One of the up sides to life in the "second half", is self-awareness. I've had 50+ years to get to know myself - what I like, what I can do, what I want to do . . . And sometimes that includes knowing when and what to give up.
I began quilting in 2002 - starting by hand piecing and quilting a small wall-hanging from a kit. There was a stretch in there, when I was working at the library and had kids in high school, that I didn't sew a stitch for five years. I picked it back up about three years ago. I have made a dozen lap-size quilts, a couple doll quilts, and a bargello wall hanging that I adore. I have my first full-size (queen size) quilt in progress and actually nearing completion of the top, if I would find time to work on it.
I've posted lately about making the "world's wildest quilt" from fabric my daughter selected. The body of the quilt top is finally assembled - but not easily. I have sewn and "un-sewn" the blocks so many times that some of the seams were coming loose along the edges, requiring some re-stitching. Even with my most cautious seam ripping, some edges began to fray, keeping points from lining up precisely. By the time I got it assembled this afternoon, my frustration level was high and I wasn't doing my best work. I just wanted it done! And that's when it hit me . . . This is not my thing.
Don't misunderstand, I love to sew. And I enjoy cutting and piecing the occasional quilt block. But I do not enjoy assembling intricate blocks and I do not enjoy the repetition of making dozens and dozens of the same block. And I really, strenuously* do not enjoy juggling yards of fabric through my trusty Kenmore machine. I much prefer smaller projects that I can finish and move on.
Why did it take me all those years to figure it out? Because I wanted to BE a quilter. I wanted to be part of the quilt-iverse; to speak the lingo and visit the wonderful shops and buy beautiful fabrics. I wanted to be in the Quilter Club with these women and their beautiful creations.
But today I realized how silly that is, so . . . I quit. I am focusing on sewing small projects and having fun. I will no long try to deceive myself - or anyone else - that I am a "quilter". But here's the best part - - I'm ok with that. I can still appreciate the quilts others make, and maybe adapt their ideas into smaller versions. I can still spend hours browsing through a quilt shop. I can still buy beautiful fabrics and make beautiful creations. And if I stick to creating things I enjoy, I can do it well.
* This is a reference to a line from the movie A Few Good Men - Demi Moore's character "strenuously objects" during one of the courtroom scenes. It's a favorite phrase at our house.
This is the wild quilt top so far. I'll post more about it when it's done - including a close-up of the fabrics. The magenta fabric (in the top left block) has elephants on it, and the orange-ish looking fabric is actually magenta with neon yellow squares. The border and backing are two more wild fabrics. And yes, the arrangement of blocks isn't exactly what I intended, but by the time I noticed it I would rather have set fire to it than take it apart one more time.