Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Ramblings of a Mother on her Alleged Day

I have held back writing a post the last few days.  It's not that I haven't had things to say (or vent), but I have figured that my readers are mostly like myself.  I like to go to blogs to see quilting inspiration, not a hot-headed and frustrated person blabbing about how horrible things are right now.  Am I right?

Well given that this is my so-called holiday, I figure I am due.  In my defense, I have had week for the record books as far as quilting issues go.  Without all the throws that kids give you, the stress of my quilting week would have driven many a girl nuts.  To sum it up, my next show quilt which I foolishly have already submitted to 2 shows late this summer, had the dyes bleed during the blocking process.  They bled and bled and freakin bled.  And then there was the rust from the pins I used to cover all the fabrics with 96 color catchers.  Like anything much else could go wrong.  On the 3rd time I blocked the quilt, which in and of itself is an hour process that puts sores on the tips of my fingers, the next day when the quilt was mostly dry, I discovered a powdery residue from the laundry detergent.  I sent the quilt through 2 wash and rinse cycles, and reblocked.  The next morning, I STILL found freakin residue in a few places.  I treated these with the quilt on the boards, repinned the section and agreed with the gods that I'd toss the quilt in the trash if I saw residue the next day.  That was yesterday.  Now, all the stain stick usage and washing with oxyclean has obviously faded the once bold colors of the batiks a little, but today, with no obvious residue, I can agree to live with the new colors the quilt has.  Afterall, only I really know how bright and vibrant it was.  It still has immaculate piecing, and an original design.  The quilting is about as good as I am capable of.  I spent about 350 hours on this quilt.  I hated resolving that I would toss it if it didn't come clean.  I think I can live with it at this point.  I guess I have to.  Am I right?

This is Mother's Day.  My 10th Mother's Day.  I remember the first, holding a 2 month old baby, and thinking it doesn't get any better than this.  I was right.  Two more kids have come, and I wouldn't change that, ever.  I don't really like kids, that's no secret, especially other people's kids.  I'm not fond of a herd of kids all in my front yard.   But there is something comforting about my own.  Something happy and familiar.   Even with the good days, kids challenge my sanity and need for order on a daily basis.  It has been a hard and stressful 6 months.  Many a day I have questioned why I wanted to be a mother.  I have a 7yr old that has some behavioral challenges.  He's very easy frustrated, and is the picture of defiant.  We've taken him to any and all doctors and specialists that have agreed to see us in the last 6 months.  To our pleasant surprise, he finally got a Rx for an ADHD medicine 2 days ago that makes him like a different child.  In December we were told he doesn't fit the ADHD symptoms enough, but it looks like they were wrong.  A child who doesn't misbehave at school is harder to get diagnosed properly.  Hopefully, the rest of his days will go as well as the last 2.  My other 2 kids are what have kept me grounded through everything.  It is hard to pack it up and walk away when the other's are needing your love...when they are giving you love.  It may seem at times as though the kids are tearing your relationship apart, but they are the glue that holds you all together too.   It is that for which I am grateful.

Mid-week, results from HMQS came out.  I hesitate posting this because I know that there are many quilters that will roll their eyes and think I am just the type of person that is never happy.  That is not it whatsoever.  I sent 2 quilts - My Postcards from Venice quilt and Zen Garden.  The latter quilt earned an Honorable Mention at MQX.  I got a call on Wednesday from HMQS saying that I was getting an award.  I was most excited.  She would not tell me anything more.  I found out the next day that it was another stinking Honorable Mention. I know that a ribbon is a ribbon, and I should be pleased and happy.  Most quilts did not get that.  And somewhere inside of me I am happy.  But I am still disappointed.  I am driven to do better, and deep inside I want to.  I was in a funk over this, on top of the quilt bleeding issues.  I really hoped for a better placement.  Secretly, I really want and need some cash.  I want to send my boys to a couple weeks of camp this summer.  Secretly, I needed a better placement to give me confidence that what I am doing as a quilter is right.  I'm mostly over it.  The show is done, and the quilts will be coming home and then off to other shows soon.  I have 2 other quilts at MQS this coming week to worry about  anyways.

The caliber of quilters at the shows is so good.  How quilts place is so dependent on the particular show, who sends quilts, what category it is in, where in the country it is.  Different locations have different apparent preferences for quilt style.  There are many variables; I am starting to learn this.  One quilt may win a ribbon at one show and then nothing at the next show.  The reality may seem trivial, but it happens.  Even quilters much better than myself have made these comments.  It helps to give me confidence to accept what comes my way.  If they have to, I do too.

