Wasn't this quilt finished back in December? Wasn't this project declared closed 6 months ago?
Short answer: No.
Emergence is a quilt I started last September which was designed to combine elements of a terrible dark quilt called Sinkhole and a bright, beautiful goddess design called Emergence. Today I'm taking a look back at this quilt and the reasons why I slapped it on the wall unfinished in the middle of the night in the dead of winter and have mostly hated it ever since.
Yep, this is one of my emotional, TMI posts so if you'd rather not read on, please feel free to catch up on your modern quilt project today instead!
So why have I hated this quilt?
Way back in September when I was planning this quilt, I made one serious mistake: I rushed the design.
Rather than stand back and allow ideas and plans to flow, rather than test some samples of fabric and thread, rather than challenge myself with new techniques, I instead rushed the process.
I'm not sure what I was in such a giant hurry for. Maybe I was in a hurry to learn this lesson!
Because this quilt has been a very big lesson. Looking at it on my wall every single day for every single meal (it hung in my dining room), by now I've pinpointed exactly what I don't like about this quilt:
#1 - The goddess - she was meant to be the brightest, most beautiful goddess emerging from that sinkhole of darkness. However, without a sample to test thread color, she ended up bleeding into the background. Even stitched in light silver thread, the big feathers that fill her body are simply not as dense as the heavy quilting filler designs around her.
Her face is the only area the really shows up well, which is unfortunate because I wasn't brave enough to stitch in her actual face (eyes, mouth, nose), so she's more of a feathered monster than anything else.
In truth, this goddess should have been appliqued. Her body and her hair should have been appliqued to the surface of the quilt before quilting so she would have actually shown up after all that thread was stitched on the surface.
#2 - the background - Another rushed aspect of this design was the background. Yes, I fiddled with the design a bit, but for fear of distracting from the goddess, I didn't fill up the background with motifs and designs. Instead it's wide open, stitched to the hilt, and personally I find it very boring.
About the only thing I actually like on this quilt is the Sinkhole and the Sun, which are two polar opposites. The sun admittedly does need work. The rays really do need to be secured down to the surface so they don't flop about.
Looking at all these complains, you might be wondering if it wouldn't be easier to just start over from scratch.
But here's another lesson that I'm learning from this quilt: it's one thing to not like something, to feel unsatisfied by the finished quilt. It's another thing to be ready to do something about it. Not scrap it and start from the beginning, but a willingness to return to the problematic quilt itself, to rip and stitch, and take the time required to make it right.
Way back at the end of December, I knew I wasn't satisfied with this quilt. I sat on the couch for several days hand stitching the binding and mostly felt apathy for this project.
So in the middle of the night, with the binding only half finished, I hung it on the wall. I had a feeling that night that it wouldn't come off the wall until I was ready to fix the issues that bothered me, and I left it unfinished so I would have to come back to work on it some day.
It may be that I needed these 6 months, that I needed distance from this project and all that it represents.
In a purely symbolic way, this quilt represents my emergence from my past: from my abusive childhood and the three people - my mother and two sisters - who made me feel stupid, worthless, ugly, and unwanted.
It is the feeling of being unwanted that has been the hardest to overcome. I was the third mistake, the icing on the cake, between two people that should never have stayed together for 30 years. I was not looked for, sought out, or wanted. I was a mistake.
While this may seem like a simple, silly thing to worry about, it has caused me to question my right to exist. It has never helped that I grew up with three abusive women who never missed a chance to put my unwantedness into clear perspective.
But recently my perspective has started to change. Maybe it's having 2 years of space from those who hurt me. Maybe it's my dedication to yoga and living in the present. Or maybe I'm just tired of trying to prove my worth and I'm finally ready to accept a new line of thinking.
Because that's something I've learned: you can change your thoughts. You can decide to stop thinking a certain way, to make up your mind in another direction, and to let go of the negative thoughts that dig and destroy.
Last night I thought about Emergence and what this quilt is meant to represent and I returned to that feeling of stubborn dissatisfaction.
But this time rather than allow that feeling to depress me, I asked myself one question "What can you change about this quilt so you will like it again?"
What can you change? What can be ripped out or stitched over? Can anything be done to improve this situation?
Six months ago, tired and frustrated, my answer would have been no. No, I'm tired. No, I don't want to work on this any more.
Today, however, I'm not tired, I'm not frustrated. I'm not even angry at this quilt for not living up to my expectations.
Instead, I feel energized and excited - I have the power to change this quilt. I have the skill to rip out stitches, to applique new fabric over the surface, and to quilt it again if that's what's needed. I have the ability to turn this project around and create something I'm proud of.
So maybe this was all meant to happen. Maybe this is what Emergence is all about: a lesson to change my thinking, and from that simple alteration, to find the space and ability to restitch my world.
Let's go make something beautiful today,