Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What's in a name...?

Six years ago when I started quilting, I was almost belligerent in my defense of not putting labels on my quilts. My theory then was, "If the person who has my quilt doesn't know who made it, then they don't deserve it." I know it seems like it was a hard line to take. And maybe, it was truly rooted in some self doubt or lack of confidence spawned by inexperience (I didn't want people to know that "I" had made that wonky quilt). Regardless, I have found myself more and more drawn to the process of naming and labeling my quilts.

The naming of a quilt has become part of the entire process for me. One that I actually mull on and worry (what me worry?!) about. It turns around and around in my head until it finally appears. And just yesterday, I realized it clearly affects how I work on a quilt. Perfect example, my Jane Sassaman quilt. After months of me anxiously looking forward to starting on it, it had stalled. As it draped over my loft railing with the border and backing fabric dangling next to it, I just couldn't make myself get back to it. As I have said before, I've been suffering from sewing ADD recently, and at first I was thinking it was that. Then I realized that I'll have to make yet one MORE trip to the fabric store, for more backing fabric, cause guess who calculated wrong again. Then I thought maybe it's because I'm not keeping it, I'm going to give it to my sister. That one made me feel REALLY selfish. But then something happened that made realize what was really happening...

A good friend of mine posted a comment about the picture I posted. Her comment was quite simple, friendly, and a cute play on Jane's last name. Something about the quilt being "sassy." Well, roll the inspirational music and cue the backlighting and lightbulb over my head. That's it...Dear Sassy Jane...that's the quilt's name. Don't know if the Revolutionary war and Korean war movies, with the Dear John letters caused the "Dear" part, but that is definitely it. That's the quilt's name. And the most revealing part to me is that now, I can't wait to put on some borders and start quilting.

There are many insights that this has provided me about myself on so many comical levels.
  • Apparently I suffer from another quilting condition, QNA (Quilt Naming Anxiety). Totally comparable to my OCD that appears in my day to day life. A quilt cannot be completed until I have a name to put on the label on the back.
  • It is more important to me to see the color and shape of a quilt before I name it. This was not true in the naming of my children. Their names were determined months before their births. So thank TPTB (The Powers That Be) that Lily was a Lily and Rose was a Rose (although I still maintain that she's really a Scarlett Rose, hubbie vetoed Scarlett).
  • Naming the quilts feeds my ego. Coming up with something that I think is clever, East meets West (Lily's Lassos), Fruit Loops, Swimming with Sunburn, Caribbean Dreams and it's child Caribbean Baby, makes me feel "oh so superior."
I'm sure more insights will present themselves over time, but those were the first few. So now I'm off, to try to streamline all the things I HAVE to do today, so that I can cut and sew some borders and binding. And maybe by week's end I'll have it basted...who knows....?

The biggest lesson I've learned is that there's always a reason for something. I know I'm Captain Obvious, a fact my close friends and acquaintances know. But really, look at Dear Sassy Jane, she wasn't ready to be finished until she had a name. It's all part of my creative process and the fun.

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