Friday, July 2, 2010

The Joy of Quilting

I happened to see a picture of one of these Hello Kitty sewing machines the other day and thought it was the cutest thing ever.  At first I thought that they can't sew very well being "Hello Kitty" machines but that was before I noticed that they were made by Janome.  So, I'm assuming they sew just fine and they're so cute that I'd love to have one just to look at, (the one with the bow is "killer" although I think I like the blue one with the Kitty face and the cherries the best.)

Anyway, it got me thinking about how much joy I used to find in quilting and sewing in general.  I started very young and had many firsts; my first sundress when I was 10, my first quilt when I was 13, my wedding dress when I was....OK, that's enough about ages!  What I'm getting at is that I'm realizing that I've lost some of my joy of quilting and it's making me sad.

My last post was about finding the time to quilt.  I think that's a lot of it for me.  When I take the time to quilt I fear I'm neglecting either the business or personal sides of my life.  So, I feel guilty and can't enjoy the simple act of pulling a threaded needle through fabric.

I'm also working on finding ways to integrate my quilting skills into my business life and that's added stress to the mix.  Should I work on creating "commercial" designs or should I just do what I do and make something of that professionally?  It's a quandry for me.  I've always resisted going "commercial" as I feel like people get tired of that really fast.  If you want to be a successful designer of anything you have to have a unique look or people won't even notice your work. 

I noticed this at the last quilt show I attended.  It seemed that a lot of the booths, fabric lines, quilt designs, and books were very similar in their look.  Of course, part of this is that there are trends that everyone wants to follow.  However, I've always been the kind of person who tries to look ahead of trends, or at least to the right or left.  Being predictable isn't something I find doable, although I often wish I did.

My business life has been in the world of event services.  It's an ever changing field where what is hip now will be considered old hat next week.  Since I worked on the design end I was often called upon to come up with new ideas or find a way to update the current trends.  My boss at my last job was a woman who loved creativity but for business reasons held back on taking things further faster.  I remember a conversation I had with her once when she wanted to know what other companies were doing.  I told her that we shouldn't be worrying about what other people are doing, but that we should be doing what we do and setting trends not following them. 

My theory is that once a color combination or style shows up at Target that it's time to move on to something else.  It was hard to convince others that taking things a step further might be risky, but you aren't going to make any kind of name for yourself by playing it safe.  Putting all of your cards on the table is scary, but I learned that real joy comes from taking the chance and reaping the reward for your hard work and insight.

Maybe that's where I can find my joy again.  It's true that I've been leaning towards catering to trends and following along like a little lamb.  But I don't want to be a little lamb!  I want to be a fierce cranky creative ram with big horns and a devil-may-care attitude who doesn't get discouraged by lack of time or energy.

The joy is still there, I just need to go find it.  (It might help if I cleaned my studio, it could be hiding under that stack of fabric over there.....).

Happy Stitching!


1 comment:

quiltmom said...

Hi Susan,
I hope you find your joy for quilting again- it is a wonderful way to express one's ideas and feed one's creative spirit.
I found your blog through the article in quilters home magazine.
I am a kindergarten teacher in my professional life so I have just begun my summer break.(we start summer holidays later in Canada) I plan to get some quilting done beginning this week- I have been busy tidying up my house and getting caught up on some other things first.
Like you I need to tidy my sewing area in order to get some quilting done- sometimes the hardest part for me is getting started- or at least it is for me. Once I start I get into a quilt rhythm that it is hard for me to stop..
You can find my blog here: