Saturday, January 03, 2009

Guts and glory

Like just about everybody else, I've been trying to figure out what my quilting goals are for the new year. Finish my UFO's? Get rid of stash? Take a class? Blog more often? What???

This morning I had an ah-ha! moment, a flash of insight so brilliant that it has to work for me. And here it is: I'm going to work on those projects that will make my gut feel good. I know, I know, it doesn't sound like a plan and it certainly doesn't sound brilliant. But it's just what I need to push myself and to feel good about what I've accomplished. Here's why:

Quilting is my hobby, which means it's something I do for fun. Right? Apparently not, because I sometimes stress about it. So then it's not a stress-reliever, it's a stress producer. I need to get rid of whatever makes me feel bad about my hobby. And what is that? I feel bad that I don't let myself work on projects that are really creative because I don't know whether I can be creative. In the end, that's what I will regret -- not that my sewing room was messy, not that I have several UFO's, not that there are skills I have not mastered, but that I have been afraid to follow my own creative instincts.

So I'm starting small. Quilt Pixie is doing a block a week to improve her piecing skills, and I thought I'd do something similar to give my creativity an opportunity to come out and play. I need new potholders anyway, so I thought I'd try some ideas there. How about a wonky log cabin potholder? I love how a tiny project looks great big on my blog!
My only rule for practicing creativity is that I have to start the creativity-jogging project. Once I'm started, I'm usually okay. (It's that "energy of activation" stuff from chemistry class -- it takes more energy to start than to keep going.) I don't love this potholder top, but I like it fine and I feel great about the process -- I didn't know where I was going with it, but I let it develop as I went.

And on a completely different note, I finished the three borders of an I Spy that started as a way to make use of leaders and enders, a la Bonnie. Still need to quilt it. (And don't you hate how those great big projects look so tiny in a photo? It's the same size as the potholder!)

I wish you all a wonderful 2009 -- I know my year will be better for sharing it with my blogging friends. May we all find the guts to aim for our true goals!

27 comments:

Exuberant Color said...

I think maybe you have let the quilt police in your house one time too many if quilting stresses you. I LOVE the potholder block. It is free and fun and exciting! Play as often as you like and don't let those police bother you.

Quilt Pixie said...

your 2009 goal sounds wonderufl! absolutely liberating, and right! I hope you can indeed find the "fun creative muse" coming out to play as often as you want :-)

Catherine said...

I adore your potholder!! You're quilting because you enjoy it -- and you should do what you want, not what you think will satisfy the quilt police!
I can't wait to see what you do next!

Magpie Sue said...

I think the potholder is fun! And so is the I Spy top :- )

Good for you to decide to go with your gut. I'm setting a similar goal for myself.

jillytacy said...

I like the happy gut theory and motivation! I think it's going to work. You shouldn't stress about your hobby and you should have lots of opportunities to just experiment and be creative! So just create and have fun quilting in 2009!

Norma said...

I agree that if you let it, quilting can cause stress. So hope your plan of attack to enjoy your hobby more this year is successful. Sounds like you are off to a good start. The new block a week sounds great and wow, just think what you will learn in 52 weeks/blocks! Might have to try a variation of that myself.

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

you ARE creative. now have some fun. Make lots of backs for quilts being as wild and creative as you want. then if you want to (and still need to) then you can make a front for it to, ala Otto's quilt.

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

you ARE creative. now have some fun. Make lots of backs for quilts being as wild and creative as you want. then if you want to (and still need to) then you can make a front for it to, ala Otto's quilt.

Joyce said...

Good luck with the creative projects. Love the potholder. Great fabrics for the kitchen. It would make anyone feel like cooking!

True Blue Nana said...

I understand what you are saying about "quilt stress". I feel the same sometimes. I have a hard time thinking of myself as creative so I push myself in that direction. I like your wonky log cabin. I just love how fabrics look when you cut them in smaller pieces.

Cher said...

you are a creative person! I hope you embrace that truth about yourself and have a fabulous and fun year of discovering all the joy in quilting.
I have spent a bit of time catching up and all your quilts are wonderful Cherie.

