Wednesday, January 16, 2019

a little sewing and maybe too much thinking?

I've been sewing on the graduation quilt for a couple of days now.  There are 20 columns to sew and I've gotten 16 of them done...

The first few columns I carefully draped over my ironing board to see that they would line up correctly.  It sure looks like they're going to be okay, so now, to save space on the board to actually iron things, I've stacked them up in just one stack.

I decided to sew each of these one column at a time.  That means I needed a leader-ender project.  What better than some of those tiny stars!

I completed 12 tiny stars between 16 columns.  So that means in order to sew the remaining four columns, I need to start three more tiny stars.  Math!!!

So the thinking part...

In the past few days I've come across a few blog posts and articles that all, in my feeble mind, seem to fit together.  Maybe they won't fit to you, but I wanted to share them.

First, I've started following a blog called Elefantz, written by a talented gal named Jenny.  What got me started reading her blog are the adorable, feminine-looking embroideries she does and combines with quilty techniques.  But she is doing a book study with the book "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" by Jane Brocket.  I don't have the book, but it has struck a chord with me, the things that Jenny discusses and quotes from the book.  This week she talked about the difference between the necessary and the creative parts of managing a household.  I never thought about it that way, but it's exactly what I am doing - in the mornings I do chores and, when those are completed, I get to do the fun things - sewing, reading, even just simply snuggling my kitties.  She also talks about letting go of the perfectly clean, sparkling tidy homes we see on television as a goal.  Now don't get me wrong, my house will never be THAT clean, but it felt like someone was giving me permission that I could clean some and then allow myself to have fun.  I don't have to feel guilty about my house not being perfect.

And then I ran across an article "Craft Is Not Trivial" and enjoyed every word.  This was the first post by this author I have read and I definitely want to read more.  Felicia, the author, talks about how crafting has been horribly stereotyped as something that is less than so many other pursuits, like academics, sports and even art.  How folks who do crafty things aren't taken seriously in their endeavors.  And I thought about my journey as a quilter.  I started making quilts in 1994 (with much help from my mom in those early years!), but was essentially a closet quilter.  I didn't make many (I was in college when I started and just having the time, space and extra money to do that was difficult enough!) at the start, but I also didn't really tell anyone.  The few friends who got quilts from me (baby quilts to start), were probably surprised.  Or thought my mom had made them.  Because my mom was much less of a closet quilter, but as a mother of college-age kids, it was more acceptable that she pursued these "grandmotherly" interests.  For many years, probably at least 10, I only told you I was a quilter if I really got to know you and trust you.  Because I felt like my crafty adventures would make a person think less of me.  Why I felt that way, I can't explain, but I would list "reading" and "gardening" on forms that asked for hobbies.  (And to me gardening deserves quotes because mostly I cultivated a weed patch that I wrestled in the late summer to gather tomatoes!  I've since given up and just purchase tomatoes to can from a local farm every few years.)  I even joined a quilt guild with my mom during those closet years, but only the members knew what I was doing.  Eventually, I've come to embrace being a quilter, but I often still get odd looks.  You?  "You're too young" they say.  Or "Quilting?"  As though they must have heard me wrong.  So the passive-shaming continues.  But through my blog and the local quilt guild, I have found like-minded friends who I can share my creations with and not feel self-conscious.  This article presented a more scholarly look at why I've felt the way I have about quilting.  But I'm not sure it will make me shout "I'm a quilter" from the rooftops.  Not yet.

Finally, I'm in a kinda rogue book club on facebook.  There's a singer/songwriter that I love who started this.  He's a music nerd and a book nerd and fesses up to both.  His instagram account often has photos of stacks of books he's bought and cozy bookstores he's found while touring.  And he reads like a maniac.  So he started a book club.  And because it's online, there have been some funny memes...  One of them dealt with Marie Kondo and her method of decluttering and how few books she feels a person should have.  And then I came across an article talking about how her method of purging and tidying should not be applied to books.  It made so much sense to me and I feel it ties in with the other two articles.  This article considers books art, which I agree with, but I also think crafty pursuits are also, see, in my brain, these all fit together.  But I enjoyed this article as well because the author talks about how art (books) should challenge us.  I feel the same way about crafty things.  And I don't mean every quilt you make should be an art quilt for a fancy challenge.  I mean that we get to choose to try new techniques.  Use fabrics that are non-traditional.  Sometimes what looks like a simple pattern turns into a nightmare of a challenge, but we persevere because we want that quilt so bad (remember my Arcadia Avenue top?).  And the one thing that I read and really liked was that unread books are imagined futures, not failures.  I think our fabric stashes are exactly that.  We haven't failed to make a quilt with them yet, we're dreaming how they could make something beautiful, as yet unimagined, somethings.

So there's my ramblings.  I hope they make sense.

But I feel all smart this week.  I don't often come across this many writings that speak to me...maybe I'm not reading enough?  (Ha!)

Time to decide if I'm gonna tackle those last few columns of graduation quilt and tiny stars or just snuggle the kitties for a while...I have to work tomorrow, so it's probably best I don't get myself wrapped up in anything too involved so I can get a good night sleep!

Happy quilting!

PS We can't have a post without a photo of a cat, right?  So here's Freddie...learning to help sew in the manner of Emma-No.

PPS I also forgot I had this Freddie photo.  A long time ago, one of the APQ blogging buddies, Beth, knitted me some microbes.  They were tucked away in my sewing room, but today Freddie found cholera.  He has been having such fun with it, I couldn't bear to take it away from him...

(note the look on sister Gabby's face!)

PPPS I didn't research the Marie Kondo method, so if the article, or the way I represented it is wrong, my apologies...


---"Love" said...

Your blog definitely demands a lot of thinking things through. Today, after another doctor's appointment, I have been going through old quilt magazines. No, not turning the pages, or even looking at the index, but tying up each kind with selvages, then attempting to decide what I really want to do with them. Just like quilt books, I have too many magazines, yet I'm not sure I'm ready to part with them in my ongoing de-cluttering. After all, they do provide pleasure as well as instruction (but they do take up a lot of space!). Maybe I'll share with my DIL (and let her store some of them until she can look through them.) ---"Love"

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Love your ramblings!! They make perfect sense to me!! When I was working, my quilting was my "stress reliever" - I would show quilts to clients and most of them humored me but really didn't want to be bothered - they didn't "sew". So - years later - one of them is now a past-president of the local guild - guess she learned how to "sew" since I saw her last - LOL. Kondo's book came out years ago - but just recently showed up on Netflix, I think - anyway - those who haven't read her book are now discovering her methods of "de-cluttering" - good for them - ;))

P.S. Freddie found cholera - too funny!!

P.P.S. - Gabby thinks he's nuts - ;))

Marsha B said...

I love the colors in the graduation quilt, it will be so pretty! Those little stars are just darling, that will make such a cute quilt. I have followed Jenny of Elefantz for a long time and always find what she talks about interesting and her embroidery projects are pretty, too. I think the beginning of a new year gets people thinking about cleaning and organizing more than any other time. It is always to good to declutter but still hang on to the things that have a true meaning. Freddie is so adorable, love all the kittie pictures!