What Do You Do When It’s Not What You Wanted It To Be?

This seems to be a running theme with me lately: What do you do when it’s not what you wanted it to be? A running theme in Life and in Quilting.

After I finished quilting the center block of the Christmas on the Roundabout Road quilt, I sat back to take an admiring look and found I wasn’t happy with what I had done. I let out a heavy sigh, leading Big Man to inquire, “What?”

“Oh, nothing. I just don’t like what I did.”

He came into the room to have a look see, “Huh. So why did you do it that way then?”

I threw an evil look his way and answered, “Because I was really hoping I could eff it up, that’s why.”

Ouch. Oh yeah. He walked away. I get to feel like a grumpy witch. WTHeck.

On my prayer blog this morning I talked about how we share our stories with each other, our disappointments, our failures. I quoted John O’Donahue, author of Anam Cara: “Your identity is not equivalent to your biography.”

It makes me wonder, am I only as good as my last stitch? Surely not. And I have a pretty firm “don’t rip it unless you really really really have to policy” so…now what? Let it sit? See if it grows on me?

My friend and guide, Diane, this morning in her blog post titled To Change or not to Change said:

“. . .if we could actually see and accept ourselves as we are without always wishing we — or our lives — were different, then we would pay more attention to the task at hand instead of wishing or worrying. And wouldn’t that make us more effective?” -Diane Walker, Contemplative Photography

I have a lot of quilts to make. What I mean is, I have a lot of quilts to give, to create, do I want to spend my time wishing my quilts were different? Ripping out stitching? Living in disappointment? Or do I move on, carry on, leave the seam ripper in the drawer and accept my stitches as they are — accept ME as I am?

Anyway, as Big Man (brave man!) ventured as he was heading out of the room, “It’s not supposed to be perfect, it’s art.”


~ by Kimberly Mason on October 6, 2009.

13 Responses to “What Do You Do When It’s Not What You Wanted It To Be?”

  1. I’m not a quilter, so I’m not qualified to offer a technical opinion – but I think it’s beautiful! I’m sorry you don’t like it…

  2. That’s a hard one. It’s so pretty, but if it’s not pretty to YOU… I think that’s when you give it away anonymously. Is that weird? These are the ones (I’ve done this with a couple of knitting projects lately) that I pass on sort of invisibly to Goodwill or ARC or church auctions, because I know someone will be thrilled with them, but I’m not really interested in claiming responsibility for them because … well… they just don’t really represent me.

    But I don’t give them up without staring at them for a long time first, so I can (a) see how I really feel about them and (b) figure out what I don’t like (so I don’t do it again) and (c) decide whether I want to try tackling the same project again in a different way. It’s true of quilts as it’s true of jobs and relationships or a walk in the jungle: sometimes we have to stop and give our souls a chance to catch up…

    By the way — the color scheme would have made it a perfect entry for the Ubuntu exhibit… But you know me — I’m a blue/green/teal/purple sort of person.

  3. I just read what Joyce wrote today; check out her poem — it’s totally relevant to this post!

    • Ah ah! Okay, I get it. I think, like you mentioned the colors, these aren’t my usual choices either! SO, it’s no wonder I have trouble with this, I’m trying to force myself to be what I ain’t. AND when I squiggled the quilting line around the circle, I was busy “letting it flow”. Strange feeling for me, to be sure. So here is my solution: I’m just going to let it go and let it flow.

      Thanks be to Good Friends and New Friends!

  4. Sorry, meant to put in the link:


  5. Maybe that’s it! It just isn’t your favorite colors? The pattern is beautiful, the design creative, but the “thing” that you don’t like is the color combination? The quilt is perfect, and someone will absolutely LOVE it. :c)

  6. You know, we are not supposed to be absolutely smitten with everything we make — if we were, then there wouldn’t be that OH MY feeling when we make something we really, really, love. I’m presently working on a quilt for my grandson and it is just an ordinary quilt; I’m not excited about it, but I’ll finish it and give it to him and he’ll be pleased. And then I can get back to something that does excite me. All of that being said, I’m not working as quickly or as faithfully on this quilt as I do when I’m captivated by my project. Your piece is right nice, and somebody would be very pleased to have and use it. Perhaps it is time for a give-away?

  7. Been there. I sooo know the feelings you describe. There are times when I preach when I intend to convey a certain message and fail, according to my intent, to hit the mark. I stew, thinking that my weekly opportunity to offer spiritual food has spilled onto the floor. And then someone will tell me that it spoke to them, or that it was what they needed to hear, or that they had never looked at something the way I described it. So I have come to learn this: whatever we intend, when it leaves our hands (or mouth) it no longer belongs to us. It will speak to someone and be just what they need, just what they’re looking for, just right. If it isn’t right for me, I am one person, but if it is right for ten others? That is a gift to the universe. God works in the broken places, not that what you have created is broken, but a part of the dream you had for the creation is. Allowing God to work in and through our disappointment is the gift we receive. Sorry if this sounds preachy.

  8. I LIKE it. I like the colors. Just because it’s not what you wanted it to be, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t what someone else wants it it be. It’s OK to say “well, I might not do it that way again”, but not worth self flagellation (grin). A quilter friend of mine once said “done” is better than “perfect”. Good luck putting THAT into practice!

    What if God looked at us that way? How many of us are the way She would want us to be? Yikes!

    • PURE genius! I’ve got my next blog post title. No wonder Nancy hooked up us with all of us our here! (That Nancy’s pretty smart, eh?)

  9. […] blog post came from a comment by Miss PattiCakes (thanks Pat!) on yesterday’s post What Do You Do When It’s Not What You Wanted It To Be?. Here’s what she had to say: “I LIKE it. I like the colors. Just because it’s not […]

  10. Excellent question!

    I admire those who recommend you donate it to Goodwill or the ARC; it’s true that often the piece is quite beautiful and could be treasured by someone who didn’t know how you’d originally intended it to look so doesn’t share your disappointment.

    As for myself, I selfishly keep it. I hang it on the wall in my sewing room and brood over the failure. Eventually I might try to re-work it. If that doesn’t work, and I’ve managed only to make it worse, I hide it away in a far corner, out of sight while I brood over the amount of time I’ve now wasted on it.

    Thank you for your original post and thanks to all who answered. You’re all an inspiration to me.

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