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Friday, November 12, 2010


There is something you should know about me. I make mistakes in quilting. Big ones, and here I am, writing about it like a teacher with my "red pen." I do make darn good binding, and our guild raffle quilt even won a ribbon once because my binding tipped the scale. But, if I were to evolve as a quilter, there would be a seam ripper on the end of my finger. Alas, there is not. However, I have accepted the inevitable need to rip, or un-sew, or frog if you're a knitter, which I also am. In fact I embrace the need to rip, or correct mistakes in whatever project I'm working on. I am not perfect; I believe that nobody is but God. I am just a person who cares. I care enough to rip. My mother taught me to garment sew when I was twelve and she taught me to rip. As I recall the experience, I should kiss her feet and send her roses, (or more practically, a ham,) to thank her for her patience. Without it, I would not be able to convey any good stories or wisdom about any kind of needlework, let alone quilting techniques! Like the rest of us, she hated ripping. I even knew her to say bad words when she had to rip. "That is going to take so much time to fix!" But she would do it. She had and still has, at age 80, the patience of a saint.  

If you are going to be good at something, you must be humble. Do I sound humble here? In rereading this, perhaps, no, having tooted my horn about the quality of my binding. I am confident in my abilities and I know my strengths and weaknesses. But none of that matters because inevitably, I find myself reaching for the seam ripper again and again. In fact, I got so annoyed with my ADHD self that loses and misplaces everything, that I just had to figure out a place to put that seam ripper where I wouldn't lose it. (No, I didn't attach it to the end of my finger.) I put it on the side of my sewing machine with a little thingy called a gripper. I bought it at Wal-Mart or Target in the checkout lane. They come in a three-pack. It sticks VERY FIRMLY to whatever you touch it to, so put it where the heck you want it, the first time. I was lucky. I got it right. This little thing grips a pen or pencil to the dashboard of your car as well, or whatever you need - a pen by the phone, etc. But I've found it most useful on the end of my machine, near the wheel. It is in a place where I can still fit the large hard-side cover onto my machine. I do have to remove the seam ripper first, but for as often as I use the hard cover, that is not bothersome, as my machine stays uncovered 98% of the time.
Every time  I sew, I see that little seam ripper/gripper sitting there. It is not a sign of foreboding or sign of weakness. It is a comfort to me, that reassures me that it is okay to make mistakes. Make some yourself. Make big ones. I have made some doozies! It always leads somewhere. There are some very serendipitous quilts in my pile, all because of some silly mistake I made, and thank goodness. Hitting a wall in the maze forces you to go in some other direction. Sometimes you can retrace your steps and get right back where you were; sometimes not... You have to find another way. That is a great thing; it stretches out those underused brain muscles. When I finally get to the end of a project that has given me unexpected challenges, I am better, I am humbled and I am grateful.


Maxi Fortend said...

(or more practically a ham...) Yeah, you crack me up, girl! I have a little ripping project sitting on my couch right now waiting patiently for me!

Nutmeg Quilts said...

I'm so glad someone thought my ham comment was funny. Thanks!