September 29, 2014

Cutting and Sewing

For me, quilts are usually free-hand affairs. I could probably save time and the occasional blister from not-sharp-enough scissors by using a rotary cutter but that's not my style. I made this quilt over the past couple of weeks as a gift for a soon to be new baby in the family. I love playing with color and patterns and as I worked on it I realized how much making this quilt captured the spirit of most of my creative endeavors.

It starts with inspiration and excitement about a new idea. The early stages take planning and cutting fabric and, in this case, figuring out how many squares and triangles to cut. After planning, the work begins. Sewing the same seams over and over isn't as exciting as scheming about the design, but it is a necessary part of the process. After some of this practical work, I have to figure out whether my idea will actually come together and determine if I need to do more sewing and cutting.

In nearly every project there is a moment, or moments, of doubt. I see my original vision disappear and worry that my free-hand approach will lead to disaster. There are times when it does but more often I keep working and the project turns a corner. The results of my work become something better, though different, than what I imagined. When I can see my work turning into something I love, I again feel the excitement about the project. Then there are the finishing touches like quilting, binding, snipping threads which can take just as long as the rest of the work.

I often wish that I was more inclined to follow a pattern that would always yield precise, predictable results. But I can't keep myself from jumping in and forgoing step by step instructions for my own ideas, challenges and whims.

How do you find joy in creating?

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