Well. I got the eight diamonds assembled, finally. It took most of one day, and half each of two other days. But the diamonds were done.
Assembling the diamonds into a star was… trickier. Things had a tendency to bunch up in the middle. I’ve disassembled three or four lines of assembly, trying to get the thing to lie flat. But I don’t think it ever quite will — For a first effort, not bad. But complicated, and with so many pieces it seems that it’s harder to do right than it should be.
It’s without doubt, the worst Lone Star Quilt I will ever assemble.
But that’s just it — the vast majority of my readers probably aren’t quilt makers. So it’s very likely the best Lone Star Quilt most of you have ever assembled (a few professionals aside). And I bet that my worst quilt is similar in quality to their worst quilt — and this one is still better than my first-ever quilt.
That’s the nature of the Practice Effect. The more you do something, the more likely it is that you succeed at the work, at least at some level. A quilt is about ninety percent (90%) sheer cusséd persistence. (Yes, that accent was really necessary). But then, so is just about anything you care to name. The first time you try something, it’s a pretty likely and common result that you will do it badly — but nowhere near as badly as you thought you would before you began.
About ninety percent of my skills and abilities have come about because I try to be fearless about saying, “Well… I’ve never done anything like that before; nor have I done that exact thing before; but it’s kind of amazing what you can do when you’re deliberate about it… so I should totally be able to do that.”
And thus is the Great Work accomplished.
There’s still a lot of work to do on this quilt, of course. It needs four squares between two of the corners; and it needs four half-squares between the other points of the star.
And then there’s backing and batting and quilting to arrange, and an edge-binding to put on the whole thing. I think I’m going to experiment with some fancy quilting stitches on this one, as I make it. After all, I can’t completely ruin it by finishing it. I can only make it more useful than it is now by finishing it, regardless of whether it’s perfect or not. If I stress about all the identified imperfections that currently exist, and put it aside, then it will never be complete — because I will stress about fixing the mistakes for far longer than I will spend on fixing them.
So forward! Fearlessly!
Because a completed quilt, with all its imperfections — warms a person, a couple, a family, far better and with greater grace, than my delay and worry over the flaws in my labor.
Call it a Philosopher’s Quilt, then — a flawed but nonetheless beautiful and useful blanket that lessens the store of suffering in the world.