Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flowers, Process and Commitment

I signed up for quilt guilds to meet people with similar interests and hopefully make a few friends upon my return to Toronto after years on the road, followed by years in the States and those mythical years at home with infants.

Quilters had a (sometimes well-earned) reputation for being inclusive and welcoming. The image of a number of women gathered round a quilting frame comes to mind. Well the guilds I joined were lovely, and I met lots and lots of really nice quilters and learned tons about quilting but I ran head first into my problem with commitment (which I'll get into later).

Through my membership in the York Heritage Quilt Guild I have had the great privilege to join the Squeegees. Squeegees stands for SQGs or Small Quilt Guild. These women have a sense of humour! They're also creative, kind, interesting, knowledgeable and welcoming. The group is also small enough that it involves almost no administration. Everything one could hope for in a quilt guild either large or small.

This little guild of less than a dozen women has been meeting monthly over delicious snacks in one another's homes for years, and I've been part of the group for three or so years now. The Squeegees have lost track of how long it is since they did a group project and there has been much talk about what the next project should be. After taking a look at Twelve by Twelve we were inspired to attempt our own 12 inch blocks on a theme.

Being the first week of Spring we were eager to tackle Flowers as our first challenge.

And now a terrible truth:

I get really enthusiastic.
My head explodes with ideas (which I don't write down).
I say "Let's do it now. Let's have a short deadline. This is going to be so much fun."

And then I forget about my commitment.


Even if it was my idea.

I've started learning to say "No" to things I know I haven't been able to follow through on in the past, like being Board President, and then I feel guilty for not contributing enough to the volunteer run organizations to which I belong, and I quit. Then the phone starts to ring with friends saying "Please come back, we miss your enthusiasm."

Sorry guys, enthusiasm without effort is worthless.

And so I've started working on my Flower Block

I've committed to started by attempting to incorporate some of my latest interests into my design process.

Journalling is a habit I enjoy and am trying to incorporate into my daily practice.

I'm committed to using what I have on hand as much as possible for my projects, so rather than throw out an old bed sheet I've been holding onto it until I could use it.

I cut a square from the sheet, clipped it to a drawing board, grabbed a sepia Prismacolor fine line marker and jotted some words and sketches about flowers.

Next I opened a fabric drawer at random and pulled out a gorgeous faux marbled commercial cotton I've had hanging around for years. It may actually be one of the first fabrics I ever bought.

I cut random shapes out of the fabric and realized that they reminded me of the tulips I have wilting in a vase in my kitchen.

Back upstairs with the sketchbook. This time I drew on paper instead of cotton.

I've started auditioning fabrics right on my journalled background and I'm starting to get excited about this process.

The next question I need to ask myself is:

Why did I feel that I needed to run to the camera and the computer to document my process instead of just staying with the creative flow?

What I need to work on:

Honouring the feeling of excitement I get at a creative challenge, committing to the challenges that excite me, and following through to the bitter end.

Next steps:

Finish laying out the flowers, stems, and leaves and sew down the fabric elements. Figure out how to quilt it, because it's a quilt block, and I'm supposed to be a quilter (but that's for another blog post). Decide if there are any other embellishments to be added and how to bind it.

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