Friday, December 3, 2010

Tis the season for compassion...

I've been having a lot of fun with the Block Lotto the last few months.  It's an online group and we make quilt blocks and then there is a drawing, and you might "win" blocks from others so you have enough for a quilt, and if not, you mail the blocks you made off to one of the winners.  I started this when I stumbled upon the site and they were making these blocks that I really liked, that were a technique I had never tried.  While all the blocks were following the same instructions, they were different and unique.  I joined as an opportunity to push my skills, both technically and creatively.

I was so excited the month I won the blocks.  Some were so incredibly perfect, way beyond my current capabilities.  Others were like mine.  Some were design-wise gorgeous, and others not as interesting, but true to the directions of the block.  I have put off finishing my quilt as I didn't want to disrespect the effort of all the different people who made these blocks for me.  I consider myself so grateful to have won a month and want to make sure the finished project is as special as it can be.

Well, in an effort to establish the plan for the Block Lotto next year, a lot of discussion has been turned to "problem" blocks.  Really?  I am probably naive, but I assumed that everyone was doing their very best to make these blocks.  The skill level on the site ranges from beginners to people who have been quilting since the beginning of time...(well maybe less than that, but a long time anyway). 

Now, I'm doubting myself and my contributions.  Have my blocks not been up to the winners' standards?  I wouldn't have ever thought to complain about any of the blocks I received, no matter what they were like, as I know that someone spent time to make the block, using their own fabric, and then mail it to me.  I have the option of putting the blocks together anyway I want.  If I really didn't like one, I could leave it out, or I could try to fix it to my satisfaction.  Even the discussion of "problem" blocks has taken some of the "fun" out of the Block Lotto for me.
In this Christmas season, I truly want to be compassionate of the feelings and efforts of others.  I want everyone to know that I appreciate what they do.  May we all head into 2011 with a little less criticism and a little more gratitude. That would apply to all aspects of our lives....home, work...and even online.


lisa said...

I am a block lotto player too. I have won one batch and am loving it. I had a similar reaction internally, I use the block lotto as a way to learn new skills, push myself (and maybe make a quilt top that I would have found overwhelming to create on my own, a little selfish true) I still consider myself an "early learner" in the quilting world and have found through my participation, especually knowing the blocks would be sent to people who are "better" than me (even if they are not really so) made me slow down and pay attention to details, which I carried over into my personal quilts.

I hope you continue to play, I know I intend to. I also hope that the discussion on there empowers people to contact those who are struggling personally, and kindly. I know I'd hope to be informed if I need to work on something. Just like in school, or work, you'd have some form of feedback, especially when you have "opportinities for improvement".

please don't let it get you down, most likely it was not directed at you as a problem maker, I know it was not a passave agressive attempt to ween people out.

Amy said...

I totally understand both sides of the discussion.I worry about others seeing the back of my blocks and so on.I know some of my seams are not always going to line up..must just be me.I also understand about fabric choices,and not eveyone can purchase the same type of fabric.And who knows maybe someone is cleaning out stash they have aqquired in hopes someone else might love it.I have done fabric swaps and I always think in the back of my head what would this person like?...brights? novelties? Some are only into designer fabrics.ya just never know.I do not participate in swaps cuz I travel so much I would prolly be late in sending my stuff out or something would arise in life.And some people are very impatient.I have just found the block lotto blog a few weeks ago and enjoy seeing everyone blocks.and would love to see some of the quilts put together.please do not let it disourage favorite blocks are the wonky ones...nobody knows that seams were not perfect or what our aim to do the best we can..sometimes we need to let go of total perfection,noone is perfect.Sometimes in life people would complain if hung with a new rope!happy stitching,Amy

Mary Jane said...

Please keep playing. Every now and then Sophie might send you an email or note on how to fix a block, but only once were my feelings hurt. I had not even seen the problem and was a bit embarrassed. However, following her gentle instructions, I carefully fixed the blocks and sent them on to the monthly winners. No one is perfect. If you got an entire batch that could not make a quilt that would be one thing. However, you might get an occasional block that might not be up to "standards" that is best worked into a working hot pad or some other use.
The block lotto will stretch your ablities and raise your skills. When I first began, my blocks were far weaker than they are now. I have learned liberated quilting, paper piecing, and tradtional piecing. It has been worth my time and only rarely has there been an issue.
Please keep playing.