Now speaking of fear, it's time for me to bite the bullet and admit something I've been far too afraid to say for far too long:
I'm not happy with my quilt.
This is a super hard thing to admit because as the leader of this project, even though I'm not doing a paint-by-numbers quilt along, I still feel pressure to show everything perfectly, as though I have it all figured out, in a solid plan that can be explained in bullet points step by step.
But this isn't that sort of project! It never was supposed to be that kind of project! I'm supposed to make mistakes!
This project is all about finding NEW ways of doing things: new designs, new techniques, new colors, new spontaneity of creative process.
But trying new things doesn't always look good. Sometimes it looks messy and chaotic, which is why I'm struggling to even look at this quilt right now. It feels like a mess!
I also have to admit that I've never tried making multiple versions of a goddess before, so while I know in my heart I can always make another one and likely will end up with 3 or 4 finished quilts by the end of the year, my brain is still screaming that I suck and this quilt is a total failure.
Okay. Breathe. I am enough. I can fix this.
I could lie and hide the fact that this quilt is upsetting me. I could continue to stitch pretty things on Duchess Reigns, but that would be avoiding a very big elephant in the room, and my goal this year was not to make any more UFOs. I must finish what I have started, which means fixing what bothers me, and that always starts with just being honest and admitting This Bothers Me.
So how do you do this? When I finally got up the guts to be honest, I had to ask myself that very question - How do I fix what bothers me in this quilt?
And that lead perfectly into Step 1 - Identify what is wrong.
I can't fix anything until I know exactly what is the problem. If I stumble blindly into this, I could easily make the quilt look worse and wind up hating it even more.
So to identify the problem, I shot that picture above and printed it out and every time I was sitting down on the couch, riding in the car, making dinner, I'd pull out the picture and STARE at it.
I've been avoiding this quilt for weeks so this wasn't very comfortable. Every time I looked at it, my brain would first want to berate me for all my mistakes and the failure of the project.
But very quickly I found that both tiresome and pointless. Beating myself up isn't going to make this better! I forced myself to just ask the simple question over and over: what is wrong?
And surprisingly quickly I got an answer! I think I carried the photo around for about 8 days, but I had a pretty clear idea of what the major issues were in 4.
#1 - I don't like the words. I love their meaning and I definitely want words in my quilt, but these aren't working for me. They're too big, and because they twist around with the swirling "breath" areas they're very hard to read, which defeats the point of them being there in the first place.
#2 - I need to fill the orange rays. All those large empty spaces are bothering me. We need more fills in these spaces so the background is complete.
#3 - I want less chaos and more color. I don't know exactly how I'm going to achieve this, but I do see a need for more bold color to balance out the multiple thread colors I used in the background.
So that's really it! 3 issues, and honestly not very big issues are what's causing my bad attitude about this quilt. Now that I know the problem, finding a solution will be a lot easier.
But getting here - getting to this point of understanding and accepting the problem was uncomfortable. Sitting with that photo, staring at it, trying to figure out exactly what was wrong with it - that wasn't much fun, but it was a necessary step and it allowed me to break out of this rut.
And just in case I wasn't clear in how to bust out of a rut above, here's a short video on it as well:
I must say there's something cathartic in admitting I make mistakes in this video! It's important for you to realize that this year is a big learning experience for me as well, and this isn't going to be the only time I make mistakes.
But the one thing I don't want to do is to rip out my mistakes.
I have 2 lines of words thread painted into my quilt. At this point ripping out this stitching would take hours and hours of time, and that would be a total waste of effort in my opinion because the fabric probably won't stand up well to the abuse.
Also these words are so wonderful and powerful. Stitching them felt wonderful, but ripping would feel very bad. So rather than rip a single stitch, I'm going to investigate ways of covering these sections instead of ripping.
But first, let's finish up these orange background sections! I have a few new designs in mind for these spaces that will be fun to learn in the coming week.
So here's to imperfection! I've made mistakes, but we will learn so much more in fixing them than we ever would have if I'd just shoved this quilt on a shelf and walked away from it.
Let's go quilt,