So I find myself in a mental pickle. I’m delighted to participate in the Doll Quilt Swap for the second time, but I find myself a bit uneasy. I entered into the last round as a newbie. I had no expectations of getting in and no expectations of what I might receive. I had, what I thought was, a simple idea for a quilt. A contrast of black and white vs color. Good vs Evil. Despair vs. Hope. And of course a lot of whimsy. The Wizard of Oz seemed the perfect way to pull some of my ideas together.
That quilt grew to take on a life of its own. I envisioned parts of the quilt, but others were merely opportunities that I saw as the quilt developed. An interesting character here and a new fabric there. I used techniques that I never had before and worked at a tiny level and yet at a grand scale. There was so much packed into that one little quilt. I wondered at times if there was too much. But everyone seemed to enjoy each new piece…and so I plodded forth.
And very much to my surprise, the quilt became quite well-liked (although I’m still somewhat convinced that it is the mere presence of Mendocino mermaids that draw people in). In fact, some liked it so much that I was often asked how I could possibly give it away or told that I shouldn’t bother entering the DQS again because I could never outdo that quilt.
It’s that final statement that really sticks with me. I don’t want to be a one-note wonder and nor do I want to recreate what I’ve already done. I don’t need to make that quilt again. It’s been done. But how do I make a quilt that will be utterly me, utterly my partner, and yet be no less than the previous quilt? How do I meet the expectations that I have set for myself and perhaps others have come to expect?
I’m quite delighted with my partner and that may be part of the difficulty. But I’ve been at odds with what to make for the swap for quite a while. The last quilt was so very personal, I’m not sure that I can, want, or need to do that again. But will I think less of myself for doing something less “magical” than the last quilt? Or am I merely a victim of vanity, striving to outdo myself?
I hope to find an idea that settles with me soon, so I can stop worrying (something that I’m very good at). I don’t fear that my partner will not like what I make, but rather that I won’t.