This post seems quite appropriate, given that today is National Quilting Day. Who knew?
If given the chance, I would quilt or sew (specifically, quilt-y sewing) for hours a day. And when the opportunity presents itself (like today’s DMQG‘s Saturday Sew event), that is exactly what I do.
I cannot explain enough how happy I am to have met a fantastic group of women in the DMQG. These women share my passion of craft and love of fabric. We can talk for hours on end about piecing, pressing, patchwork and pretty fabric.
After spending a day with my quilting peeps working on quilting projects, I always feel re-energized. And lucky. Lucky to have people (in real life) to share my journey in this hobby and lucky to have a husband willing to play Mr. Mom with our girls (almost 5, 3 and 13 months) for a full day (or even an entire weekend, like he recently did in February for a retreat).
Since discovering modern quilting less than two years ago (May 2009), I have often wondered why this hobby resonates so strongly with me. I do not think I have ever been this passionate about an *extracurricular* activity for this length of time. Sure, other hobbies have piqued my interest and I have been passionate about them, but the passion usually slowly dissipates and the hobby gets put on the backburner for awhile (sometimes dying out completely).
After contemplating it a little more, I think the reason why quilting is here to stay for me is because it makes both sides of my brain happy. In the past, when I have taken those right brain/left brain tests, I fall smack dab in the middle, with neither side of the brain being more dominant. And based on my occupational history (as a graphic designer and project manager), I have determined that I like to spend my time being both creative and organized. I do not do well having to only do one for long periods of time.
|Left Brain||Right Brain|
Looks at parts
Attention to detail
Looks at wholes
When you think about it, quilting is very much a right brain/left brain activity. I use my right brain to figure out my block design, fabric combination, color palette, block placement and quilting design. And my left brain complementary efforts help determine the math behind how the blocks will come together, keep my fabric cuts accurate, make my seam allowance consistent, and keep my piecing precise (or as precise as it can be). The entire process is a right brain-left brain dance, if you will, with each side getting to lead when the time is right.
One of the most enjoyable steps for me in the quilting process is sketching out possible quilt designs. I do not generally follow others’ quilt patterns, but instead let other quilts and quilters inspire me. To conceptualize a future quilt, I could use the familiar-to-me program Illustrator to audition designs/patterns/colors/placement. Instead, I rather enjoy putting pencil (plus eraser) then pen and later colored pencils to paper (whereas Illustrator is on my desktop computer and me sitting in the office does not often work well with the girls). Frankly, I cannot imagine not sketching prior to quilting. I tried it a few times and generally I am not happy with the results. I am always sketching out possible quilt designs in my graph paper sketchbook and I often go to bed at night thinking about possible block designs or fabric combination or both.
I have not ever taken a quilting class. Instead, I prefer to research on my own, in my own time. I read tutorials, watch videos, read blog posts, and peruse books for ideas and information. I am grateful to live in a time when all of that is available online or from the library. As a stay-at-home-mom to two preschoolers and a baby, I do not often control my time. So, being able to learn this craft in my own time has been key.
My girls already know my love of “fav-ric” and that I like to sit at my “sheen” (sewing machine) and sew whenever possible. They already show an interest in both of those things and I look forward to teaching them how to sew and eventually make their first quilts.
I feel like I have learned a lot in the last couple of years and feel confident in my basic skill set as a quilter. I know I still have a lot to learn and I will learn through experience, peers and even more research.