In church today, we talked a little about importance of goals and goal setting. And it struck me. Every January, I make the requisite list of goals that I move toward in varying stages of urgency. But truthfully, their importance comes and goes, and while I’m well intentioned, the goals I set have a way of becoming like a well-worn road, full of potholes and fading striping. The goals themselves lose their luster and more often than not, something of greater importance or more intense urgency comes along to replace what I originally intended to work on. But today I realized something else. That there a few goals I carry around in back pocket, year after year, waiting for the right time to put a plan into action. Yet because I’m always fearful to try at something I really want to do and have it end up littered on the side of my road, I don’t do anything to make it happen. One of those goals for me is to become proficient in good, old-fashioned needle turn applique. I’ve been a big proponent in the past of freezer paper applique, both the glue-stick and starch & iron methods, and have even tried Eleanor Burns’ fusible interfacing method, but my heart yearns for needle turn. I don’t think I can adequately express why it’s so important to me. The most basic reason is that I want to develop a skill – a time-honored, old-fashioned skill that I can share with others. But with that comes inherent risk. The risk of exposure, to be exact. When things don’t end up looking as good as I imagined them, I discount their value. And instead of seeing them as stepping stones, or means to an end, I sit ashamed that I even tried. But after today’s sermon, I realized that now is the time to really put some effort toward improving. So with that in mind, and knowing I needed to work of Block 3 for Sycamore Rose, I’ve made two different templates for the same block.
One I’ll do with the standard starch & iron over freezer paper templates. I do enjoy this method because I love the prep work. It’s not a drudgery for me. And I have an excuse to sit and watch TV without really having to invest myself fully in the script. And I love the polished look of the block when it’s finished. I like knowing that something I had a hand in can be called pretty, as I’m typically a clumsy kind of girl. But I’m making the other set ready for needle turn. To that end, about a week ago, I bought Becky Goldsmith & Linda Jenkins’ book, The Best Ever Applique Sampler.
It’s full of gorgeous pictures that I could stare at for hours. And while I’m not fond of the “Always,”, “Never,” & “Must’s” which are liberally sprinkled throughout the text, I do love the ample close-up pictures and profound common sense. That said, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to needle turn a tiny circle. But until I try, I’ll never know. When I finish both blocks, I’ll post a picture of each, regardless of how homely the needle turn block may be.
Something else church is good for made me laugh. I sat behind a friend of mine who had on a dress full of beautiful flowers that were perfect to applique, so I quick took out my notebook and sketched what I saw. I also considered calling her to ask if I could come and photograph her dress for reference, but had the good sense to stop before embarrassing myself further. Inspiration strikes where you least expect it, I guess.
Take care, friends and keep stitching.