It’s been a while since we had a good discussion here, and I’ve been spending a lot of time this fall thinking about quilting and my goals. I am taking a class for the first time since I left college, and it is prompting me to dive in a little deeper and think more about my current actions and future goals. I guess I just feel ready to talk about some of what I am working through and one of the first and biggest topics that I’ve been pondering is why I quilt.
Beyond the straight forward initial answers that come to my mind, “I quilt as a creative outlet. I quilt to create physical hugs for friends and family. I quilt to be a part of a caring, generous community of like-minded creatives.” and so on, I quilt because there is a healing aspect to the process of cutting up perfectly good fabric into small pieces and sewing it back together again.
I have had a few days in the past month when it has been really, really noisy in my mind. I sometimes call it monkey mind where thoughts jump and swing around with energy that I feel like I have no control over. Sometimes I can slip into a distortion where my mind can play an event over enough times that I become convinced of something that is no longer related to reality. I have learned a few things over the years that help me when I get into these states of mind and I am ready to calm down: I can take deep breaths, I can meditate, and I can quilt. And usually the thing that I can do the most easily on my own is quilt, and then I can calm enough to start breathing deeply or consider a guided meditation.
On a related topic, I’ve been thinking about what I believe and want other quilters to believe. I want you to believe that you are creative; that there is no such thing as failure; that you are doing your best work right now; that the secret to success is to show up, try, learn, modify, and repeat; but most importantly, for people who believe that they do not have enough time to quilt or do some kind of hand craft, I want you to believe that you can accomplish big things in repeated, small amounts of time.
I treasure the sanity that quilting helps me cultivate, and sometimes it is good for me to step back and appreciate all that it offers.
These are a few of the reasons I quilt. Why do you quilt? Do you do any other form of handcrafting (knitting, embroidery, weaving) or crafting (scrap-booking, baking, coloring) and are the reasons that you do those crafts differ?
I also really like to color and I find it can be like a combination of mindful meditation and the zen like state of “flow” that I can achieve when I am quilting. I can’t always achieve the state of flow when I am quilting, but doing something that is repetitive and requires concentration like quilting or coloring can be another great way for me to find a state of inner calm.
I really look forward to hearing from you, and as always in these discussions, be sure to read the comment because so many of you are very generous with your thoughts.
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