One of the driving goals behind the development of Beacon was to think about the meaning and story behind choices that are made in quilt design. Specifically, I created a very minimal design to help focus on the story of color in a quilt. However, as I have been working to piece my version of the quilt, another story is emerging centering around precision.
I am a very detail oriented person, and when I worked in engineering as a structural analyst, I felt a lot of conflict surrounding the precision of my work. I often desired to spend more time refining my work, but I tried to balance programmatic and business needs to do work that was timely. Finding the balance of “good enough” was a frequent topic of conversation, except when the precision of my work was critiqued or called into question because data I was presenting was undesirable or in conflict with schedule, budget, or other goals. One of my mentors once told me, “No one believes the analysis except the analyst. Everyone believes the experimental (test) data except the test conductor.”
You have probably noticed my tendency to lean toward accuracy and perfection in my quilting. However, quilting has really been a fantastic outlet for me creatively, and I actually purposefully try to be less structured and rigid in my piecing. In fact, I very rarely use pins when I sew seams. When a seam is really poorly aligned as a result, I will occasionally need to pull out my seam ripper, but in general, I do kind of wing it a bit when it comes to piecing accuracy. Seriously! You know I’m not a devout paper piecer (hello perfection alert!), and I just admitted I don’t pin my seams. I sweat the details, but I have been trying to learn what “good enough” for me in quilting means.
Which brings me to piecing Beacon. The sharp contrast in the colors of this quilt, and the minimal use of piecing and blocks in the design have been begging me to aim for precision in my piecing in a way that I have not felt before. I feel like I have ripped almost every seam and resewn them (sometimes multiple times) as I have been working on this quilt. And as I was doing so, I started to hear a voice in my head telling me that it was good enough and to let it go. So after a while I stopped and just sewed it all together.
But every time I came back and saw how it came together, I was disappointed.
So I decided to revel in the joy of making things exactly as I think they should be done, and I am trying to smash the voice in my head trying to tell me leave it be, that it is “good enough”. Because I can choose to make things exact, and it is my time to do with as I wish, and I can do what I want, darn it.
And I am happy that I decided to re-sew a seam to get the orange and white beacon point centered above the piecing below it instead of leaving it offset by 1/16th of an inch. Yes!
Have you given yourself permission to do something that brought you satisfaction and joy lately?