Friday, May 2, 2014

Swap Blocks Finished for Friday

Many years ago, in a conversation with my Daddy, he used the word "different" as a comment about someone. He said that the person we were talking about wasn't better or worse than me, but was simply different.

It was a lesson I carried with me from then until now about not needing to compete to be "number one". Our cultural message about being the best is the one we hear as soon as we start school and start interacting with others. Its as though we are failures if we do less than everyone else. 

We are told how to listen in conversations, how to compete for the attention of our teachers, groups we belong to and even among friends. All that kind of competition erodes our sense of self. 

When Daddy used the word, he let me know that being different didn't mean that I was less than or more than another person. He let me know that it was ok to have my own perspective, my own experience, my own choices and my own outcomes.

From this lesson, I have learned not to rate people in my life, not to say that this is my best friend, or this is the best cup of coffee, or this is the best...of anything. I do my best, but know in my heart of hearts that there is always someone out there who has more education and more experience who, if we were in a competition would show their work and have it look better, even if it wasn't actually their best effort. We never know what is in their hearts.

My swap blocks are finished this morning and ready to ship out. The only thing left to complete is the Summer Mug Rug. I worked on it all day yesterday and after hand quilting it, nothing about it worked for me, so I started over last night.

Two of my swap partners for this month live in Australia, which is a country almost as large as the USA. It takes more than a couple of weeks after posting for the packages to arrive. I am in two of the swaps hosted by the group. These blocks are for the 6" swap. Only two are required, however, they are hard to make & this is my first attempt at doing them. Two blocks are made with the Indian Star, one with the Colorado Star and the most complex of them is the Summer Nights Star. I used the same fabrics for all of them; and yet everything is different and up to interpretation as to what will serve their finishes, and what is not quite what was hoped for. I worked hard to get them to come out good enough for my own comfort. Out of my hands and on their way to Australia.

I am showing one of the 12" blocks for that Christmas Block swap. This pattern is called Card Trick & is one I wanted to try for some time. Its a bit more challenging than one would think but satisfied me with how it looks. I am not posting the second block just yet because the pattern is similar to the Mug Rug I am making for my swap with Rex. 

I also finished the May Calendar block and will not post the pic until Rex receives it. Our swaps are different in this way as we have waited for the photos to keep the surprise.

Last night, I browsed the pictures on Pinterest to get some ideas for Mug Rugs and was overwhelmed by the work. Wow. I started to fall into the cultural trap of comparing my quilting to that of the others shown. I have no idea how long anyone has been quilting, what their quilting skills are or what resources they have for fabric or classes, or how many samples of the work they made before posting that one photo.

I scared myself in the darkness of the night into thinking I was not good enough to make a small 7x11 Mug Rug. The cut and pinned pieces are sitting by my machine this morning for another attempt. I am determined to do my personal best, and it will be enough.