Thanks to Betty the Geek for this week's This is... theme. I had a good think about this, and here is the best thing I have created in the last couple of years (excluding my kids, which are by far my best 'collaborative' creation").
OK, I'd better elaborate. Like many people I suppose, my head is almost always full of incessant chatter. Always thinking, worrying, working through scenarios - just the usual sort of thing. Before I had kids, I used to do yoga, and the meditation session at the end of a workout was the only time that I noticed a quietening of the internal 'noise', when I could just calmly lie on a yoga mat and enjoy the feeling of stillness and quiet. So I decided to try and cultivate a little of this 'mental' space, so that I could access it whenever I wanted/needed to, rather than only after a strenuous workout, and with a guided meditation.
And with a lot of practice I have done just that. The thinking and chattering is often still there, but I seem to notice it more, and don't get caught up in the drama of it. This in itself gives me a lot more space. And one of the best things about having a little space? It seems that one of the things that likes to pop up in the middle of a quiet space, is creativity!
I've read a number of times about people who meditate to enhance their creativity, or who feel they lose their creativity when they stop doing yoga. Amazing huh! And bizarrely enough, it was only just after I started making an effort to cultivate a little stillness, and be more aware of my internal 'noise' that I had such a strong urge to learn to sew.
And the rest is history. I sew more, I stress less, I stop and smell the flowers. It's all good!
On a much more literal note, I also do have an actual physical creation to show you.
I'm trying not to be too critical about it, as it is my first ever attempt at a quilt, and I decided to just jump in and do it. Following a pattern? Learning a bit about quilting techniques? Nah!!!! "I'll just wing it. Best way to learn" I told myself. Well it was true, I did learn a lot. But I can't help but feel that with just a little more preparation and buying a few important tools (walking foot - why don't I have a walking foot!!) before-hand might have made this quilt a cracker! Ah well, my son loves it (it is a train quilt, of course he was always going to love it:P), and that is what is most important. Please excuse the bike helmet - it is a new one and my son insisted on wearing it all day...
So the main things I learnt about quilting by making this were:
* Cutting out is REALLY important. You should actually measure and mark before cutting. Cutting things out freehand makes things a WHOLE lot harder. Looking back now, I can't believe I thought I could cut everything out by sight. What was I thinking?
* Cut the selvages off FIRST (DUH!!!!!). I can't believe I have to write this! I will simply say that in my big rush to get this quilt done (it is my practise quilt as I need to make one for my sister whose baby is due in 3 weeks, so I wanted to get one under my belt first) I just forgot! And once I'd cut everything out I realised what I'd done. But to cut them off would have changed the dimensions (rough as they were) so I left them. I thought about just doing bigger seam allowances to swallow them up, but then the quilt would not have been quite big enough for my son's bed. So in the end, I thought "hey, they might even work and look kinda cool". They don't. Oh well, moving on...
* If not stitching in the ditch, then mark your sewing lines. Going by sight and hoping for a straight line produces disastrous results. (Hello quick unpick!)
* Don't quilt the border before you have finished quilting the inside of the quilt. Even if you're bored and need a change!
I'm sure there are many many other good lessons I learned with this project, but these are the main ones that come to mind. If you have any other handy hints of bits of advice regarding quilting, then I'd really appreciate them. Especially as I'm going to start my sister's one this week (and glaringly obvious hints are welcome too - as demonstrated, seeing the bleeding obvious is not always one of my strong points)!
OK, very very lastly, I want to share a little creation on my son's. Because it is so sweet, and it tickled my fancy.
These were some paper off-cuts I left lying around when I had been making some cards and tags. My son set them all out on the kitchen floor, and was so excited to show me. He pointed out Mum, Dad, Kate and Lee. We are all there. A little paper family. AAAWWWWWWW
1 day ago