By Kristen Banks
Whether it’s a food I’ve never heard of, a trendy new hairstyle, or some handy trick that makes sewing a whole lot easier I’m usually up for giving it a try. I’ve always been eager to learn from others and I’ve collected a lot of great advice over the years in this way.
Most of the time I come away with valuable information and a fresh new insight. But occasionally things don’t work out so well, and I will be offered a piece of advice, or try some new idea that turns out to be a real stinker. Nothing is more frustrating than thinking you’ve found some cool new technique that is going to make your life a whole lot easier just to find out later that not only does it NOT make your life any easier, it actually just make’s a big fat mess of things.
I once came across the bright idea somewhere of holding all of my patchwork pieces together with tiny clips, instead of using straight pins as usual. I thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It would surely cut my prep time in half, I wouldn’ t have to worry about randomly yelping as I stuck my fingers, and the results would most likely be amazing. I couldn’t wait to dive into piecing this quilt.
I smiled to myself as I fed the fabric across my feed dogs, unclipping just before a section went under the needle, as my machine happily hummed away. I felt so clever. No longer would I have to labor through the boring old monotunous task of pinning my work, plus I would amaze my friends and family with my handy new trick. They would surely be grateful for me sharing this fabulous new technique with them.
I finshed the top in record time and whisked it away to the longarm quilter, who happens to be my sister. I explained to her in-depth this awesome new technique, and assured her it was the latest and greatest practice. She had no reason to believe otherwise.
As my sister began to work on the quilt, I noticed she asked me a lot of questions about how I had put it together. I was excited that she was so interested, so I enthusiastically went into great detail. I was in such a good mood, and so sure of my new technique that it took me quite awhile to realize that her attitude in asking these questions was a little more skeptical than I had imagined.
So, I decided to ask, “You aren’t having any problems with my quilt top, are you?”
To which she replied, “Well, let me put it this way….I was kind of wondering if you’d had a stroke.” I was shocked.
Surely my fabulous new enterprise would not turn out bad? But upon closer inspection, I found that it WAS in fact pretty bad. My borders had way too much fullness and the whole thing required many tucks and adjustments to rescue it from complete failure. To my Sister’s credit, she was able to save it from the scrap heap, and make a decent looking quilt out of it. I realized right then and there that not every suggestion offering the quickest and easiest result was best. Sometimes you just need to stick with what you know and take the time to do things by the old tried and true way, even though it might not be as easy or exciting.
It kind of reminds me of the time I was out in town and found myself with a splitting headache. I was in the car and didn’t have any kind of medication with me. I would have normally tried to wait it out until I got home to take something I was familiar with, or if I really couldn’t wait, I would stop at a drugstore and buy something. But this time, I really didn’t want to wait or stop.
I asked the other passengers that were along for the ride with me if they could offer some relief. My Aunt dug around in her purse and finally produced two little round pills that were sort of a pinkish color. I was thrilled as I was in a lot of pain and took them greatfully. I did notice that they didn’t look anything like any medication that I was familair with. I asked her what they were, and she said Aleve. I knew it didn’t look like any Aleve that I’d ever seen, but I just assumed it was some generic version of that particular over the counter pain reliver.
Sometime later, after getting home, I started having a little tummy distress. I was really getting worried that I was getting sick, because not only was my head still pounding, but now I was having to stick close to the restroom as well. A short time later I received a phone call from my Aunt. She asked how I was doing, and I told her, “Not so good.” I noticed she sounded a little sheepish and was kind of beating around the bush.
She finally got to the point and told me that the ‘pain medicine’ she gave me was not Aleve after all. “So, what was it?” I questioned. She replied, “A laxative.”
I’m sure my jaw hit the floor as a look of horror crossed my face. “Whhhhhy!” is all I had time to shriek out before I was in need of excusing myself once again. I think you could have heard my family’s peels of laughter a block away, once they realized what had happened to me.
My Aunt was very apologetic between giggles, and explained that she didn’t realize she was even in possession of those kind of pills, and must have gotten them mixed up in the medicine cabinet with the bottle of pain reliever. I learned a valuable lesson that day about cutting corners, not being patient, and not asking a few more questions before jumping right in and commiting to something I wasn’t sure about.
It’s good to be open minded, curious, and to try new things. But, it’s also not a bad idea to use a little wisdom, and to take a little time to be sure about what you’re endeavoring. If worse comes to worse and your great new idea starts heading south, don’t panic. Just regroup and try to make the best of things.
And just remember, the next time you hear of something that sounds too good to be true, do a little research before you commit. Because some ideas turn out to be a beneficial life saver, and others are just useless distractions that are better off flushed!