Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Philosophy

I read this quote yesterday and have been unable to find the source, but it really crystallizes a lot of what I was thinking when I wrote this.

"It's not who you are that holds you back. It's who you think you're not."

Too often lately I have been comparing myself to quilters who are able to produce so many quilts in such a seemingly short amount of time. Beautiful quilts. They amaze me with their creativity and style. Why can't I make a quilt every week? Why can't I discipline myself to even walk into my sewing room? Why can't I be improvisational and wonky?

It has been making me feel frustrated and guilty because I'm not "measuring up."

Measuring up to what? It's not a contest. There isn't a winner.

Do I want to push my creative boundaries? Of course.  But I want to enjoy the process along the way. There has been a lot of discussion lately about "modern" and "traditional" quilting.  I admire the less rigid quilting style, the kind of design-as-you go. I value the traditional construction techniques, the traditional quilt blocks that I have grown up with. They are the fabric of my heritage. It's possible to embrace both. Thanks, Crystal and Jennifer, for encouraging us to Modify Tradition!

Lately I have spent way too much time concentrating on who I'm not, and beating myself up for it.

From now on, I plan on concentrating on who I am. So far this is what I know: I am someone who adores fabric, takes pleasure in choosing it and playing with color,  enjoys the process of making the blocks, sometimes really detailed blocks, then watching the quilt top come to life by sewing the blocks together, no matter how long it takes.

So no more holding back, not just about quilting but life in general. Who I am may change in the next couple of months. But it's time to embrace that and not worry about who I'm not.

I'm curious. Who are you?


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Kristen said... #

This is a beautiful post. I am a person who loves being surrounded in beautiful fabric and quilts, but sometimes needs a kick in the pants to start making things. I love designing from scratch and I never had a mentor (I'm self taught) so I never really learned what's "traditional" and what's "modern". Although, from the looks of it I'm drawn to "modern" quilts. I like bright colors but can appreciate a more subdued palette.
I never thought I'd get into quilting. I don't like confrontations, dark chocolate, most seafood, and ketchup.
Most of all, I like a question that makes you think "Does the answer really lay in whether or not I like ketchup?" =D

Linda F. said... #

Good for YOU! I'm not the most perfect piecer, but I love the process. If I never make a show-worthy quilt...I don't care. I make my quilts for my family and friends and you know what? They love them and to me that's what matters. If we all learned to not compare ourselves to others we would be so much happier!

Crystal said... #

The only reason I’m envious of super productive quilters is because I want to create MORE. I get disappointed in myself because I want to have more things to show people (and to give away to friends/family). I want to accomplish something with my two hands and look back and think "I spent my time wisely". I don’t want to do this to keep up with other quilters, I want to do it to make myself feel good.

Unfortunately, I disappoint myself a lot...but knowing what I want is the first step to getting what I want. I'm enjoying creating the project tutorials for the Modify Tradition blog. I feel like I'm giving something back to the crafting/quilting community and that makes me feel good. I'm also working in the studio, creating with a purpose...not just sewing some stuff together to pass the time.

So, I guess, I just want to make beautiful things for beauty's make me happy and to make my friends happy. I want to spend my time doing something fun AND worthwhile. Because I'm always competing with myself...not anyone else. Because pushing myself to be better will make me a better artist and person. Comparing myself to another artist will ruin all my progress, all the work it took to find out just who I am.

Jennifer said... #

It really made me happy to read this post! I'm in the same boat you are...

Who am I? I'm a working mom, wife, friend and quilter. I love to quilt but I have also had to strike a balance. Could I crank out a quilt a week? Sure but other areas of my life would suffer because that's not who I am. :) I love modern quilts but I still love traditional blocks and hope that those patterns continue to be passed down through the generations.

For me, it is far more important to make a quilt that you can see "me" in because I have loved the process it took to make it than it is to make quilt after quilt that is made just for the sake of making one.

I hope I don't offend anyone... this all applies to me and no one else. :)


West Michigan Quilter said... #

Love this post. You are so right in what you say. I think we are all guilty of beating ourselves up. I know I am. I'm still trying to figure out what kind of a quilter I am. I love the process and I love trying new things. I think what pleases me most is getting in touch with that inner self (call it God or Spirit) when I'm in the process of building a quilt. I feel so at one with the universe. Thanks for sharing.

CitricSugar said... #

I am someone who thinks that this is a great post. And I try to enjoy all the other things I do with my time rather than be upset that I'm not doing something else. It would just be too exhausting. :-)

Letterpress said... #

Gee--do you live close to me? We'd have a great time going to lunch together, as we think alike.

Thanks--I've been interested in the "modern" quilting too, and have the same sort of approach as you. Thanks for this post.

I just need energy pills, I think, to get more done. Or a more consistent exercise program!

Anonymous said... #

Yes. There are winners and you are one of them. But not because you went higher or farther or faster. bg

Little Spouse in the Old House said... #

I really should not be commenting because I finish maybe two little quilt projects a year! But I felt like getting on my blog soap box. It sounds so cliche but it's true, God loves variety and we are all so unique. He wants us to be different.
Here's the challenge! I just saw the Percy Jackson movie and there is a scene where they were in Hades where all the dead people's "stuff" is floating off to nowhere. It made me think of all our precious possessions. If our possessions are simply that, just possessions, they will float away, burn up. But if we use our possessions, the quilts and projects we make with our hands, to help others, connect with others, and make life better for others, it can be eternal.
Be yourself! Be eternal! Love, Janice

Dresden Quilter said... #

Great post! I have definitely felt the pressure to quilt. I am just now taking a step back to find out who I am. I am a lover of pattern and design. I love the traditional blocks and I enjoy the freshness of the modern fabrics.

Sara said... #

What is the name of this quilt pattern? Also thank you for this post because I think we all feel this at times! There is SEW MUCH we can discover and create in the world of sewing that I think it's so easy to get overwhelmed. Your blog is so awesome too BTW!!! :P