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Quilting Without Fear

I’ve been quilting for nearly three years and never once been able to let go and allow myself to be creative.

Sure, I’ve created some pretty artistic wall hangings, but I’ve never been able to just cut loose and really play.  Looking back on my knitting, crocheting, sewing, and jewelry making I see the same pattern over and over.  I never feel “right” experimenting with something new until I’ve seen someone else try it first.

It’s really silly and very limiting too.  Sort of like only being able to jump into the deep end of the pool only after you’ve watched your big sister do it first.  I love to buy new fabrics, books, paints, feet for my sewing machine, but when it comes to actually using these items, most of the time I’m just not brave enough.

But I’ve decided to change.  I’m putting aside my fears in quilting.  My fears of making a quilt that’s ugly, a failure, or trying a technique that doesn’t work and turns my quilt top into a ball of fabric, not a glorious flat wall hanging.

I’ve been letting my inner negative voice limit my ability to create something terrific.  Who cares if the back of my quilt has knots and puckers and lint sewed in?  Who’s judging it as “wrong” except for me?  Why the hell do I have to make corners match up on an art quilt and who ever said that to be a quilt you should only use 3 layers?

No, I’m not going to become one of those “everything goes” quilters that just gob on a whole lot of stuff and hope it makes sense at the end.  But I do want to look at my quilting studio with more hope and inspiration than I’ve experienced in the past years.

Most of this is due to a quilt I made recently.  This titanic monster quilt was the bear in my studio for a whole year (which is a really long time for me).  Mixing precision piecing and appliqué, this should be my favorite quilt of all time, but it isn’t.

In fact I hate this quilt because I feel that I made it for all the wrong reasons.  I made it to prove that I was a good quilter.  Satisfying your inferiority complex is no reason to make a quilt.  Right now it rests on my dining room wall and I really hate it more every day.

I don’t need a big, impressive quilt to prove that I’m good.  I don’t need to piece 1 1/2″ squares precisely just to prove that I’m worth looking at.  And you don’t either.

Next time you step into your studio, pay attention to how you feel.  Listen for that negative voice to wake up and start telling you you shouldn’t try anything new.  Listen for it to limit you and hold you back to whatever “safe” place you’ve been sitting in for awhile.  Then tell that voice to stick it in its ear.

Go make a quilt and check fear at the door.

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2 Responses

  1. I love this post! I am adding a link to it! You have an awesome attitude!

  2. Thanks! I wrote it when I was feeling pretty bogged down. It’s always nice to put a little attitude into your quilting studio.

    Let’s go quilt!

    Leah Day

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