So, I have had a lot of time to roam around the crafty blogosphere lately, what with all that breastfeeding I've been doing lately. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time cruising Flikr and blogs and quilters blogs linked to Flikr. Not to mention all the regular blogs I follow that keep me up to date on the latest and greatest in quilting.
This is the thing; I have no time to make quilts right now. No. Time. Yet I keep seeing these increasingly complex quilt blocks that would be cool to make, and these wonderful improv quilts that are amazing displays of creativity and careful design. Not only that, but it seems like many of these bloggers produce at least a quilt a week. Seriously. And I think I made two quilts last year.
I've been thinking, for instance, about how much I'd like to make a scrap quilt out of tiny pieces (it will have to be done eventually before my house is taken over with scraps). And I always start with a simple - ish plan (why don't I choose a block and make a scrappy quilt using that block, or make a basic spider web or string quilt). But then I start thinking of all the creative things I could do - a medallion quilt with five or six different kinds of scrappy blocks. A tricky paper piecing something or another. A postage stamp quilt. The Maple Leaf rag with all those tiny pieced centers to the spiderweb blocks . . . and my head starts to spin. And I think "I will never be the quilter I want to be. I don't meet up to the standard. All I do is sew squares together and that is not very creative. I give up."
But the problem with this thinking is the people I am comparing myself to. I forget that a lot of the bloggers I am following are trying to make their living by quilt blogging. They get sent bundles of free fabric, on the condition that they can turn around a quilt top with that fabric in 2 or 3 weeks. Their kids are in school or out of the house or they have help. Or they just devote a lot more time to sewing than I can at the moment.
This is sort of like when I was a kid and teenager. I always felt like I wasn't meeting the standard set by my siblings. But I was ignoring the fact that they were 10 or 15 years older than me, so of course they were more mature / had more experience / were doing more than I was.
I think I need to give myself the grace to just enjoy making simple quilts. I need to release the inner over-achiever that wants to make something fabulous that will wow the blogosphere. I just don't have the time, and that's not why I quilt in any case.
Instead, I need to remember that this is my HOBBY. I don't want to make money off of it (despite many people's insistence that I should try). I just want to play with colour and pattern and make beautiful things for my family and friends. I have some quilts that don't quite work like I thought they would, yes. But then, I was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone when I made them. And often I really enjoyed the process of making them. So who cares? Is the quilt police going to come and ban me from quilting for lack of productivity? No. Are my quilts going to get confiscated for using slightly clashing colors or unsucessful designs? No. Are the Flikr police going to take away my contacts (and online friends) because I don't meet the mark as far as comments or favorites or admirers? Nope. Nope. Nope.
So why am I so hard on myself? Why do I compare myself to professionals and super popular people? I don't know. I think its time to let it go already. Make things I love with fabric I love and not worry about wether it is what the cool kids are making or doing or using in their quilts. And realize that its okay not to be quilting like crazy with a 3 week old and 3 other kids, when I can barely get sleep and showers in.
I think "Let it go" is actually my new mantra for the next 3 months. Sounds good, no?