Way back when I was a new quilter, I didn't have a lot of money to spend on fabric. But, I was drawn to designer quilting fabrics like a moth to a flame. One fabric line that came out around this time was Freshcut by Heather Bailey. I was obsessed with it!
I bought a half yard of one entire colorway (the peachy one) and it sat on my shelves for a few months before I finally decided on a pattern. I wanted to make a zig zag quilt (they were all the rage at that time). My stash was so tiny, I could only find one other fabric that would go with the Frescut, a light green print by Amy Butler. I had such a fun time cutting up my fabrics to make my zig zag quilt. I paid special attention to the direction of the prints and worked out a way to have each row be a new print (here is the original tutorial).
This quilt was going to be for me (up until that point, I'd given all my quilts away) and it was going to be hand quilted like Anna Maria Horner's zig zag quilt.
And then, like most of the quilts I make for myself, the finished top ended up in a closet for years. Nine years, actually.
Once I rescued the quilt from the closet and ironed it, the basting was fast. Since I was using flannel on the back (Freshcut Flannel...it's SO soft!) I skipped the batting to make this a lighter quilt and to make it easier to hand quilt.
And after hours of hand quilting and hours of hand pain and months of the quilt sitting unfinished in the studio because I didn't want to hand quilt anymore, I decided to just finish up the quilting on the machine.
I worried that I'd be disappointed that I took the fast/easy way out. I almost went back to hand quilting. But I made the right call. In a year, two, twenty, I'm not going to care that this wasn't 100% hand quilted. At least it's finished and I can actually use it.
This was a real moment of growth for me. I'm a perfectionist and I feel no shame in that. I want to do my very best because it makes me happy.
But hand quilting this quilt wasn't making me happy. And I didn't believe that pushing through the pain would be worth being a tiny bit happier with the finished product. I came up with a compromise and it made me happy in a different way.
I believe so much in challenging myself and improving my skills. That's why I'm currently hand quilting another quilt. I don't want to give up on it, I want to find a combination of needle, thread, thimble and hand position that work for me. I won't let it beat me.
But it's about choosing your battles and being happy with the result. And this quilt makes me (and Extra-cat) very happy.