Sunday, January 13, 2013

I have no desire to make a rag quilt.

I don't want to hem those pants either.

And I have no desire to sew a new jacket for your dog (yes he is cute).


Is there an easier way to say this? I'm not sure. When people assume I am interested in those types of sewing my mind wants to launch into a discussion about art vs craft or sewing being my creative outlet vs just something to do. The average person doesn't want to discuss this. They just thought that I sew so I wouldn't mind sewing whatever needed to be sewn. 

Here are my thoughts. I have a really strong desire to create. I want to make something. If I'm not able to sew for a few days then I find myself doodling a lot, or planning out my next quilt in a sketch book. I'll use that time to gather inspiration online using flickr and pinterest. Etc. If I'm too busy to quilt it doesn't just go to the back burner - it runs through my head in every moment of down time. I want to create.

I don't really enjoy repeating things a zillion times. Some artists / quilters do. They enjoy it. I don't. I like to use a minimal few quilt blocks, or add some element that makes it a real challenge (shrinking the blocks to a tiny size, blowing the blocks up to a huge size, adding curves or drafting by hand, etc). I don't love repetition. I want to be completely IN the moment. I like to be focused, considering all my options for the next step, considering possible design elements to change or add. I like to be mentally present for each stitch.

This way of quilting defines my quilts. My quilting is as much about the process as it is about the finished product. I like to enjoy the process, challenge myself, and learn new things. 

The desire for a creative outlet also inspires me to write about my quilting. My mind wanders while I sew, I think about the possibilities of each step. I think about what makes me decide to use this block or that fabric. I also think about inspiration sources that I'm drawing from (online, from work my guild friends have made, architecture  etc). I like to document that - sometimes you'll see blog posts from me that have a ton of links. These are things that I'm considering and drawing from as I work. I've always kept a journal in one way or another. This is my catalog ideas.

So no. I don't want to make an easy quilt. Or make something just to get it done. I want to pour my heart into it, and savor every moment. (So go ahead and buy your dog a cute jacket at PetCo). 


  1. I hear you! :) By the way, I love that calligraphy print fabric - what is it?

  2. I used to make a lot of knitted items. I just could not bring myself to more than one of things (apart from mittens or socks of course) But people used to ask my all the time to make them an identical item. I was very often given a list of jumpers people wanted me to knit for them. It didn't register that each one would take me around 60-100 hours to complete!

  3. Wish I could tell everyone "what you said" but sometimes I need the money to buy more fabric...

  4. Well said. My personal favorite is when my Mom sees something she likes "Oh, you could make that"

  5. This is why I struggle with my weekly quilting group. My quilt guild never seems to have more than 6 or 8 people, and then there's the whole food issue - I don't cook, so I don't care about it, and yet, every time we meet, we have to sign up for something. If I could always bring dessert it wouldn't be a hassle, but the president pressures those of us who don't bring a "main" dish every month. It's like it's not even worth my time for the trouble to go there. I got a little exited when I saw that we were going to do a BOM with each month being led by a different member (I'm in December) but then I realized that it's not really a skill-building exercise unless you go to the online tutorial at some other time. We're just supposed to bring the block and talk about it a bit. What a downer. :-/

    Getting back to my weekly group, this is made up of a bunch of ladies at Gilda's Club (for us cancer folks), and there is one lady there who'd never made any other kind of quilt other than a rag quilt. She's been going to this group FOR YEARS. I am by no means an advanced quilter, but I am so far ahead of everyone in this group that I have no one I can learn from. I actually like to sew other things as well, but the pants-hemming, zipper-replacing kind of stuff is not my gig for the same reasons that you mention. Sewing like that, well, if I really needed money and couldn't put food on the table, okay. But there's nothing fun or creative about tasks such as those, so I always just plead ignorance when someone asks.

  6. apparently i don't want to either. i had planned to because some local mommies were doing it and i needed mommy time, but we got together and had fun and did not quilting. not i have tons of blocks for a rag quilt and it will probably never get made. ha! i love this post.

  7. Ditto
    Double Ditto with Cherries On Top.
    You said it so well.
    I nearly lost the will to carry on this week when I got myself into sewing 23 aprons for the dance school - white polyester repetitive hell. Urghhhhh.
    I am so glad to find kindred spirits on the same page as me. xxxx

  8. Oh Emily you are so eloquent! So many fellow quilters/ sewers seem to share your sentiment. Including me ! If i had written this post i would have exactly the same things! Thanks for ' representing'.