Sunday, January 14, 2018

Quilter #2 2018 - Well-Being

It’s an honor to be here with all of the 52 Quilters fans! I’m Jessica and I am Quilter #2 in 2018. This year each month has a theme, to help guide conversations about quilting. January’s theme is well-being. It’s a perfect fit for me as I often tell quilty friends, non-quilty friends and family about how great quilting is for me. It provides stress relief, a creative outlet and camaraderie with quilters worldwide. 

Around 10 years ago, I was presented with a health issue that gave me two options. Ignore it and live in poor health or acknowledge it, change and live with better health and well-being. I chose the latter. Today, I’m an avid runner and crazy quilter. To say I LOVE quilting is an understatement. It is such a wonderful way for me to explore and present my creative side. I can’t draw, paint or sculpt, but I can design and piece a pretty awesome quilt.

I love being able to work so intricately with my hands. There’s something therapeutic about all the work that goes into quilting. One of my favorite parts is binding! I love getting the first snuggle under a quilt as I hand sew the last piece of the quilt.

I am drawn to modern quilting, although I’ve made quilts in many styles. I love bold colors and large swaths of negative space. You’ll usually find pink or purple in quilts I’m making for myself or as pattern tests. I also tend to use gray as the background color.

I am a pattern designer and plan to publish my first patterns this year! I’ve been working diligently, focusing on each aspect so that I can learn as much as possible along the way. I’ve been designing quilts for years but more recently got serious about it as more people expressed interest in my designs. I can’t wait to share them!

Quilting has provided me much more than I ever imagined. It’s given me a valid reason to be a fabric hoarder (I have always loved fabric!). It’s provided me the opportunity to meet and become friends with amazing quilters. It allows me to express my creativity. It calms me, it excites me, it challenges me and it fulfills me. I know that quilting has played an important role in my well-being. It’s my go-to when things just haven’t gone right. It’s my go-to when I’m excited and feeling inspired. Thus, quilting is something I think about all the time and I’m so excited to have earned this title! I’ll leave you with just a few pictures of quilts I’ve worked on. Feel free to connect with me on Instagram! Happy Quilting!




Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Welcome 2018 - wellbeing

Another year comes to a close and this quilty  social experiment is going better than ever. At the end of 2017 52Quilters reached 10k followers on Instagram and has had over 156 quilters take over the accounts.

For 2018 I am doing something a bit different. The accounts will have the same fresh feel of a different quilter taking over each week, but each month will be organised into a theme which will be hosted by a different quilter.  This will help structure the accounts better, but it also means that I'll get a by of behind the scenes help, as 52Q is a big job for one volunteer to organise!

As the founder of 52Q I'm hosting the first experiment of this 52Q 2.0 experiment...  by introducing the theme of wellbeing.

Now when I talk about wellbeing, I'm not talking about something new or revolutionary, or proposing that all quilting is a self prescribed art-therapy... but I do think that there is something important to my creative time, and over the past few years I have become more and more conscious about sewing being  more than a hobby for me.


This month I'd like to introduce the theme and have a conversation about how quilting can be 'good' for us in different ways.

For me it all started with this blanket (not a quilt - shock! Horror!):


I'll make a long story short, but if you want the long story you can read about it on my blog here.

The short story is that I started knitting a blanket at a time when My dad was in hospital and felt the urge to do something with my hands. When my dad passed away, I put down the knitting for many months, but then slowly ceased all creative activity... more and more that turned into avoiding all possible distraction free, quiet moments, which I'm sure you can guess we're choices that didn't lead me to a very positive place.

It took me a really long time to recognise this and pick up my knitting, but when I did I started to recognise the value in having time to make, clear my head and reflect. I realised that making is not just a hobby, but it's a practice that helps me find balance among the other stressful things in my life... and since that realisation I've developed a bit of an equation for helping me keep that balance.

Depending on my creative mood, I find it is always important that I have three projects on the go. This is so whatever my mood I have something at hand that fulfills my creative needs in three different ways:

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Me projects: these are projects that slow me down, can be done at my own pace and give me time to clear my head. They are just for me and tend to be slow or enjoyable so that I can enjoy doing it and clear my head.

Challenge projects: these are projects that push me creatively and practically, sometimes they have deadlines - these often have a goal or aim in mind, these tend to be stressful in a good way, and challenge me to work out problems and create new ideas

Share projects: projects that are collaborative or conversational - where I can share and learn from others at the same time. Sometimes these are projects I share with friends, or sometimes I get this through freelance workshops or teaching I do - it forces me to see creativity through other people's eyes and gives me time to reflect and refresh on my own work.

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I'll be sharing a bit more about my approach on instagram, this week and asking to hear about what you make and why, but I'll save that conversation for IG!

Post by Chris: Chris is the founder and organiser of 52Quilters. He is a crafty guy who has been making his whole life. Although his crafty roots are in Canada, he has been working and crafting in the UK for 11 years. For more of Chris' work visit http://www.chrismakesthings.co.uk