You may recall this post asking whether or not you thought quilts had feelings, too. We remarked at the time that we would have an ongoing series of posts on the topic and we are thrilled that Kristyne Czepuryk, author of the upcoming title S is for Stitch is our first guest.
If you don’t follow her blog, Pretty by Hand, you’ll definitely want to check it out—she has a lovely writing style that is sweet but not sappy, a beautiful aesthetic, and she’s as talented in sharing her skills as she is in executing them!
Take it away, Kristyne!
“Feelings … nothing more than … feelings.”
Sorry. I have this thing where sometimes just a single word will remind me of a song and then I’ll start singing. Apparently, it’s a very annoying habit, according to my family. I suppose they wouldn’t mind so much if I sounded … less annoying.
However. As I was saying. Feelings—with regard to quilting—is what I’ve been asked to talk about today. I think I could write forever on the subject because quilting has been a big part of my life since I made my first quilt in 1986. But I’ll try to keep my response down to something shorter than War & Peace.
When I think about quilting in general, I feel excited about (almost) every step of the creative process. For me, that process usually starts with fabric.
Oh, sweet intoxicating fabric. I always feel a little excitement in my chest when I step inside a fabric/quilt shop and anticipate what I’ll find, what will inspire me, and hopefully what will come home with me.
Choosing what I buy is very emotional. I tend to select things based purely on how pretty a fabric is to my eye and how happy I feel when I look at it. That said, I’m a seasoned veteran in the battle between how much fabric I’d like/need vs. how much I can afford. C’est la vie, right?
Then there’s the planning. I find the designing of a quilt the most creative part of the process. It is often the most rewarding part for me because I can imagine something perfect. And it remains perfect … in my head … until I start to make it.
It’s the executing that I think I struggle with the most. Not because I don’t know how to sew, but because a quilt almost never turns out just as good as—or even better than—I saw it in my mind. Now don’t get me wrong, I like the things I make (although some projects do turn out to be huge mistakes!). I just seem to be on a lifelong quest to make the ultimate quilt … one that lives up to my imagination’s expectation. After 25 years, I’m still thoroughly enjoying the challenge.
But there’s another part of quilt making that I absolutely adore. Looking at all these things from my sewing room …
… all these tools I rely on so much. I feel like they’re my friends. I have a very personal relationship with them. I know them by name. I know what they do. I know how to use them. There’s a certain level of … competency … that comes with this knowledge. Yes, I feel competent when I make a quilt. That’s not the same as saying I’m perfect. Far from it! There are always imperfections in my work that are the result of everything from haste to laziness to simply not knowing any better. (I’m a work in progress myself.) But at least I usually know what to expect when I cut corners or go too fast or work way past my bedtime. And I’m good with that. Or I know I can fix it later. Which I rarely do.
Sometimes I feel a little nervous when I’m about to try something new. Or cranky when something isn’t turning out right. If my seam ripper had a nickel for every time I used it …
But all those frustrations make the successes so much sweeter, don’t they? Patience and perseverance—they build character. (Sorry, I accidentally turned into my mom for a second there.)
So at the end of the day, quilting makes me happy—“characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy”. In fact, I can say that quilting is a passion for me. To have a passion and be able to pursue it … well … that’s priceless. And for that, I feel grateful. Very grateful.
I think I need a hug now. Thanks for listening.