Both Pam and Katie have mentioned recently feeling anxious, not feeling like sewing, etc. I have been feeling old. I am not old, though I am older than both Katie, Pam and some of the other podcasters. I never felt my age before and I don’t know if I really am older now, but I just feel old. It could be that the Young Man is talking seriously about colleges and we have gone to speak to some people about a university he might want to attend. I was never really a gooey mother and all of a sudden I feel gooey thinking about sending my “baby” off to college. Perhaps gooey goes with feeling old?
Also, I have been working on small projects. Small projects are like eating M&Ms. You eat a thousand of them and still don’t feel full. I am glad to be plowing through some yardage on napkins, receiving blankets and gift bags. However, the small projects seem insubstantial, unsatisfying and I don’t feel like I am accomplishing anything.
So, somehow all of the above made a connection in my mind to the Stitched in Color blog. Reading Stitched in Color’s blog post reminded me that I don’t have to do what everyone else does to be successful at quiltmaking. She writes:
“*you don’t have to keep a fabric stash”
- to which I add: It is also ok if you do, or if you keep a few pieces of fabric by your bed to pet. Remember: fabric is a cheap alternative to drugs and therapy.
“*you don’t have to buy designer fabrics”
- to which I add: buy fabric you like. If you like to work with velvet and quiana, go for it! Just go and make stuff and make yourself happy. Banish the quilt police from your mind.
“*you don’t have to hand sew bindings”
- to which I add: when sewing machines became popular household items it was a sign of wealth to machine quilt and machine bind. Quilts from the end of the 19th century have been found with machine bindings. Sewing machines were seen as timesavers. *I* enjoy hand sewing the backs of bindings onto my quilts, but I would love to learn to do a really nice looking machine binding. Do what you like. If hand binding is a terrific trial, don’t do it. Whatever you do, focus on having fun and having good technique. Practice.
“*you don’t have to press seams open or even to the side”
- to which I add: Press in a manner that is best for the piece. You may press to the side and open in the same quilt. The seams will be on the inside of the quilt and nobody will see them once you put the back on. Just make sure you don’t have lumps of seams (like the center of an 8 pointed star) that can be felt when your quilt is used.
“*you don’t have to care when your points don’t match”
- to which I add: I try my best to get the points to match. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. If I have ripped out a seam more than once, then I try to let it go. I try for good technique, but am not perfect. If I can live with the boo-boo, I move on. None of my quilts are perfect, but neither do the errors take away from the overall effect. The goal is to not have the errors be so obvious that they are all the viewer sees. Reach a happy medium
“*you don’t have to have a tidy or pretty sewing space”
- to which I add: I like a tidy sewing space, but the reality is that I don’t have enough horizontal space or storage space, or the right kind of horizontal and storage space. I make due and dream about the future studio that is perfect. Try not to compare your space to others. What matters is what comes out of your sewing space.
“*you don’t have to make anything “original””
- to which I add that there are plenty of fabulous patterns out there. I recently followed a pattern, including the fabric, exactly. What I found was that I could see a method to the “madness” of the pattern designer that was more than just “use this pattern and fabric to make this quilt”. By doing an exact replica, I could see her vision. This has made me think about using the same concept myself later. It also make me think of how different fabrics would look using the same pattern. You can copy everything in a pattern exactly and just use the process as meditation. You can also use a pattern, change the fabric and the construction and make the piece your own. There are a multitude of levels between the two as well. We all need something different from our quiltmaking at different times. Do what works for you.
“*you don’t have to blog, Tweet or Instagram”
- to which I add: no, you don’t. If you just want to sit in front of your sewing machine by yourself and sew, do it. Tweeting and blogging are fun, but they are not sewing.
“*and you definitely don’t have to have a fancy sewing machine to turn out really great quilts”
- to which I confess that my machine is nearing 17 years old. Would I love a new machine? Of course, but don’t let having a very basic machine stop you. I make great things with my machine. We are pals and I know him/her well. Keeping this machine is also saving me the time it would take to shop for a new machine. Use what you have and go make stuff!
The blog post also reminded me that I don’t always do what others do. When was the last time you used pink as a neutral?
What works for you? Do THAT!
***all of the quotes are from a post called ‘Dare‘ from the Stitched in Color blog written by Rachel.