I’ve done a bit of reflecting on my longarming. One thing is that I know I have come a long way. This is a quilt that a friend made for another friend’s retirement, and I thought it needed feathers in the border.
And this is another recent quilt, where I added feathers that were a little more whimsical (There are curls on some of the plumes, but they are hard to see).
And here are the feathers on my first feathered quilt. All I can say is thank God for friends who let you practice on their quilts. I remember at the time how proud I was, and now that I’ve improved, I’m completely embarrassed by those same stitches.
The hardest thing about feathers is backtracking over your quilted lines. When I started, I used Sally Terry’s method of making hooks, rather than true feathers (no back-tracking), and over time, I’ve evolved my feather. I still have a vision of what I want my feathers to look like, and although I’m not there yet, I am definitely headed in the right direction.
One thing that I don’t like about longarming for other people is that I don’t know how they feel about my work. Do they look at my stitches and think– Wow, I just paid her to do this, and this sucks. Or do they like it because they don’t know better? Or do they assume that I’ll get better with time and don’t mind that they are in my learning curve? Or worst yet– are they just hiring me to do this because I’m cheap and they want their project done. The thing is, I don’t know if I want the truth. Could I take the truth, if it’s negative, and not let it eat away at me? I guess what I want is for people to see my work before they hire me. I want them to see my quilts and say, Hey, I love the look of that quilting, and I want it on my quilt, too.
A little known fact about me is that I love to write. In fact, In 1998, I moved to the beach to write my novel. I wrote 28 pages that I’ve never let anyone read, and then I stopped. With my writing, I just don’t have the confidence to attempt publication. With my quilting, I don’t have the confidence to have my work critiqued. I have to change this. My job as a teacher is to convince my students that they can triumph. I believe John Grisham’s first novel A Time to Kill was rejected twenty-something times before being published. Harry Potter was rejected that many or more times, too. But a Danielle Wilkes Original? Yeah, I am not sure I could keep trying until I make it.
I saw a quote on The Glossy Project that I love. “She turned her can’ts into cans and dreams into plans.” That’s what I’m trying to do, but fear of disappointing others, which leads to negative self-talk is a real challenge for me. What’s keeping you from being what you want to be?
*Thanks, readers, for being cheaper than therapy. Wait, no, I’m not saying YOU are cheap… just that you don’t charge me for my pity parties (not that being a little cheap every now and then is a bad thing!).