I read “Compared to. . .” by Seth Godin and said, “there’s a quilt related blog if I’ve ever read one.” More than likely there were different words and it’s barely 6 AM here, and I’m just taking my very first sips of my morning Joe I seek your indulgence for a few moments.
Comparison is, as a human being, rather natural. A mom of a toddler aged boy shared the story of her boy and another same aged boy comparing anatomical differences at 3. Comparisons start early in life, and probably continue through until our days of dwelling in the local bone orchard. There are places where comparing is good, comparing thread is good. I like comparing thread. There are quilters who do not agree with my thread choices and that’s okay. I know why prefer the threads I prefer. Because I’ve compared them, on the machines I use and they work. And the threads I don’t prefer, some people do prefer them. Because they’ve compared them, on their machines and they work, for them.
Comparing thread, machines, needles, rulers, cutting mats, storage ideas is great. These are useful TOOLS. They are inanimate objects where some comparison is necessary. In the quilt world this comparison has something of a subjective air about it, and it’s important that it does, as what we are doing is highly personal. I like my current cutting mats and have been eyeing another brand but seriously do not want to invest money in a new cutting mat right now so there will be no cutting mat comparisons anytime soon. Though I want to compare them. And Rulers. I’ve been flirting with new rulers for a long time. Again, the investment for comparison is higher than I’d like at the moment, so no comparison there. I have compared seam rippers and know my preferred brands. Yes, brands.
In an effort to find a particular blog post I found “I figure I’m about 1/2 way there” and had an idea for a quilt at the same time. And in my mind flashed a quilt I’ve been working on and why it’s working. And “You are enough” is whispered in my ear.
The thing about comparing is learning to know what to compare and when to compare it. Remember too, that Masters were once Novices. A novice comparing themselves to a Master is a good thing only when they are looking for the places to improve their own skill, looking for the right questions to ask, seeking direction. A Master will not compare their work to a Novices, they will be reminded of the learning curve, how hard things were at one time, and how they learned along the way. The Master will offer insight and encourage.
There is a further level to this, if we want to acknowledge clear differences between our work and a Master’s work, that’s fine. This is an appreciation of hard work, and skill, that is not in any way to diminish our own work. Acknowledging someone’s hard work, and effort, that’s good. Saying our work is crap because it doesn’t meet the skill level we see, eh, not so much. Wanna compare time invested in developing said skill? Great! I’m all for it. Time invested is objective, not subjective.
The quilting I did 6 years ago is very different from the quilting I do now. I can compare my work and appreciate how different the quilting is now. I can see growth and changes. I can see the quilting taking a direction.
Where were you 5 years ago?
How has your quilting changed?
Is there anything that surprises you?
What’s the most significant change?
Write yourself a note to take stock of your work and see how it’s changed.
And give yourself the reminder that comparisons belong to the things we use, not our person.