The fact remains that I have earned 3 honorable mentions this year and I am tired of it.  I psychoanalyze why quilts don't do better (and why others do).  I know that the last 2 shows I have entered are machine quilting shows, where more credit is given to the quilting than the piecing.  I am learning to be a more interesting quilter, but seriously, I love intricate piecing, and it is where my preference lies.  I am not as impressed by a quilt with a mediocre design and over the top quilting as I am one that has great piecing and adequate quilting.  I need to find that happy medium with my quilts, as well as a more middle ground of the type of show I send my quilts to I guess.  These are just things to ponder.

So when I think about quilts that would fair very well at machine quilting shows, I find myself in limbo.  I'm not a huge fan of quilts that have vast openness dedicated to the quilting.  Perhaps this is because I struggle to appropriately fill the space sometimes.  Perhaps it is because I view it as unused space - space that awesome piecing or applique could enhance.  I have a couple of quilts started, but for some reason, they are just not driving the ambitious side of me.

I sat down and realized what I really need and want to do is make another quilt with detailed piecing.  The last one (Postcards from Venice) had thousands of tiny mosaic pieces.  It was challenging from a design standpoint.  It utilized fabric colors I usually stay away from, and I swore I'd never use these fabrics again because they were hard to see to quilt.  But something is driving me to design an other mosaic floor.  Something larger than the fact that I have a bunch of Stonehenge scraps.  There is nothing to regret about following your own heart and instincts.  I know that intricately pieced quilts are harder to quilt to be competitive in machine quilting shows.  It just gives me a bigger goal to work for.

So it is my time now to go do that token bike ride my kids are begging for (then the hubby is going to take them away for a bit and give me "Mom time".   I leave you with a link to read and ponder.  As a mother, I frequently wonder what lasting harm I will cause my kids.  Am I good enough?  Am I inspiring them to follow their dreams? Or to try to their utmost potential?  Will they do kind and lasting things for others?  You know the questions.  Any mother wonders these things.  Parenting is seriously the hardest and least rewarding  job any of us will ever do, in the moment anyways.  Looking back, I hope I can look past these self-doubts and feel like I did as good a job on them as I do on my quilts.  Will they be stained and rusty, or will they have learned from their mistakes and be proud little people?

Go have a great day.


Emma said...

I get it :) Have a lovely day.

Newbie Jen said...

Great post, and just what I needed on my so-called day. Last night I was afraid my 3 kids might have broken me, today is a different day. Soon, the quiet calm of quilting will help me return balance to my mind. Until then, we will see what the rest of today brings.

Ann Babillis said...

I really don't know where to begin to comment since your "rambling" was actually a very well written glimpse into any quilter's psyche who is very serious about her/his workmanship. And this has been one very frustrating week for you. On a work that you spent so much time on only to see it ruined by a chance happenstance during the last step. Yet you still decided to try everything possible to recover it when others would have given up.
I've been to a number of shows and wondered why one quilt won first place when another quilt was so much more appealing. I love your work and your blog. Please keep at it. You are very close to creating that masterpiece that will make your name in the quilting world and it will launch your empire. It's coming.

Ann Babillis said...

I really don't know where to begin to comment since your "rambling" was actually a very well written glimpse into any quilter's psyche who is very serious about her/his workmanship. And this has been one very frustrating week for you. On a work that you spent so much time on only to see it ruined by a chance happenstance during the last step. Yet you still decided to try everything possible to recover it when others would have given up.
I love your work. You are very close to creating that masterpiece that will make your name in the quilting world and launch your empire.

unfinishedquilts said...

I have never commented here, but thought you should know, I get it too. I had a 'challenging' child. He is now 24. He was diagnosed as being ADHD, ODD, PDD with non specific origins. It was a rough road to say the least. I had 4 children, he was the oldest. Most days I had the same questions. I had a horrible upbringing, my mom left us with my dad when I was 4, my stepmother abused us, both emotionally and physically. My goal was to at least make sure I didn't raise abused children. I wanted them to have the childhood I didn't. I took it a little too far and they are spoiled. My oldest gave us a run for our money and most days I wondered if my husband would leave me over this, he was his stepfather.

We made it through. My son joined the Army, made it through basic training and when I went to his graduation from said training, he asked me why I thought he did it. I had no idea. He burst into tears and told me it was to make me proud of him. I had never been prouder of him than at that moment. He has brought such joy and heartache to my life. I can honestly tell you every step was worth it. He is now married with 2 beautiful children.

It is a rough road when you have 'challenges'. There are days I question why I had children, I didn't have the best examples in the world, I wasn't the play on the floor with the hotwheels mom and I only like a few select friends that they bring home. Neither hubby are ones for other peoples kids, we have even dubbed them OPK's. Much easier for me when they became older, adult relationships. But, I know that all 4 of my children love and adore me. They have gotten in their friends faces when they were swearing in my house 'hey dude, that's my mom' has been heard more than once.

You don't have to be perfect. I sure wasn't.

Peggi said...

Holy cow. How did you get the rust spots out?!?!?!? I'm so sorry you've had so many troubles with this quilt.