Mind Sorbet & In Between Projects

I latched on to the idea of Mind Sorbet or Quilt Sorbet) after I heard about it in Judy Martin’s newsletter in February of 2008. I mentioned it in a post around that time. Today, I got a new view of finishing, process, starting and resting as I listened to an old CraftyPod podcast.

I am a bit obsessive about thinking about process. I can get stuck in a mindset, though, as I think I did with mind/quilt sorbet. Fortunately, I can also be easily influenced by a reasonable argument. It is probably a good thing that I leave politics mostly to Julie! 😉

Sister Diane interviewed (CraftyPod episode #66) Kirsty Hall, a UK artist who, in 2007, did one drawing every day and mailed it to herself in a project she called the Diary Project. This interview was done towards the end of 2007 as the project was winding down and Kirsty was anticipating ceasing her daily envelopes drawing practice. As I listened I thought “how can she just give up something that has been a habit?”, but I listened further and found what she said to make sense. Personally, it also defined and named something I didn’t even know I was experiencing.

I started the Quilt Sorbet project soon after finishing (mostly!) the Tarts top. I was excited to do something, uncomplicated, easy and fun in different colors. Then the 9K went back to the shop and I have wandered around not working on that project for a number of weeks.

As Ms. Hall talked about her Diary Project and the ending, she talked about resting after a big project. She made a good point in saying that we makers love to dive in and start something new. She subtly suggested, and included herself in this suggestion, that we should consider refraining from diving into a new, big project right away. Her words and thoughts resonated with me, because diving into any quilt project is a big commitment. No matter how enjoyable a project is, quilts take a lot of time and energy. Other people may be able to make a quilt in a day. That isn’t me; I spend a lot of time thinking and looking and trying. Looking at the time I have spent on Beach Town is a good illustration. I spent at least 10 hours quilting that thing and it is a small quilt! A quilt is a big project.

Listening to this podcast suggested to me that I might need to think about the project that I undertake after finishing a large project, especially a large quilt project. Ms. Hall mentioned resting after a project and I think it is a good idea. Perhaps making tote bags or pencil rolls or journal covers would be better than starting a new project. Perhaps sewing scraps together to make new fabric for fuure projects would work better than starting a quilt. I am wondering if even sewing on sleeves and bindings or facings would be good mindless resting projects?

I have had to expand my idea of finishing since I started doing the UFO reports at the end of each year. I was getting down looking at my massive quantities of UFOs. I had to start thinking about completing steps/sections as accomplishments. Really finished does mean the piece is ready to hang or put on a bed. Quilts, however, are big projects and there are multiple steps in the process. I have found that completing one of the steps, like the top can be a good place to stop in order to work on another piece for awhile. Completing a group of blocks, then sewing a tote bag together can be a kind of finishing. Working on different projects one after another can give me some breathing space to mull over a project subconsciously.

I have to say that there is a definitely a limit to the number of projects that be happening at the same time, especially if one of them takes a lot of design wall space. I may have reached that limit at various points this year.

What I have taken away from this podcast is to rest between projects. I don’t think that means stop making. I think it means making something smaller and easier.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

2 thoughts on “Mind Sorbet & In Between Projects”

  1. I think you’ve got the right idea of resting between projects by doing other things such as the sewing of scraps or bindings/sleeves, etc. Think of it as floating down a river of creativity and sometimes you need to rest on the shore for a while. Maybe try to make yourself a steps/sections UFO list, outlining where each project is, what the next steps are that you have planned. I have one of these and I keep a printout of it in my UFO box, that way if I feel like working on something but not making up something completely new, I have an easy way to start back up again on a project.

    1. Very organized to keep a list. I have my UFO list, which I look at periodically, but, mostly, the steps are in my head. I hope I don’t lose my brain.

      I think being mindful of the “seasons” is becoming more important. Isn’t there a song about being a season for everything? I found, all of a sudden, that diving into a new and demanding project wasn’t really possible. I gave myself permission to fiddle around with quiltmaking odds and ends over the weekend and it seemed to work out.

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