I didn’t make it into Sewvivor.
That isn’t the failure I’m referring to in my post title, but it’s put me in the mood to go ahead and write something that’s been on my mind since a particularly disappointing day at the long arm.
I’ve been pretty lucky standing in front of the long arm. Loading’s gone well. I’ve found a rhythm in the physical free motion movement. My thread tension has cooperated.
Then, I had a day where absolutely none of that happened.
I struggled for an embarrassingly long time before realizing I loaded the machine incorrectly. My arms were stiff and clumsy; unlike my other successes with the AMH Patchwork and the Clamshells and Dogwoods, this quilt is not a snuggle quilt with minimal piecing effort – it’s a wall hanging that took a lot of thought and time. I got nervous. And the thread tension – oh, the rat’s nests were everywhere despite what I thought was some pretty meticulous adjusting.
And when I thought nothing else could possibly go wrong, I hated the thread color.
By the way, there’s a fine line between pressing on and knowing when to throw in the towel. If you’re going to unpick, just unload and go home.
If you’re not going to go home and you insist on unpicking while your quilt is loaded on a long arm, I recommend masking tape for gathering loose threads. And please comment with any other methods you know that speed up the process a little!
So, perhaps the failure wasn’t epic, but it was a bad day. And bad days need pep talks.
I like getting pep talks from Ira Glass. (This one is less than 2 minutes. And really, why read it when you can listen to his voice?)
So, Ira says “do a lot of work.” Until I can get back to the long arm, I’m sitting on the playground sidelines with my sketchbook, training my brain to follow some free motion patterns. Serving snacks. Collecting piles of sand. And making progress towards overcoming failure.
By the way, I’m very excited that I was number 17 out of the 78 entries for Sewvivor. If I can’t play as one of the 16 contestants, it’s nice to know I was SO close to making the cut!