This is the 10th part in an ongoing series of essays responding to Weeks Ringle’s post called QuiltCon Homework. Read my last essay at discussing the concept of “encourage.”
Weeks writes ” Have fortitude to follow all the way through on an idea, even when you stumble and are tempted to give up.”
It is hard to keep going on a project. We all get stuck or stumped or don’t have enough fabric. That line about not having enough fabric being a design challenge and not a crisis makes me crazy sometimes when all I want is that one last quarter yard to so I can finish my project.
For a long time, I kept leaping around to different projects. I was excited about new blocks and art quilt concepts new techniques I had learned in workshops. This was all great, but I was also not really finishing those projects where I had gotten stuck or where my attention had wandered. You can see my languishing projects on my 26 projects list.
I have to say, though that I have been quite thrilled when I have finished an old project. Sending a back and top off to be quilted or finished the binding on a project I started in 1997 is a thrill. It is a good feeling to know that a 10 year old project can be salvaged. It is nice to know that I have less guilt about my UFOs.
Design challenges have the word ‘challenge’ in them for a reason. If you run out of that 5 year old fabric, you are faced with never seeing that quilt on your wall or bed or trying something else. Having fortitude to work through the challenges of a project make you a better quiltmaker.
Having fortitude can also mean you face reality and abandon a project.
If you want to make quilts out of 6″ squares for the rest of your life, that is absolutely fine. More power to you. You still need to have fortitude. You need to have fortitude to not let the parameters you have set for yourself weigh you down.
If you decide to make a hand pieced Mariner’s Compass quilt with a Double Wedding Ring border, your need to have fortitude comes a lot sooner in the process. You have to power through difficult piecing challenges that will continue through the project.
At the end of the day, regardless of your skill level, the difficulty of the pattern you choose, or the time you have to devote to quiltmaking, you need fortitude. You need fortitude to power through design challenges. You need fortitude to deal with a precocious kid with scissors, lack of time, depression, not enough fabric and a multitude of other situations that could completely derail your quiltmaking adventure.
You also need fortitude when you consciously want to extend your reach in the quiltmaking world. If you decide to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt, you need fortitude through all steps, even if you never finish it, because it is a difficult project. difficult projects should not discourage you. Yes, you will curse and rip out stitches, but you will also learn and be proud.
Quiltmaking should be fun. If you are not having fun, ask for help. There are lots of people around (LQS, Twitter, FB, church quilt groups) that would be happy to help you. Just ask. Have fortitude and just ask. You can do it.
Image courtesy of the Modern Quilt Studio