Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Unfinished projects

No new quilts or cute cat pictures this week, so I thought I'd reprint an essay that appeared in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine a couple years ago. It was for a feature on unfinished projects, something I'm a master of.

A couple years after I began quilting, I met a guy who was sweet and funny and hot, and I had a monumental crush on him. I daydreamed, I blushed, I giggled.

The only stereotypical thing I didn't do was draw hearts with our initials entwined. No, nothing that simple and ephemeral. I was a quilter, after all, so my doodles had a purpose: design a quilt for him.

He was a big guy, so it had to be a big quilt. He was a complicated guy, so it had to be a complicated design with diamonds and set-in seams, both things I'd never tried before. He was a macho guy, so there couldn't be any flowers or curlicues.

Weeks passed without the right opportunity to move from "just friends" to something more, but I forged ahead with the quilt. I acquired yards of beige background fabric, raided my stash for non-floral prints, and began piecing.

Then he broke my heart.

Okay, not really. The infatuation simply faded, and we grew apart. But the quilt remained. And remained and remained and remained.

Every time I went through my UFOs, I hated the complicated beige mess more and more. The finished quilt would be huge, complicated and ugly, and it was all that stupid guy's fault, I thought, quite unfairly. 

Finally, I "finished" it. I returned all the uncut fabrics to my stash, and tossed the pieced sections into the trash, pouring coffee grounds on top, so I couldn't change my mind.

I've finished many quilts in more traditional ways, but throwing that one out was the best possible way to deal with it. Now, instead of associating my one-time crush with drudgery and resentment, I remember him the way he really was: sweet and funny and hot.

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