Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quilty Stuffs

Did you know March was "National Quilting Month"? Me neither. But I saw it in print and decided to put down those knitting needles, embrace the spring rays filtering in, and get some quilty inspiration. (I know, I know, it's May now. But we've been busy.) The results:

I was a bit rusty, not having machine-quilted, well, ever actually. All of the quilts I've previously made were hand-tacked, not quilted. So, perhaps more than rusty, I was green. Happily, that was fun and interesting and not frustrating. I do think there will be more of this in my future. Even though the time involved is magnitudes of order greating than tacking, the end result is worth it I think. I recently read an interview of Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated (a great Montessori-ish blog I check out). She said:
When I sit down to sew (when it’s simply for leisure and not for my work), I have a renewed focus on the process itself, rather than the product. Because it takes so much longer to complete a project now that I have a little one zooming about the house on hands and knees, the focus needs to be on the process, as the product may take months to complete.
Which I thought was pretty cool. I mean, that's what it comes down to, the process, not necessarily the finished product. And I so often focus on it the other way around. In fact, Darling and I were discussing this and I'm not all that sure that I actually enjoy sewing for sewing's sake. Maybe I need to wear more lipstick. Meg goes on to say:
I’ve also let go of the idea that creativity means making “stuff.” It’s something that I’ve thought a lot about lately, the product-oriented drive to make more and more stuff, even if it is handmade. Things need to stay simple around here with a crawling baby, and less stuff (of all kinds) helps keep our home peaceful. This awareness helps keep my expectations reasonable. I’m trying to broaden my definition of creativity to include things like baking bread, arranging a shelf, choosing an outfit, or coming up with hand motions for a song that I sing with my son. Ephemeral creativity, I call it. It’s more of an attitude toward life focused on bringing beauty and thoughtfulness into everyday actions than making “things.” Things are great, mind you – especially handmade things – but those things are that much more special if they have a long gestational period in your hands rather than a make-it-quick-before-the-baby-wakes-up feeling that I sometimes find myself battling.
Hmmm. Less stuff. Finding creativity in other ways. Anyway, I thought it was a lovely concept. And since I suck at embracing the process, maybe I'll just redefine creativity. I read recently (in a random book left in our Chicago hotel room) that people who spend money on events (such as vacation, or a trip, or a meal together) feel significantly greater satisfaction than people who spend money buying things. It has to do with a memory and feeling of the event lasting longer than an object. Back again to process.

So we'll see where all of this goes. Quilting and stuff and being present and being creative. Well, here's to making things handmade (which feels good!), as well as spring and clearing clutter ('cuz that feels good too!). And oh yeah, my goal was to finally finish this quilt by the boy's birthday - but it's not happening. It's all a work in progress around these parts.


  1. well, maybe you do enjoy the process--once it's behind you. like, I'm sure you look at one of your hand-sewn things and like it especially because you made it from scratch. If you were to buy the identical thing in a store, you might take less satisfaction in it. Like your bathroom: you probably really enjoy that now. But maybe you didn't so much when your head was stuck underneath the sink, hooking up the plumbing.

  2. hmmm. I think I like that perspective!