You know that creative wasteland I talked about a couple of posts ago? Yeah, still there. Having a project like a scrap quilt gives me something to do while I’m figuring out what I want to do, if you know what I mean.
I love making quilts and I have enough fabric to make a few. I decided to make a triangle quilt. It’s done by cutting four inch squares, drawing a diagonal line down the center, sewing a quarter inch on either side of the diagonal line and cutting them apart. As this is a scrap quilt, I just cut out squares and randomly sewed them together. No particular design – a “no-brainer” of a project. It gives my hands something to do while my brain is incubating.
Scrap quilts have a long history in America. Patchwork quilts were often made from sewing scraps and old clothes. Nothing was wasted. One of the tennents of the sustainability movement is not to waste anything and use what you have on hand. Some people might see this as restrictive and feel deprived but it’s the opposite for me. I love the challenge of using what I have. It’s strangely satisfying to use stuff up and see my stash shrink.
The quilts I’m making will be donated to a non-profit. This one will be queen size and requires 930 half-triangle squares (30 squares X 31 rows). I had already made 300 squares and over the weekend I cranked out the rest while watching some bad Netflix movies and reruns (if you have any good Netflix viewing suggestions, please tell me).
A couple of thoughts emerged during this sewing marathon. First, I finally figured out where I could pin my quilts. While I have the floor space in my apartment (I don’t have a lot of furniture) it’s carpet so essentially useless. I realized I have access to a huge space where I could pin multiple quilts out at a time. Even though I will have the room to do the whole thing, I’ll do it in two pieces because it is so much easier to quilt smaller pieces on a regular sewing machine than one large piece.
Second, sometimes when I’m in these “lows” I find great clarity. Not being able to move forward could be my brain/soul/authentic self’s (or whatever you want call it) way of saying I’m on the wrong track. I believe this dry spell is one of those times. I happened upon a Youtube channel and it got me thinking about what I am really trying to accomplish. I’m focusing on the wrong things – on the outcomes – things I don’t have any control over. I was getting caught up in my old nemesis, outer validation, worrying about what other people think and trying to do what the “experts” are doing instead of following my own passions, curiosity, wants and interests. The best thing I could do to get out of my rut was to give my hands something to do while my subconscious worked things out.
It sounds cliche but we each are given one life to live. I’ve already lived too much of mine by other people’s agenda but it’s a hard habit to break. I still fall into the trap of comparing myself to other (seemingly more successful) people and thinking I should be doing what they’re doing. But it’s just that, a trap. Because when I focus on what “they’re” doing, it takes the focus off of what I want to do, what would truly make my life meaningful and fulfilled. It’s like my brain slammed on the brakes as if to say “whoa, you missed your exit!”
So I readjust my internal GPS and head back to where I’m suppose to go and the creative juices start flowing again.