After a couple of crazy-hectic weeks in my sewing room and at my desk (and in the universe), I had a bit of a reality check yesterday morning as I was working on finishing my Peppermint Purple 2020 Sew-along project, soon to be a quilted table runner.
For nearly all my quilty life, I have rallied against the slap-it-on, get-it-done mentality that can rear its head as a long-term project comes to a close.
I get it. There is a saying rolling around out there that 'finished' is better than 'perfect.'
To me finished can imply 'sloppy,' get-it-done, the quicker the better. Perfect implies, detail, correcting course, and time-consuming.
Can finished and perfect go hand in hand?
When you work on a quilty project for a long time, years even, doesn't that project deserve just as much attention when it comes to its completion?
Here's an example of what I mean. 99 Bottles (bottom), from the book, ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One. It took years to piece the 5000+ pieces in the scrappy blocks made from 1" squares (yes, you read that right, 1" squares)
I have to tell you, that by by the time I got to adding the final border to the quilt, I was SO tempted to whack off some pretty fabric for the border, then 'slap' it on the quilt, one side at a time. Done!
But this quilt, I felt, deserved a different finish. A scrappy casual finish to counter the structure of the blocks.
Don't get me wrong, I've done my share of 'slap-on-borders' or fast-finishes when the project called for it. But sometimes, the project wants something else. Something more time-consuming and deliberate.
Quilting is a hobby. Something to savor. Finishing should be a source of joy and excitement, not only a box to check. When the hobby becomes stress-inducing, all kinds of alarms go off inside my brain that urge me to take the chill-pill and listen to what the project wants.
I started the 2020 Peppermint Purple blackwork stitch-along (SAL) not quite a year ago (a second SAL is under way right now, if that kind of thing interests you).
The center is made from 52 different stitchy patterns from each of 52 weeks of 2020. It was a joyful investment of time to stitch.
From the beginning, I knew what fabric I wanted to use for the table runner, even as I only just started to stitch. I adjusted the spaces between stitched blocks to accommodate the Stitchery Crossover technique to create a table runner with quilted and stitched borders. This brown and blue fabric has been in my stash a very long time, waiting for the perfect project to come along. And this was it!
I finished the quilting the other day. I'm really pleased with the results.
With the stitching and quilting done, it came time to whack off the extra batting and backing and slap on a binding.
I've hoarded this precious fabric for years for its perfect-match project.
I stitched, and stitched my way through 2020, savoring every single stitch while glorious travel plans fizzled and unrelenting waves of bad news ensued.
And now, I'm just going to slap on a binding?
I was tempted. I had to walk away. Contemplate my alternatives. Then sleep on it.
Yesterday morning, I dug out the Piping Hot Binding tool - a time-consuming technique to add covered piping to the binding finish. It's fussy, but the result is spectacular, if you take the time to follow the many steps.
I have no doubt that this project deserves this finish.
But it'll take a little extra time.
I'm good with that!
Sharon Stroud says
You go, Joan! I’ve always figured perfect and finished should be considered jointly. Even today, I strive for perfection. My skills are being modified to achieve that. Glad you spoke out about your feelings and others will take more care in “finishing.”