Tag Archives: Perfection

Progress Instead of Perfection

Now that I have a title for my Art for Healing Workshop—Nurture Your Garden— I can start to work on creating examples and the accompanying workbook. This task seems overwhelming especially if I worry about trying to make it perfect.

That reminds me of making my first quilt—a Harley Davidson T-shirt quilt—where I had no idea what I was doing and learned that perfection does not exist. The only thing that made my quilt was slow and steady progress. So, off I headed to the internet for a pattern and to Capital Vac and Sew in Annapolis, MD, who delivered my Pfaff sewing machine with one to one instructions. Did I mention that I didn’t even own a sewing machine when I started this project?

harley t-shirt quilt

Here are some of the mistakes I made that were actually great lessons learned.

  • I cut my T-shirt into 15″ squares BEFORE I ironed on the support interface that makes sewing t-shirt material easier. After ironing, the squares shrunk and I had to recut them all to 14″. Lesson learned? You guessed it, only cut the sleeves and neck band off, then iron on interface before cutting into blocks.
  • My seams did not match up when I added my sashing and cornerstones to my blocks. Some quilters might have taken everything apart to get the seams “perfect” but I was so proud to just finish my first quilt top that I left it alone.  A little secret – my husband didn’t even notice and still enjoys the quilt to this day. Lesson learned? With each quilt, my seams got more “perfect”  because I asked questions from AQG members who had good seam alignment and then I practiced what they did.

As I worked on my quilt over a period of many months, and many trips to Capital Vac and Sew for lessons, I learned that there is a lot more to quilting than just sewing: I had to plan the quilt, determine the accompanying fabric colors, textures and patterns to enhance my T-shirt blocks, cut fabric into specific shapes and sizes, sew the pieces back together into rows, and then into a top that was then added to batting and a back that I needed to quilt. Oh, let’s not forget the binding to finish it off, and a label to identify it for the historian who finds it in 100 years.

I will use these lessons and apply them to developing my Art for Healing workshop, taking it slow and steady to complete first things first.  First, I need to create my Nurture Your Garden collage and then some step by step examples for you to follow. Once I have done that, then I can write up instructions and start putting your workbook together.

Stay tuned for the next blog on my progress!

Robin M. Gilliam
Author of the  novel, Gift of Desperation, a provocative story of art and healing, recovery, and hope and inspiration.