A guest post by Michelle :
Some friends of mine found out I’ve made some quilts and they responded with, “So you’re a quilter?!” Me? I look around the room. Um, no. “But you’ve made quilts?” Yes. “So you’re a quilter?” No. I’m a person who makes quilts. See the difference? Small to some, but big to me. Being “a quilter” implies a slew of things I’m not ready to embrace–like the misnomer that I know what I’m doing and like it’s the one (primary? only?) thing I can achieve. I’m not a quilter.
In my mind, being a quilter means you don’t make mistakes. Real quilters wouldn’t need a seam ripper and their quarter inch seams are always a quarter inch–no more, no less. They’re not lazy (I’m always trying to find a way to skip the pinning process if at all possible) and they always pre-wash (isn’t that what those Shout sheets are for?). I make lots of mistakes. There was one project that I had to rip out so many seams that I wanted to jump off a bridge. Why? Because I thought I could get away with not pinning, that it would be quicker. Rookie mistake or arrogance? Both, maybe. But I paid dearly.
The project was in the homestretch and I couldn’t make it work with the errors that I
encountered created. I didn’t want to finish. I wanted to throw the stupid mess out the window or burn it and roast marshmallows over it. And yet, I couldn’t find my way to destroying the blasted thing either. I’m learning that to embrace something that has mistakes that just can’t be fixed is just as admirable (I hope) as creating something flawless. Creating something flawless is admirable. I strive for it. But embracing what is takes courage and that’s the kind of person I want to be–courageous. So I have to live that out everywhere, including in making. Am I right?
Because making isn’t just about the end product. It’s about the process, too, and that’s just as important, just as substantial.
By the way, it was nice meeting you all. Jenny invited me to share a few thoughts here, and I’ve really enjoyed my visit. ~Michelle