Sunday, April 9, 2017

This is my last day as host of the 52 Quilter's account and I have really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else throughout the rest of the year. I don't connect with lots of different  quilters in real life as I'm not in a group anymore due to work and family commitments, so I have found the online world of quilting a brilliant source of information, inspiration and new ideas. Without 52 Quilters last year I would never have known about the wonders of spray basting a quilt (which I have since shared with a friend) No more taping quilt backs to the floor and trying to tack stitch on my hands and knees! I don't think I have any amazing tips or knowledge to impart to the quilting community that aren't already widely known, so I decided that this blog post would be some of my thoughts and musings on my quilting hobby and motivations. I'm hoping that this may make people consider their own motivations and what they want to create or achieve with their quilting and why they do it.

Having only stumbled into the quilt world 7 years ago, I can't ever imagine not having it in my life now. It serves so many purposes for me; an artistic outlet I didn't know I needed or had ability in (I was useless at art and drawing at school so assumed I wasn't artistic at all). An occupation to keep me busy and my hands working, as a hobby, as a connector to other people, as a challenge to set myself new techniques and to continue to develop and possibly most importantly to me, as object to create to give to people. I have already mentioned that I generally make to give as gifts and I have worked out that this is prime motivator for me. Before discovering quilting, I baked a lot and again liked to bake for others, my husband and work colleagues benefitted a lot from this! I love the feeling of making something special and unique for a person, from the design process, considering who they are and what they may like, how they would use it, where it might fit in their home, to the time taken to make it for them and get it right. I know most people outside of the quilting world won't understand how long it can take or how much it can cost (the way I justify it in my head is 50% is the cost of the gift and 50% is the cost of my hobby anyway) but I don't mind that at all, as long as I know the person will love it.  I have had people admire a quilt and ask if I can make them one, which is very flattering and in the past I would have agreed. However as my time is much more limited these days being a Mum, I have learnt that I need to say no to requests that I don't really have the desire to do. If not then it becomes a chore to me, rather than an enjoyable process. My motivation is my desire to create something unique for someone, rather than being asked or pressured into making something to someone else's pattern/idea.

Colour and design are also important to me. When reflecting back on my lack of artistic ability at school (though I did so well in textiles, they just cut it from the exam syllabus the year I wanted to take it!) I was always attracted to tesselating patterns in maths class. I used to love colouring them and fitting them together. I like to think that I have a good eye for colours and complimenting colour palettes, my Mum thinks this is because she took me a log to one of those "Colour me Beautiful" sessions as a child, where you get told which colours suit you best to wear. I do like to match or compliment, whether that is clothing, decor or quilt fabric! Which is probably why I find it hard to do scrap quilts and buy too much fabric as I "need" it to be perfectly complimentary. I'm working on this for the good of my purse now that I have a pretty decent fabric stash. (My husband recently joked that he wanted the fire brigade to come and risk assess the amount of flammable fabric I have in one room!)

I think the most important factor to consider is that whatever your motivation, quilting is your hobby/art/skill and you should always make what you want to make and be true to yourself.  Don't let others dictate it or demand from you as this is where the enjoyment fades. You might try something  new and think "I'm never making one of those/using that technique again" which is fine as long as you have made the decision. Quilting time is precious and it is your time.

Happy quilting everyone!

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