{Why} I Do What I Do…

4 09 2010

Rachel, of Stiched in Color, asked readers why we chose handmade.  “{Why}?  What got you started?  What keeps you going?  Why is it worth it?”

Honestly, I’d never really sat down and given this much thought.  Weird, right?

So here’s my attempt at muddling out the winding, and often freaky, trails of my mind…

I craft because I choose to put something out there that is as pure a distillation of my creativity as I can manage.  Fabric, thread, and batting just happen to be my tools of choice at the moment, and few things inspire me so much as the colors and patterns in a print.  

I love the satisfaction I have when I look as something I’ve finished.  Sure, that satisfaction is all wrapped up in threads and knots of anxiety and should-have-dones and perceived mistakes, but I finished.  I can look at those finished pieces and see the hours of my life that have gone into them.  You’d think that mentally tallying the hours that went into a project would actually serve as a deterrent to returning to quilting, but it doesn’t.  It actually drives me back to the sewing table, because what empty hours those would have been!

I do this because this is my time, my freedom to be (or not), my time to simply express.  I work out a lot of stress, tension, and aggravation when I’m quilting.  Actually, it might be better to say that I transcend those things.  When I’m in the right head-space for quilting, time and my problems melt away, and I can view all those things that were bothering me from a completely different place, gaining perspective that wasn’t there before.  You’d be amazed at the number of concurrent tracks that are running through my brain when I’m in the zone!

I put so much of myself into my crafts.  You can tell my favorite patterns and colors from the things that I’ve made.  You can tell when I’ve felt adventurous, and see when I had my “Aha!” moment.  Most of all, you can see the caring.  I want my son (and anyone else I’ve ever made a quilt for) to know how much I love him, every time he wraps himself in a quilt that I made.

Finally, I do this because I love the history and tradition.  I may do things differently from those who came before, and see color and shape in a unique manner, but that’s okay.  I love looking at modern quilts and seeing the ties to older quilts, despite the startling variations in color, theme, shape, and symmetry.  For me, each quilt is another thread tying me closer to those who came before, those who made because it was make do, or do without, and those who made because it was a fashion statement and a challenge to their skills.

For a hobby that I picked up on a whim, with little more than a handful of scraps, a library book, and needle and thread purloined from my mother’s sewing box, quilting fulfills so many of the niches in my soul.




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