Thursday, March 1, 2007

Why starting is easier than finishing

Smooshed unceremoniously unto my flatbed scanner, here's a portion of the poor quilt I can't seem to bring myself to finish. I must -- must -- finish it. I am soooo close. The quilting design was overly ornate (and is a bear to do on along the edges, as I decided foolishly to do it) and the patchwork pattern is no longer my taste, but after the hours that have already gone into it, it deserves to be finished. I hate to think of it ending up on eBay someday, unknown and unloved, waiting for someone else to take it on. I read a great article years ago (wish I'd saved it) written by a guy who did a lot of woodworking. He wrote about how easy and great it was to start new projects, and how nearly impossible it felt to finish them (much to the consternation of his wife, who really WANTED the bookshelves and the cabinets, etc.). He said it came down to this: a new project is full of hope and opportunity. Someone sees the thing you've started and they are so impressed -- gee, I wish I knew how to do that! -- and the idea is there that you are going to make something really good. But finishing. Finishing means you are saying to the world -- this is it, this was the best I could do, this is my completed work. That resonates with me and I do think that's why it's so hard for me to finish what I start. Because, then, there it is and there are no excuses to be made. But I hate the feeling of all the unfinished work around me, and so I will finish. I will. There's even a space above our bed where this quilt (which, in the spirit of full disclosure, I tell you now is baby sized!) could hang. I wonder if I could even knock off the whole thing (quilting, binding, label) this month.

So that's my goal, then. Give me the strength to finish, and to be comfortable saying yes, I made this, and it was the best I could do.

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