Mark My Word Nov/Dec 2008
Sometimes I’m so bored with patchwork I could scream! God knows, I’ve invested more moolah in this hobby than the national budget of some mid-sized third-world country. So it seems a pity that I just allow all of my fabric, my gazillions of tools, and my machines to just lie there in my sewing room, collecting dust.
There are some quilters who are driven, knocking out one quilt after another, after another. I’m not one of them. I’m telling you, there are times when just cutting a strip or piecing a triangle seems like much too much work and well, the “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality sets in.
It happens to all of us at one time or another. Soon, you start dropping out of your sewing groups and guilds, and your phone calls to and from your quilting friends start to dry up.
Before you know it, you’re a quilter with a butt-load of supplies and not an ounce of motivation or creativity to do anything with them. As each day passes your quilt-guilt-ometer starts running. Days turn into weeks, weeks to months, and worse.
It begs the question: Is a quilter a quilter if a quilter doesn’t quilt? Oh puleeeeese, Mary, of course they are! Does a stamp collector have to deliver mail?
Every artist and crafter finds themselves hitting a dry spell every once in awhile. And don’t get me started on scrap bookers. They become wrist-cutting depressed if they miss designing a page for every hair their kid grows, not to mention skipping a missing tooth or first boo-boo! (Be grateful you think fabric.)
Being a quilter is not a race to see how many wall hangings, table runners, or bed quilts you piece. It’s a state of mind. You’re a quilter if you say you are.
Taking a break from your quilting is just fine. You can give yourself permission to shut down your machine or put down your handwork once in awhile. Without creating some time and space for yourself, how do you expect to daydream, and play and recharge? If your quilting becomes a chore rather than the fun it once was, then stop. Take a break. Figure out why you’re feeling this way.
Try new things. Meet a new set of quilters and try sewing with them now and again. You may just need a change of pace and scenery to get recharged. When you go back to your patchwork, you’ll be a better person, and a more focused and creative quilter.
I love the time I’m in front of my sewing machine or showing off my latest quilt tops and designs. But I also love the time I’m away from it, guiltfree, until that itch to piece-something- before-I-go-mad gets the better of me.
One thing that I’ve learned over my years of patchwork is that sitting in front of my machine, day-in and day-out, month after month, and year after year, doesn’t make me a quilter, nor does it necessarily even make me a “good” quilter. It makes me a neurotic mess. (And I really don’t need any help in that department.) Taking occasional “quilting breathers,” shopping for new fabrics and notions, piecing blocks and quilts that I love and that satisfy me alone, as well as just dreaming about making quilts. . . well, now all that makes me a quilter, even if I only start one block every three years.
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