Decide what to be and go be it.

I feel vindicated….

I wonder if many of you are like me.  I have a love/hate relationship with quilt shows.  I love to see the quilts.  I hate that I can’t touch them!  I practically have to walk through with my hands tied behind my back.  There’s always the quilt with that little thread on it that begs me to remove it.  I have to walk away fast!

I love the diversity of many of the shows.  People do things with fabric I would never dream of doing.  I always wonder why their minds work differently from mine.  Why didn’t I think of that?

I leave most shows with mixed emotions.  On one hand I am extremely inspired.  I want to go home and lock myself away in my room and sew for days.  And then, on the other hand, I feel woefully inadequate.  Why can’t I make quilts like these?  Why can’t I make a beautiful applique quilt?  Why can’t I make a stunning art quilt?  Why is it I don’t stitch tiny pieces of fabric together in a quilt that looks like a photograph?  Why don’t I put shape and color together to create movement or convey emotion?

I struggle with these questions after every quilt show.  And I have an answer.  I don’t want to.  It’s really pretty simple.  I just don’t want to.  Having said that, I then struggle with these questions….why don’t I want to grow as a quilter?  Why don’t I want to step out of my comfort zone?  Why don’t I push myself?  Same answer…I don’t want to.  I’m happy with my traditional way of doing things.  It makes me happy.  We should do the things that make us happy.  Growth is nice but we don’t always have to grow.  I guess I’m like a little bonsai tree.  A bonsai quilter.

I was thumbing through the latest issue of American Quilter  admiring the winners of the Grand Rapid show and beating myself up because my quilts don’t look like these.   Then I came across and article about Marti Mitchell.  In this article, Marti says “There is  nothing wrong with quilters wanting to buy fabrics and make quilts for their families.”  It occurred to me that was a true statement!  I was vindicated!  I don’t have to step out of my comfort zone unless I want to!  That statement has given me the freedom to admire all of those quilts that I like to look at but have no desire to make and still feel like a quilter.

Hello, my name is Candy and I like to make Nine-Patches.  Wow!  It feels good to say that!


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32 thoughts on “I feel vindicated….

  1. Yes, yes, yes. Competitions are not for everyone… some of us love to make simple quilts with stitches of love. Some strive for perfection and competition. Some like to dabble in both. It’s nice to be free to do it how we like.

    • Yes, it is! I was just trying to convince myself that I needed to grow in my quilting. But I don’t wanna! Life is too short to make quilts you don’t want to make. 🙂

  2. It’s wonderful to see all the various forms of quilting, but we all have our own path and I’m happy on mine.

  3. How true that is. We place entirely too much stress on ourselves to be those quilters- when the truth is -we are who we are.

    I have had those same feelings after a show. Inspired and deflated. I took that vow of quilting just for me not more than a few days ago.

    I stitch to the rythym of my own machine now. Oh wait…I don’t have one anymore. lol. Maybe thats the point. Lessons learned. 🙂

    • You will have one soon. I promise.

      I think I’ve just convinced myself with this post to be who I am in the quilting world. I like that feeling!

      • Ya know…we often SAY it. But we rarely ACT on it. I think because we succumb to the pressures we create for ourselves. There’s something to be said about that “slow cloth” movement. 🙂 Just enjoy your process. I’ll enjoy mine. And we can share our likes. Not someone else’s. Right?

  4. quilt32 on said:

    Your word say exactly what I’ve always felt about quilting.

  5. loavesandstitches on said:

    You just have to do whatever it is you want to do and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. I like to go to quilt shows for inspiration, but most of those quilts are for display, not use?

  6. When it comes to crafting something with your hands I think it’s imperative to stick to what’s true to you, what’s in your heart and inspiration. And when that’s not the most popular or daring thing out it’s so good to remember that it takes all kinds. I love that you found that truth! Cheers to keeping it real for yourself.

    • I guess that’s the realization I came to…to be true to myself. That means different things to different people and now I realize what it means to me. What’s great is that I can enjoy and appreciate the “outside the box” projects of others and not have to make them myself! 🙂

  7. We live in a world of comparisons and reaching for that “bar” that someone set at a certain level! Just is that ‘Who’ and why do we give them so much power to dictate what is right/acceptable/lofty, etc???? Quilting used to fulfill a very real need using the material(s) that would go to waste unless saved by this utilitarian project. Now, the “need” may be different but is still very real…..it is the ‘need’ to express one’s heart and, maybe, share it with another…….What can be greater than that in a day when society to often views people as statistics or a number! Great post……..You go girl and know that you are NOT alone!!! Blessings and hugs, Doreen

  8. I dont usually feel bad about short my own short comings in comparison to someone else. I know what you mean about the “Why didn’t I think of that?”But honestly, I finished one quilt over the weekend, started another jelly friendly pattern, went to the gym and made gingerbread men till my whole house smelled like cookies. I’m awesome, your awesome. and its okay to touch the pretty quilts if nobody sees you do it.

  9. Now Ms. Candy….you KNOW you need to issue a ‘spew alert’ warning before you do your posts that make me laugh! Tea over the keyboard is NOT a good thing. 🙂

    Seriously…..my first thought was “Amen Sista!”. My second was “can I go to your 12 step Quilters Anonymous 9 patch meetings”? I always revert to the 9 patch – my therapy block.

    As you know – I straddle the line between just wanting to piece simple traditional quilts versus pushing outside my comfort zone. I think I need both – but so far – I still find it difficult to find the balance between the two areas and also to find self-acceptance that I need both areas. I think I judge myself too harshly for not having a specific style.

    Thanks for the reminder that it’s good to just be authentic. And maybe – for me – authentic is being a renaissance-type quilter – one that doesn’t focus on a single style.

    • I would like nothing better than to have you come to my NPA meeting!

      I think the difference between the two of us is that you want to stretch yourself. (That and you have tons more artistic vision than I do!) But it’s a little bit like being a kid. You can find your wings and fly but if things get tough, you can always go home again….to the nine-patch! How’s that for deep? 🙂

  10. I do like to see the quilts at the shows but in the UK we have so few shows, the same quilts tend to do the rounds, even from one year to the next. However, one really nice thing is that there are usually pairs of white gloves in the aisles so if you must touch, you can. I know that isn’t the same as really touching but it is a second best. I look to the competition quilts for inspiration, especially with use of colour, and then go off and do my own thing in my own way. I admire the more “arty” quilts as I simply don’t have an artistic gene but I feel guilty when a quilt just doesn’t appeal to me, knowing someone has put their heart and soul into it. We are all sharing our love of quilting and crafting around the world by blogging about them. How good is that? Avis x

    • I understand what you mean about not liking a quilt. I remember seeing a quilt one time with strips of cheesecloth hanging from the bottom and I remember thinking “What was she thinking?” Apparently, it meant something to the quilter but it lost something in translation to me. But I suppose that those that think outside the box keep things fresh for those of use who don’t!

  11. This!

    I love 9 patches too and was just thinking that I was pretty happy not being totally stressed out by some of the curved and inset block piecing I’ve seen out there.

  12. If it stresses you out, it can’t be fun!

  13. *karendianne. on said:

    Hello, my name is Karen and I loved your post. Well said!!!

    • Karen….thanks for stopping by the blog! It seems that more people like me out there than I thought! I had many discussions both here on the blog and out in the real world after this post. Most agreed…a few did not; which is fine. We all need to do what we like to do. I think it’s terrific that there is room in quilting for all of us. We can make the quilts we enjoy making and admire the ones we don’t.

  14. Pingback: Reframing “Artistic Voice” | Deep in the Heart of Textiles

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