Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Thoughtful

Watch out, this is a bit more serious than usual. Sorry about that.

While I was at Quiltcon I was overwhelmed by the amazing creativity surrounding me. The quilts, the lectures, the people, the margarita-fuelled discussions. I expected to come home full of ideas about the millions of things I wanted to make, but the strangest thing has happened.

I want to make less.

I want to sew more meaningful things. Not just to sew for the sake of sewing. To take time, and pay attention, and not be in a hurry to have another thing made and finished and ticked off the list.

I've discovered that I have no list.

There will always be sewing for babies and weddings and assorted other gift situations. There will always be charity quilts and bee blocks. But this house already has enough quilts. The only quilts I need to make are the ones that speak to me somehow, that keep me awake in the middle of the night. I feel as though I have been running to keep up with everyone else, and have only now figured out that there is no race.

And now you can slap me.

55 comments:

  1. i like this sentiment very much. it's nice to hear others express it so eloquently.

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  2. I can totally see where you're coming from Charlotte - whilst I was seeing all the pictures of Quiltcon come up on various blogs/IG it struck me how many of the ones that 'spoke' to me were pieces of art, just in a different medium. Our house doesn't have enough quilts yet (although my hubby might disagree!) but I like to think that one day I will make a piece of art x

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  3. No slapping required!
    I've had some similar thoughts since returning from QuiltCon. Many of those quilts (particularly the DS ones) spoke to me so loudly that I feel like I need to take more time with my quilts - to think them through more thoroughly. I've been working on a blog post about it, but haven't got it quite right yet.

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  4. I agree, no slapping required. I also agree with the "running to keep up" thing. Slow and considered is a great approach. I've been inspired by this which ties in with one of my favoursite posts about Quiltcon: http://craftnectar.com/2013/02/23/quiltcon-homework/

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  5. It's always interesting to have a fresh perspective for our sewing and quilting, and it is sometimes hard to keep up with the itch that needs scratching type of creating, I often get annoyed with myself that I haven't thought things through more carefully. A bit of reflection is a great thing, and this feeling might pass for you, or it might continue, as long as you enjoy it, that's what counts. Now get your head out of your backside and sew something beautiful for me to look at, only joking! ;o)

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  6. Arajane put it better than me. I so agree with you Charlotte and it takes will power to realize there is no race. I love what you make and can't wait to see your slow and considered inspiring creations.

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  7. I'm definitely in agreement with you! I also took away from QuiltCon was the importance of just good 'ol pratice. I believe every teacher emphasized this! For me this means less blogging and only blogging about items I want to make - not just on things I think will increase my number of followers. It's taken me a year to figure out that I hate deadlines. As well as block of the months and sew-a-longs just don't fit my quilting style.

    So kudos to you and I can't wait to see what you make next!

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  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Charlotte, I've really enjoyed reading yours and others' blogposts and looking at so many pictures from Quiltcon. I've also noticed quite a few posts from people who were there sharing the same sort of sentiment as you, Quiltcon has made so many stop and think about what and why they sew. To take a step back and assess has got to be a good thing x

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  9. I have more or less the same thoughts; I machinepiece and handquilt the quilts I make. But if you follow blogs, most quilts are also machine quilted. I seriously looked at the possibilities to buy a 'quilttable' to attach my sewingmachine on so I could also machinequilt.
    But then I thought: now I sit on the couch in the evening handquilting with some music on the background and if I buy such a device all I do is making quilts in a day or two, like you said sewing just for the sake of sewing. I donate almost all my quilts to childrens hospitals, they could care less if I handquilt or not but I think the handwork is too important to me so I decided not to buy anything and keep handquilting :-)

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  10. Great post. Reflection is a wonderful thing that helps set us straight if only we can be honest with ourselves. Everything good in our quilts comes from inside and that's impossible to compete with. Can't wait to see what you come up with next.:)

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  11. Good for you hun, but you do realise you are gonna have fuff all to show at guild meets now ;-)

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  12. Your thoughts are so right! Your quilts are adorable and it's sure that also till now you have planned your work very well. There must have been so much talented and unique quilts in the QuiltCon (I wasn't even near there)! You returned home with something very important - new thoughts! Even I wasn't there, just these last days I have tried to decide what to do next and today I decided that I may need to slow down for a while. Great opportunity to finish something and think what direction to continue. Thank you for the inspiration you share! x Teje

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  13. Sewing should be a pleasure and not a race. Perhaps you should start a slow sewing movement! Di x

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  14. What a great place to be. I wish I was getting near that with my knitting. I think my sewing will always be a bit that way because my health won't allow me to sew that much, so it has to be something I REALLY want to work on. When you have to pay a high price in terms of loss of energy or pain you think long and hard about what you want to make, it's strangely liberating in a way.

