I scrolled through my Facebook feed last week, like I do every couple of days, and I saw the usual parade of puppies, kids, and restaurant plates, with the occasional quilt for good measure.
Then I saw this.
It was posted by a graphic designer friend of mine. While working on a file for one of his clients, he noticed that things were slightly askew. He was lamenting the lack of perfect alignment, but me, I was captivated by the slightly off-kilter bits. Coupled with the cool, soothing color palette, I found everything about it completely enchanting.
While my daughter found the misaligned part of the image maddening to look at, it just drew me into its magic spell and I immediately saw a quilt in it.
Speaking of magic, I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately.
A couple of weeks ago I just happened to be online in the right place at the right time and I won a personally dedicated copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book “Big Magic.” I was never really drawn to her first book, “Eat, Pray, Love,” but I do enjoy following her online and learning about her creative process. So when I found out I’d won her new book, I was really excited. And then I found out that due the size and scope of her current book tour, she’s not doing any book signing when she speaks. You can purchase a signed copy at her talk, sure, but the books are all pre-signed with just her signature.
But mine, because I happened to win it from a friend of Liz’s, was dedicated just to me. Swoooooooon!
I’ve been reading that book the past week and I’m really, really enjoying it. You can imagine what it’s about just by looking at the cover – getting past fear and other roadblocks that hold us back from doing the creative work that calls to us. And of course, letting go of the idea that our creative work has to be, or even should be, perfect – because the concept of perfect is only a barrier to creativity. It does not serve us in any way. Let that shit go!
So when I saw the very imperfect graphic that my friend was working on and it was that very imperfect nature of it that I found so captivating, I knew I had to do something with it.
Within three days of spotting that image, I turned it into an art quilt.
This little quilt was such a joy to work on. I struggled a bit with the color palette, trying to stay true to the original image yet also work with fabric that I had on hand. I went with three cotton solids and some natural linen.
The piecing was simple, obviously, and the quilting was so much fun! I used a technique called matchstick quilting where the sewn lines are very close to each other. It was fun to put the first set of lines down, then subdivide them, then subdivide them again, then put in random accent lines. Really, it was very satisfying doing something on pure impulse!
Of course I think it was probably so much fun because this is a small wall quilt – it’s about 13” x 16” – all those tiny matchstick quilting lines would undoubtedly been a lot more tedious on a bed sized quilt!
The quilt came out nearly identical to how I imagined it (I’d hoped it would be a bit bigger, but I was limited by the size of my fabric scraps), and what I love the most about it is that it’s imperfect by design. It makes you wonder to yourself “I think she planned it that way? But I’m not entirely sure.”
Which is absolutely fine with me.
I named this quilt “There’s No Magic in Perfection” because I was inspired by the “Big Magic” book and by the fact that I was so drawn into my friend’s image – the one he was trying to fix and make perfect.
Sometimes not fixing things is definitely the way to go!