Friday, September 30, 2016

I Do It For Me

I was with extended family one day last spring, filling time by stitching together a Lucy Boston block, perfectly content while hand-stitching all my fussy-cut fabric together.  The piece was coming along nicely, and I was in my own little world until my uncle stopped to see what I was doing.  He asked, "Are you going to sell that when you're done?"

A wall hanging I made with three Lucy Boston/
Patchwork of the Crosses blocks. I gave it to
my mother-in-law for her birthday one year.
 As you know, quilting can be a very expensive hobby.  Add in the amount of time spent on making the quilt, and it's very difficult to get paid back for all that you put into it.  On top of that, I have this fear that if I decided to sell my quilts, I'd suddenly be conscious of every single error, mistake, oops, and oh-boy that I made during the process, and I think the hobby would cease to be fun. So I made the decision when I started quilting that I wasn't going to sell my quilts. And I told my uncle "No, I sew them for myself.  The minute I tried to sell them, I think it would stop being fun."

His reply: "Making money isn't fun?"  Sigh.

Unfortunately, my uncle's sentiment is probably shared by others in my family, and likely with tons of other people out there.  If you can't make money from the quilts, why are you bothering?  It's difficult to explain to people who don't have a crafty sensibility exactly what it means to simply enjoy the process of creating. Of taking individual pieces and somehow molding them into a work of art.

Even though I frequently make quilts for other people, the truth of the matter is, in the midst of the process, they're all for me -- because they are my creative outlet. Life can be stressful, and it's a relief to know that anytime I feel the urge, I can pull out fabric in a variety of colors and shades, and by putting them together, I'm creating something that no one else could duplicate.  The pattern may be the same, but the vision and the execution are mine.

One of the first quilts I ever made.  It went
to my grandmother for her 80th birthday.

For me, it's a form of play.  My medium just happens to be fabric.  It's a way to challenge myself, and it satisfies the visual side of my brain that's constantly looking for beauty amid the chaos.

And who cares if there's a mistake? Knowing it's just for me or for one of my children, my husband, or my great aunt in Pennsylvania, I know that no one is looking for the mistakes because they know the amount of time, energy, and love that go into each and every quilt I make.  You just can't put a price tag on that.

The first quilt I ever made.  I wanted to make
a quilt for my youngest son, who was almost
one at the time.  I've been hooked ever since.

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