In Praise of Disasters


I’ve decided to share something with you all and let me tell you it has taken more than a little courage. I much prefer to show those nice little things I can feel at least a modicum of pride over. But here it is (in all its ugly glory) my first ever attempt at patchwork!!

Probably some time around 2002, I had taken an interest in my friend Carol’s foray into the world of quilting and as she would bring around her newly acquired fabric and waft it under my nose, I had the overwhelming urge to rush out and buy some for myself. So off I went to the local Lincraft Store and bought a very un-thought out bundle of fat quarters and whisked them back home as fast as I could.

Of course the sensible thing would have been to receive some form of instruction and buy some basic equipment such as: ruler, rotary cutter and cutting mat and choose a nice simple project such as squares. Possibly also get some advice on tonal balance, scale of pattern etc. but pffffft to all that preparation malarky. I had seen a picture I liked of an attic-window quilt and that was enough for me. So off I set with a pair of scissors, an old crappy sewing machine and no idea that a 1/4 inch seam, actually means that the seam has to be 1/4 inch (not just there-abouts!) and here is the marvellous result:

First effort!

I keep it well out of sight but can’t quite bring myself to get rid of it. If anything its quite good to be able to look back and say “well at least i’ve made progress!” and there is something about the memory of the unbridled enthusiasm I felt at the outset of going out to choose fabrics for my first ever patchwork project that comes back to me every time I look at it so I think it will stay tucked away at the bottom of the drawer and I’ll just take a fond (if slightly cringing) peek at it every now and then.

I was reminded of this ‘unbridled enthusiasm’ thing recently when I read a post on the happy zombie’s blog. She shared a story of the gingerbread man she made out of felt when she was in brownies as a child and how the end result just didn’t live up to expectations!! I have put a link to it here and would urge you to take a look because it just makes me smile every time I think of it!

So here’s to all our little disasters and lets try to keep some fondness for them and not beat ourselves up too much!

17 responses »

  1. Well, one person’s ugly is another person’s interesting, modern or vintage etc. This project was definitely worth doing because you learned so much from it 🙂 I have never done attic windows because of the mitred seams. They look so difficult! Avis x

  2. Oh how wonderful to read that you had a disaster too and were willing to share. I thought I might be the only one. At least yours was at the outset of your quilting pastime, I have had disasters since then! It is so true that we learn from our mistakes. I think you were so brave tackling patchwork with none of the usual pieces of quilting equipment that seem to be necessary for accurate work. My biggest difficulty with patchwork is the combination of colours and patterns. I am still learning on that front.

    You should congratulate yourself on the fact that you now produce beautiful work after a shaky start.

    • Thank you Heather! Not sure if I was brave so much as naive(?) – I do have a tendency to want to run before I can walk and most of the boo boo’s I make now are due to the fact that I want to rush ahead and get things finished. I really appreciate your comment – thanks 🙂

  3. Love your post. If we didn’t try, we wouldn’t learn. Patchwork is too ‘precise’ for me. I’m more a run that walk girl and change what I’m doing at the drop of a hat. I admire your ability to finish large projects too. Looks great as a first project to me.

  4. Your post really struck a chord with me. I have a bag of “I tried” samples of all sorts waiting for the day when I can think of something to turn them into. I’ve just finished my first double quilt, maybe a bit ambitious for my level of skill and I am with craftythifterinnz… maybe patchwork is too precise to me…. but maybe I am getting the bug!

  5. I think we can all relate. Most (if not all) of us have a similar “project” tucked away somewhere. I’m sure you’ll think of a creative way to use your “disaster” and turn it into a success. I’m looking forward to reading about it in one of your upcoming posts. 🙂

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