The art of letting go

I found this great retro fabric on the shopping trip I wrote about in my last blog entry .  Since I was a teenager in the 70's, it was love at first sight.  The hounds tooth fabric and the brown outer border fabric were all purchased at the same time, a very happy coincident.   I have made 7 runners over the past 2 weeks in anticipation of the 2 day festival I have had a booth at over the past several years. One month to go and one of those weeks we are going to be vacationing in Santa Fe. YIKES! Lots of work goes into this show since it is the break even point for my business.  I have 5 runners at the Shelburne Arts Co-op on consignment and with the ones made over the past 2 weeks, I would have the 12 I wanted to have in my booth.  I was very happy to be on my last runner!!!  I had the top all assembled and had fused it to the fleece lining, which I was going to use for the batting on this piece, not something I usually do  I took a look at it and was very pleased with the look of the runner and decided HEY, why not do some fancy embroidering in the border all the way around it using contrasting thread.  I have done this before with good results.  It's always comes out nice..  It's one of the perks of having a high quality electronic machine.  Hubris set in when I figured all would go well with a stitch I had never tried before.  The photo on the far left shows just what a pigs breakfast this stitch made on the runner....NOT GOOD!.  AND I did not notice until I was almost 3/4 of the way around that it was such a mess...to the point that no one would want to own this. Since I had already fused the batting onto the back and had sewn through both the runner top AND the fleece, the stitching was very deeply imbedded in it and it would take literally an entire day with a seam ripper to remove the stitching.  Not a real practical plan.  I loved the looks of this runner and I did not want to throw it in the trash heap.

This is not the first time I have blogged about something going wrong. I have realized that the main difference between a professional quilter and a hobbyist who sends a few hours here and there enjoying their craft, is that professionals have made EVERY mistake in the book, over and over again.  The question always is...can this piece be saved with a reasonable amount of labor or is it a total loss?  If one cannot immediately let go of what ever mistake one has just made and step back from it with the attitude that mistakes happen all the time and move on from it, one cannot do this for a living.  It is called the art of letting go.  One needs to be able to think and not be reacting and I have learned that beating up on myself when I make a mistake will get me no wheres....let it go.  The sooner the better, like within minutes.  Come up with a solution!  No solution? Than accept that it is a total loss and don't spend anymore valuable time on it.  Within minutes, a solution came to me.  There was this other nifty olive fabric I found along with all the others AND I could cover up that nasty stitching by appliqueing strips of that olive fabric over it.  Would I have preferred to not have to do this?  OF COURSE!  The photo in the center is the iron on adhesive on the back of the fabric.  I cut  the 3/4" strips out of it,  ironed it onto the runner and blanket stitched it along the edge of the new border.  The photo on the right is the finished runner.  For a reasonable amount of time (approx. an hour) I was able to save the piece.  You know the old saying...desperation is the mother of invention? That was where I was at.  Resources and time had gone into this and time and time again I have had to come up with a REASONABLE solution to fix a mistake.  It would have taken a whole lot longer than an hour, not to mention the grief involved if I had not embraced the art of letting go.  I try to think of these little disasters as opportunities, of stretching my resourcefulness and practicing the art of letting go.

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