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  15. Beautifully expressed. I have never joined that race though have come close at times. Going down your own track is ultimately more rewarding and stimulating and I look forward to seeing what tracks you make.

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  16. I'm shocked. Stunned. Seriously?! :-p Nah. Am more a little bit envious and a little bit impressed. I am still well entrenched in the "want to make hundreds and as quickly as possible" phase...

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  17. Hear, hear! I have been feeling the same lately. Getting back to the vibe I had when I first started quilting. Fun and easygoing.

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  18. A most beautiful confession. Miss you.

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  19. I am glad you have sorted out your thoughts. I guess I always saw this hobby as for me, to do what I wanted not what others pushed for. Last year I realized that too many challenges, qals, swaps and bees was not for me as it leads to what you are saying, quilting on other people's schedules and as they pick, but a little of that is also good for variety and I am trying to stay in balance. I hope you will just make sure that you are having fun and getting the enjoyment you want from quilting and sewing.

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  20. This is thoughtful! I am sure it will help your creative process!

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  21. I'm totally with you Charlotte. I've been thinking the same way for a while, but you put it much better than I could. Lovely post :)

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  22. I've spent so much time giving mine away, I'm looking forward to luxuriating in making some for me, just 'cos lol Plus I can take as long as I like ;o)

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  23. Brilliant post, Charlotte. I came to this in a much smaller way last year. I don't need to do swaps (unless it is my own), or QALs, or any other fad racing through blogland (triple zips, etc). I don't need to be on twitter or fb. I can do what I like because it is my life, my sewing and my time. And no one noticed that I quietly got on sewing what I wanted. I for one am happier for it. And I for one would love to sit back and see what your amazing creative mind will come up with next. Whatever it is I am sure it will be fabulous.

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  24. I know what you mean - I don't have a houseful of quilts yet and I feel I have a lot to improve on my technique, so I am still itching to make more. However I expect there will come a time where every bed has a quilt and then I will start thinking about only doing a couple of pieces to put on the walls. My problem would be how to balance my love of buying fabric with the reduced sewing output - charity quilts I expect (although my husband may have cancelled my credit card by that point).

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  25. I love the race, the deadlines, the group dynamics, when it suits me; but I also want to start making some slow burners, more thoughtful things. This is my social life as well as my 'hobby/passion' and am trying to get the right balance too.

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  26. I totally agree, I too have enough quilts, but I have always found people to give them to. If I make a quilt to keep an old one must go out the door. I'm now making lap quilt for the dialysis unit I work at, 5 down and 59 to go, that should keep me busy for a long long time!!!

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  27. well, my friend, this sounds perfect to me. so...what's first?

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  28. No slap required! Do what's right for you!

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  29. You articulated how I have been feeling, beautifully! I realized this year that that I spend more time doing the latest crazes, joining bees, QAL' and BOM's, that I have created a lot of UFO's and have forgotten how to finish a project. So when my MQG introduced a BOM this year, I kept putting off the 2 blocks, and finally a couple days before they were due at the February meeting I realized, I didn't want to make them. Both blocks were boring, and I was uninspired. My husband asked me why I was forcing myself to complete something I didn't want to complete. He was right, so I didn't. I got some heckling at the meeting, but I know in my heart its time to quilt for me and what I want to create and not to 'keep up with the Jones'.

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  30. Good for you! Its easy to get caught up in fad quilting, nothing wrong with it. All we do enriches us in someway. But we cant ignore that inner voice to create for you, by you, and reflecting youself. And dont be afraid if it doesnt look like what the cool kids are doing.

