch police - not looking for mistakes, but saying 'oh, how lovely everything is'!! Super pieced backing for the Stars & Stripes.

Quilting Babcia said...

Well, it's obvious from others' comments that maybe there is an error, or maybe not, so I'm going with 'if you can't see it from the back of a galloping steed at 20 paces' it isn't there! Your dessert sounds wonderfully delightful, enjoy your dinner date with your kiddos!

Betty said...

I think I found the so-called error by comparing that block to one of the others. All the blocks are lovely!
Paula Reid is a quilter that uses what she calls the "fluff and stuff" method to handle the bulk of larger quilts. If you are interested, her videos can be found on YouTube.

Quilter Kathy said...

Nope... no error there! Or maybe I have had too much wine to be able to see it!
Thanks for linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching!

WoolenSails said...

Your blocks are wonderful and I love how you did the quilting, that is a fun idea for the design.

Debbie

claudia said...

When my girls were little, so long ago, I was having problems with some self esteem issues. I started talking to a therapist and she told me that I was trying too hard to make everything perfect and since I was a human being that would be nearly impossible. She suggested that every project I did from there on out had to have an imperfection built in by me, on purpose. That was the hardest thing I ever tried to do, but now it's really easy for me. I don't even have to think about it anymore. If something is not perfect, I shrug my shoulders and move on. My self esteem still has it's problems, but it's one of my imperfections and I'm good with it now!
I really like your stars. (I know, I said that yesterday too, but I meant it!)

claudia said...

And no...I never did find the imperfection in your embroidery...I didn't look for it too long though.

Brown Family said...

I am glad you did not point out the imperfection. Why draw more attention to something most people would not notice. Your Stars and Stripes are beautiful on the diagonal. I like what you did with the back

Dana Gaffney said...

Nope, I don't see a mistake, but I never look too hard for them. I call them signatures and there are quite a few signatures in my quilts. The stars look great!

Wendy Tuma said...

I love those wine blocks; your stitching is just beautiful. I think I see the mistake, but it is no big deal. Those waving stars are looking really good! Goodness, I think I gained a couple pounds just reading the name of the angel food dessert! Oh wait, it's angel food -- no calories, right?? Anyway, it sounds delicious!

Kate said...

Your wine blocks look great. The quilting is going to work out so well on that quilt. You've probably got it all done by now.

Lyndsey said...

Love the wine blocks and angel food cake..yum I bet that was good.