Don’t exceed your grasp
The past few years I have been working on improving my free motion quilting. It has been a journey and one I have not finished yet. I will know I have “arrived” as a free motion quilter when I can do feathers.
What are feathers? they are the utmost in elegance when machine quilting. I practice and practice so that one day I can make them myself. Here are a two samples I found on the web about feathers. There are plenty of pics out there, I even made a board for them on my Pinterest account.
But the thing is, they take practice and practice before perfecting.
One of the things I learned when working on my machine quilting was to make sure you have control of what you are sewing on. When I was using my little Magnolia Janome, that meant putting a table behind the sewing machine and a tv tray beside it to support the quilt. But, I just did not “get it” yet and would end up with sharp points and jagged lines where I had lost control and the quilt would pull out of whack. I was moving the quilt beyond what I could handle. Beyond my grasp one would say.
It got so bad, that one time I sewed the sleeve of my shirt onto my quilt. I just did not want to turn loose of the quilt and adjust my grip on it so I had my arm fully extended through the throat of the machine. It was kind of shocking to sit there and watch that needle go through my sleeve. Then, I was kind of stuck. I could not take the shirt off, I could not remove my arm from the sleeve and so I sat until I realized that no one was going to come and rescue me. I had to use my left hand, did I mention it was my right arm that was stuck in the sewn sleeve? Anyway, I had to use my left hand to try and cut the sleeve loose. Choosing between cutting the sleeve and the quilt, of course I chose the sleeve. It was a worn out shirt anyway. I got free, but learned about loose garments and the sewing machine.
My skills have improved now, and I don’t feel the desperate need to hold on the quilt until I could not move it another inch. I’ve learned to just try and control a little bit of the quilt at a time and I get much better results.
Isn’t life a little like that. If we desperately try to control every little thing we end up loosing control and things get damaged or destroyed in the process. It takes maturity and a little trust to let people and situations work themselves out without us trying to control every little part of it. I had to learn how to trust my needle to go up and down and do its thing and just worry about the piece of the quilt that was under it at the time. I could not control the whole quilt, I had to just concentrate on just that part of it that needed my attention.
In my life, I have had to learn how to just let some things go and not worry about them. That does not mean that I wash my hands of the situation, or that I remove myself, it just means that I should just enjoy myself and let others do their job and handle their own responsibilities.
Of course, I am still learning how to let go. It probably is one of those things that we all will struggle with for our entire lives. Once in a while I just need to step back and give myself a talking to about it.