An Ambitious (and therapeutic!) Challenge to Myself
Last week, we had something really rare happen: we were snowed in (well, iced in is more like it!). The south isn’t too well equipped to handle snow and ice, so we were stuck inside for four days waiting for the snow and ice to melt off the roads and sidewalks. The first day or two were fun, but by the third, we were all getting cabin fever…and my hands were getting antsy, very antsy. So I made a quilt.
I talked a little HERE about wanting to start a quilt: a big, all-consuming project that would allow me to think about and grieve my mom while making something beautiful out of the sadness. At the time, I was envisioning a big quilt from a newly-bought pattern. One where I would go to the store and pick out all the fabrics with great care, and then slowly and meticulously put it all together.
Then I was snowed in for four days, and saw THIS technique while killing time and remembered I had THIS picture tucked away on a pin board. And because I am who I am, I wanted to get started that very minute. So instead of going to a fabric store and starting a big, long project, I went to my stash. I found some fabric I loved and got to work. By the end of our snow-cation, I had a quilt top.
It’s not quire done, so these are just sneak peeks; I’m probably sewing the binding on as you read this. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I mostly show you finished projects. So why am I talking about this now? Well…because there are a lot of thoughts on my heart, and it felt right to write them out now.
Putting this very simple and quick little quilt together brought out so many more emotions than I ever expected. Even just starting to cut the fabric brought me to tears. I walked away instantly, thinking I wasn’t ready or it was too much to bare at this moment. My sister urged me to keep going, so I went back to my craft room and well….kept going.
I thought a lot about my mom as I cut it out, sewed it together, laid out the design, and quilted it. Every so often, I’d lift my eyes up and ask her how she liked it…and then I’d stop and cry for a bit because I couldn’t ask her in person. Then there were moments when a seam didn’t come together quite right or I couldn’t remember how something worked (like my walking foot!)…and I’d stop and cry for a bit because I couldn’t ask her how to fix it in person. I cried because I knew she’d be so excited to know I was working on a quilt; I cried for the texts I couldn’t send back and forth with her showing her my progress; and mostly, I cried because I miss her so much already.
I also cried because, in all honestly, I was getting frustrated because I’m not a very good quilter. It doesn’t come super easy for me, and I’m not very good at measuring and paying attention to details and following directions (all of which you have to do a lot of with quilting!). I kept saying in my head over and over “gosh, I’m just not very good at this, Mom. Maybe quilting isn’t for me.” And in those moments, I knew exactly what my mom would say right back to me if she was still here: “You just need to practice more.” And I know she’s right. That’s how she was so good at every craft she did – she practiced…A LOT!
So guess what, friends! Guess whose going to practice her quilting? This girl. Not just to better my skills, but to cope and grieve and process and think and dream. I do all of those things when I sew, and I need more of that in my life right now. I’m not quite ready to fill you in on every last detail, but in addition to my mom’s death, there are some other intensely emotional things going on in my life right now. And I am yearning for something to throw myself into, and this just feels really right right now.
Because I’m an all-or-nothing type personality, I was originally thinking, “I’ll do a quilt a week!” (Picture me saying that with a big, strong voice, my hands on my hips and my chest puffed out strong!). And then reality set in. While a quilt a week might be possible, it’s certainly not realistic…because there are other things I like and want to do (like re-paint all that furniture sitting in my garage!), and I know all that sewing would burn me out. But a quilt a month? That’s something I could do. And something I’m going to do.
In the next eight or so months, I have a lot of time to fill (and also a lot of thinking and crying to do!), so I am going to spend a big chunk of it hovered over my sewing machine. Don’t worry, this isn’t turning into a quilting or sewing blog, but expect me to pop in here and there, between my room makeover and furniture painting posts, with pictures of my latest quilting creation. And if I don’t, you have every right to ask me what happened to my ambitious quilting hopes!
I don’t have any plans to do anything too difficult – I just want to play with some fun fabrics and turn them into some fun and funky designs. Here’s a few on my “Wanna Try” list:
See, nothing here is too wild or difficult but good projects to keep my hands busy and my heart happy. Who knows how this will play out. Maybe I’m being silly and overly optimistic and won’t make a single one, but maybe not. It’s been a long time since I’ve challenged myself to something (and I’m sure not taking on another marathon anytime soon!). I thrive when faced with a challenge, especially those involving projects and deadlines. I think this type of challenge is just what the doctor ordered right now!
Oh – and for those of you who caught the eight-month timeframe: It’s not because there is a baby on the way. If you’re the kind of spouse just like me with a husband just like mine, then you probably know what I’m getting at. For everyone else, I’ll fill you in in due time. Promise.
Off to my sewing machine 😉