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  31. I've been having a similar quandary. I am realizing that I've been so focused on the end results, and take on so many commitments, that I have lost the joy of the journey, and don't have time to enjoy the finishes. It's hard when you have a blog that people expect you to update regularly, though!

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  32. Nicely put. My house doesn't have enough quilts yet, but I agree with your thinking.

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  33. Beautifully put. We should all be making what we love.

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  34. No slapping, no need- what a great thing to have discovered via your time at quiltcon, I think. So, now you can just 'adjust the focus' a bit, and still create marvelous things, but with an even "better" reason :)

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  35. Well said...wonderful post, I totally agree with you.

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  36. Totes agree. Plus I get tired and depressed with the self imposed race. :)

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  37. Can I just slap you anyway!? Hehe!

    Totally agree as so many before! Next year I will not be joining so many things and my UFOs will be done so I will be on an adventure to discover where the whim will take me! Enjoy your adventure missus!

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  38. Welcome to the hand piecers' school of thought :)
    So, can we convince you to down machine for needle too? ;)

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  39. It's a sign that you've worked out what your own creative direction is and it's a lovely state to have arrived in. I'll always be interested to see what you do next!

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  40. Hooray my thought exactly! No slapping needed!

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  41. Thank you for sharing, Charlotte. This resonates with my goal for 2013, slowing down and enjoying the process a bit more.
    ; )

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  42. It was great to meet you, Charlotte! No, there is no race :-)

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  43. Well said! Most of my projects are slow projects that I pick up when I feel like working on them and put back down when I feel like working on something else. I tend to concentrate on one project at a time and keep others ticking over but there's no pressure to finish anything, apart from the odd present or very rare swap item. I think that's partly because that's the way I work (I'm not one for jumping on a bandwagon!), partly because my health doesn't allow me to rush and partly because I'm a hand piecer and quilter (with the odd few machine projects) so I know before I start that progress is going to be slow and that projects need to be thoughtfully considered (to make the best use of my limited energy and resources) rather than jumping in with both feet and realising three weeks later that it was just a fad...
    I look forward to seeing where this takes you

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  44. I'm beginning to feel exactly the same way. I even have less motivation to buy fabric because I don't want the pressure that it gives me to use it right away.

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  45. Can I use this philosophy as my excuse for not doing enough?

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  46. I think I need to get myself to Quiltcon pronto! Your work is so beautiful anyway, Charlotte, I can't imagine how beautiful it is going to be when you slow down and think about it!

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  47. I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. If you would like to accept please visit my blog post here: http://lifesewcrafty.blogspot.com/2013/03/liebster-award.html

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  48. So sorry I missed you at QuiltCon. I have been having some similar thoughts. I'm searching for what quilting means to me; finding my quilt voice. Do I still want to take on commission projects. Sometimes that gets in the way of more meaningful projects.
    There are days that I just want to sew. Hmmmm. Where to go with it all? That's the question I've been struggling with over the last year.

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  49. I agree! What's the point in sewing if it's simply to throw up another blog post, as I witness so often. I've been editing my reader to weed out the trend bloggers who just blog to sell fabric or celebrate another inane faux holiday.

    Your fractured quilt is brilliant, keep creating from your heart!

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  50. I have left this post open in my browser for a week, as I really wanted to think about it. Thank you for the thought provoking words, sometimes I let myself get carried away and I think I will be happier if I make thoughtful and intentional choices instead (THOUGH I am glad to say that I'm almost done putting together my Fractured and it sure as hell isn't a waste of time :)

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  51. I've been thinking a lot about this since I read it, and then rad another similar thing by, I think, Christa quilts, in her Quiltcon round up ( which your fab Anova appears in, BTW). Christa also had a picture of the broken diamonds quilt by Kati Spencer, and notwithstanding the 6 quilts I've somehow committed myself to this year (which will still need to be done) I decided I could see the appeal in slowing down and learning how to make something as stunning and some of modern quilts we've been treated to photos of in the last few weeks, rather than just dash off something mediocre just to have another finish. (Not, please note, that I am applying the term mediocre t anyone's work but my own!!)

    A really thoughtful post, Hun, and certainly something to give us all pause.

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  52. Wise words. You're absolutely right.

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  53. Ah, inner quilty peace. I think you've reached quilt nirvana.

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thanks for making my day!