Friday, April 29, 2016

Quilting and repentance

My husband sat down with me several days ago to help me figure out how many more half-square triangles I would need.  So far, none of my calculations have worked out correctly!  In the process, he helped me identify the color pattern on the quilt on Missouri Star Quilt Company's tutorial that made the star and secondary arrow pop into view.  

When I began this quilt, I understood that it was to have a scrappy look and didn't see that the display quilt coordinated the colors in a set pattern.  They separated each star into 4 quadrants with blues in one corner, green in another, coral in another, and purple in the last.  If you follow that pattern, their material listing works perfectly and the quilt will have a cohesive quality.  If you use two main colors, one for the stars and one for the background, it also works, but if you randomly place the colored pieces that coordinate but do not match, the effect will be more confusing and lack continuity.  The stars will not pop out and neither will the arrows.

I had already completed 6 blocks of the Hunter's Star, 3 of the stars facing one direction and 3 facing the other.  I changed how I was placing my pieces and made the next 13 blocks in the 2nd block.  As I completed those, I realized I was down to a very limited number of prints and colors so I could either 1) buy another charm pack to make up the difference or 2) unpick those 6 blocks I had initially completed.  If I chose option 1, I would need to purchase more background fabric as well.  

I began unpicking.

That little white doo-dad has been called a sewist's best friend and her worst enemy.  Friend, because you can fix all wrongs.  Enemy, because there are mistakes that need correction.

I suppose I could have also tried to tuck the confusing blocks in between the cohesive ones and hoped that they would blend into the whole.  After all, I'm giving it away and may never see it again.  On the other hand, I've invested a lot of time and money into this quilt and I'm not happy about not receiving the pleasure of seeing it looking good.

Make no mistake about my quest for perfectionism.  I have plenty of imperfect 1/4" seams and other mistakes, but those do not affect the overall look or functionality of the quilt.  The seams will hold.  It might be slightly more difficult to quilt, but I'll be machine quilting it anyway instead of hand sewing.  Those are not critical errors.  

Mostly though, I want this quilt to represent my love for those whom I am giving the quilt.  They have helped piece my life into a beautiful pattern, through my scrapes and not-as-good decisions.  They helped me continue through hard times like my imperfect seams, and they never stopped loving me.  Sometimes I had to completely change course and do things again--the right way.  For that reason, I'm unpicking these seams so I can have a more beautiful result just as I want to have a more beautiful result to present to my Heavenly Father someday.

Likewise, that's the whole reason for repentance.  We make mistakes, sometimes grievous sins, and we need to take sometimes whole sections of our lives apart and begin again.  In ourselves, we don't have the ability, but with love and support from our families and our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can do it.  We can make a better life.  A happier life.

Amazingly, unlike these quilt pieces that still show tiny holes and pressing marks, our lives can be whole without little holes around the edges.  We are changed, just as my quilt will be changed, but our lives can be made new as if we had not made those errors or committed those sins.  

The answer lies in continuing to reach out to our Lord, Jesus Christ.  There is no other answer and there is nowhere any peace like the one that comes as we reach out to Him.  But as the song, When Someone Cares tells, 

And with God nothing is impossible,
 but you must reach and take his hand.
 With him nothing is impossible.
Those who have ears to hear will understand.
The blind could see, 
The lame man could walk away,
And lives still change from night to day when they know that someone cares
They know that someone cares,  when they know that someone cares.

And so I am continuing to unpick what took a very short time to make in the first place in my incomplete understanding of what I was doing.  

Just like life.  There is always hope, and it is never too late.  However, if I had persisted in continuing with my scrap happy method even after I understood the better way, I would have far more than 6 blocks to unpick and would have spent far more time with my little seam ripper than I ever wish to spend!  Again, so is life.  If we procrastinate changing, the changes become far more painful and difficult to complete.  

It is never too late, but it is also none too soon to begin even if you have to unpick many times over before you learn enough.  But it is in the trying and trying again where we learn and become strong.  Trust God and trust Him again.  He will never leave us even though we often falter in our imperfection.  He knows that and loves us anyway.  As the song teaches though, WE must reach out and take HIS hand.  His hand is already stretched out.

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