Libby said...

Excellent resolution. Kind of hits a chord with me since I have had such a regimented approach lately. I'm sure you will do great things this year...and are off to a great start!

jacquie said...

dang good one! have a ball!

Clare said...

I love the fabrics you chose for the pot holder.

Of course you are creative! Developing as you go is probably one of the best forms of creativity. So go out there and create!

xx

Mark Patro said...

When one of my projects starts to stress me I move on to another temporarily. I do this with painting too. At the moment I have the one posted on my blog as my main focus. Today I mention a new project I have begun because I found my sketch book under the sofa while I was looking for my glasses yesterday morning. (I can't seem to read email without them theses days.) The third project is one I am quilting by hand. That one usually stays on the back burner. There is no completion goal for that one.

And I agree with the other commenter, I love the fabrics you used...especially the plumbs, but then I am drawn to purple if you haven't noticed... :)

sewkalico said...

Absolutely agree. Some of my UFO's will forever be UFO's because they were a process, a time in my life, whatever, but they are not something I want to waste valuable time on now!

Love your potholder and I-spy quilt, but then I like most everything you do!!

Happy 2009!!

em's scrapbag said...

I think your 2009 goal is creatively wonderful. I look forward to seeing where all this creativity leads. I'm sure we are in for great things.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Ironic isn't it ~ I sat in my studio yesterday for the first time in ages and looked at the Thimbleberries charm squares that came to live at my house last November as part of a goodie basket after Vortex was chosen as a Viewer's Choice award winner... we all know I don't do Thimbleberries colors, yet I felt I HAD to use those charm squares... until yesterday. I packed them up and have given them away ~ they made me feel dreary and obligated and that is NOT what I want to feel when I'm able to spend time with my fabrics.

Here's to listening to our guts and our hearts and following our intuition! Go for the joy!!

Finn said...

Hi Cheri, just popping in to wish you a very happy new year!! I love your post, thoughtful and reflective. Sometimes I think we have to take a step back and remember that it's possible to 'love' each step or stage of the quilt making process. It seems we forget that in our rush to complete more and more, and do them better and better. There really aren't any rules about that. Feeling good about the stage your in is pretty nice *VBS* Personally, I adore your 'new project'...gotta LOVE those fabrics! And the I Spy is wonderful, the black and white adds so much excitment! You just keep doing it, ok?? Big hugs, Finn

ROZ said...

I agree--you know that old saying: "No guts, no glory."

Tracey in CT said...

Happy New Year, Cheri!
I've decided that I'm not setting any quilting goals for this year. No "finish X number of UFOs", "use this much stash", etc.
My goal is to work on what I want to work on when I want to work on it. If I get rid of some UFO's great, if not, thats okay too...some of those projects have already served their purpose (try new technique, experiment with color combination, etc). I'm just not going to worry about it.

Trying to de-stress my life and not pressure myself so much. I need to enjoy this and have fun, if I don't , why bother quilting?? :-)

audreypawdrey said...

The ispy quilt is great! I love scrappy projects and what a way to use leftover bits of fabric. One of my goals is to try to finish ufo's but I am giving myself permission to to start new ones to.

miniaturequilter said...

I feel the same way sometimes, it changes from a hobby to another thing that needs to be done-stress. Sounds like you have a good plan to make it continue to be fun. Best wishes!
PS Love the I-Spy!

Belvie said...

Sounds as if you have things under control for a wonderful 2009. I like your plan to start small. I know always make the mistake of starting with a project that is too big.

Here's to a wonderful, productive, stress-free 2009!

Tami said...

What a perfect resolution for 2009 - enjoy your hobby!!! You're absolutely right, quilting shouldn't produce stress but relieve it. :-)

Victoria said...

Great post and wonderful resolution! Also, love your I spy quilt! I've never made one, but keep meaning too, they look like such fun!

Carole said...

Lovely I spy quilt! Enjoy 2009!