13.0 Better execution

February 28, 2011

Listening back to yesterday’s podcast today, made me think of two things:

1) Top Chef

2) The machine quilting I had just done on the hand pieced table runner

In Top Chef, many times, very talented cheftestants have the ability to make amazing dishes, the ingredients are fantastic, the equipment is present to make an amazing and spectacular dish, the knowledge to pull all the different parts into one incredible, mouthwatering, insightful plate of food is just there under the surface, but …

the dish falls flat, is uninspired … just doesn’t impress anyone.

The whole idea of the dish is there, and a great dish is just waiting, but the judges say “It just fell flat on the execution” (actually not a word for word phrase from Top Chef, but the general idea)


As far as the machine quilting:

Here was my practice piece.  The yellow was the lines that I gotten such great compliments on the day before, and the blue (box was to represent the diamond on the table runner) is what I intended to do with the blue thread on the piece in terms of quilting design.

I had decided to use four simple loops for each of the 27 diamonds in the table runner.  And I toyed with putting a second design inside that, but in the end, made a clear decision on the four loops.

I marked where I anticipated all the loop crosses to occur on the quilt, I did not give myself a clear pathway to follow, but a ‘rough idea’.

I mean, it worked so well the day before on the feathers, why couldn’t it work well on the loops?

This little quilt had 27 blocks, and you would also think that by the end of the 27th block, I would be better at quilting the loops than the end of the first block.

I know you can’t see it well, but my free motion would be better left to a strict ‘follow the pattern’ here as evidenced by this quilting shown on the light color of my quilt.

Hmm … well … it’s maybe not all that evident with this particular picture, but not only is the tension slightly screwed up (showing some of the stitches from the bobbin slightly poking through), but the pattern … ends up not being all that consistent, and the last block is about as wobbly as the first block.

I wonder if I felt ‘overconfident’ as I did when I completed my feathers the day before and thought that I was “too good” for an actual guide?

I feel bad that you really cannot see well in pictures what an imperfection of a mess that the loops really are.

When I have such a clear vision for this quilt with the quilting design.

… and if this is on the table, will I see it day in and day out and will it bother me?


will I see the ‘charm’ in all the design, and overlook the problems?

Part of me wants to rip out all the quilting on the 27 triangles, and do it over … with a stencil … and perhaps do this over by hand

Since I pieced the piecing design by hand.

But maybe I’ll wait and see.

The idea for the quilt is there, and has the potential to be a great quilt, but the execution is poor.

Will the best thing for this quilt to learn more about perfection, and how to achieve your goals, not only to your perceived ability, but beyond it – by ripping out the stitches and starting over?

Or will the best thing for this quilt to learn humility, the value of not being perfect, and how to spot charm in a poorly executed design – by leaving the stitches in?



… How does this relate to the podcast?

Well the ideas are there, very solid ideas, somewhat organized (well sorta), but after listening to myself, I could have presented the same ideas in a much more engaging way.

And this was the chance that I decided to take when I hadn’t exactly spent the same amount of time on that podcast as I had the others before this one.

If this delivery of my podcast had come out of my mouth this way 3 weeks ago, I would have stopped, rerecorded the entire thing, and had way more energy and enthusiasm for my quilty retreat ideas.

But it would have taken about 6 more hours … as did the prior podcast I recorded before this one.

It bugs me that I did spend a bit of time editing (but not in full to get the full effect of my voice and my lack of inflections), but I didn’t feel I spent any more time than any other podcaster on the editing.

It bugs me that it takes me what feels like 3-4 times as long as everyone else, and when things come out of their mouths,

they don’t put people to sleep!

Just when I decide I know what I’m doing … whoosh … and actually … I don’t.

But just as Top Chef contestants do ….

We’re moving on anyway.  I mean, a girl’s still gotta eat, right?

Please don’t send me packing my knifes for this last dish!  I can prepare better than this.

… you can still eat it? right?


  1. I often feel my quilting is messy and amateurish at the time that I finish. But, when I wash it, it looks pretty good. And, who is going to get up 6 inches away from your quilt anyway? Of course, as you said, we can’t see the quilting – maybe if I did see it, I would say ewwwww. (Just kidding!!)

    I didn’t mention the other day – the colours you have chosen for the basket weave quilt really pop. I think you have done a great job.

  2. I have been meaning to pass along to you that as time passed over the months of your podcasts that your pausing as decrease and that you sound good. At least to me you do. I would not attempt to podcast since I don’t think I have a podcast voice and I am not a conversationalist so I don’t think I would have much to say, but you are doing well. Your inflection is there, I hear it. I hear it more when you have deep feeling about something. Keep up the podcasting, your listeners will be there and we are always waiting for more.

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