Monday, December 16, 2019

Turns Out I Was Right

[featuring random pictures of quilts made by me]

Once upon a time there was a woman named Carol who loved quilts and wished she could make some by herself. She didn't consider trying, because, she thought, "I'm not patient enough." With the encouragement of friends and her mother, Carol finally decided to try. Her first attempt was a pot holder (haha.. it turned into a quilt).

After that she was hooked and has been making quilts like crazy ever since. It has been 20 years and 4 months, and she is still going strong. Or is she?

That Carol is me, of course. Lately I have been feeling uninspired.

I know, slumps are normal. I go through them periodically and just wait.. eventually I once again get enthused.

In recent weeks I have been dealing with some major-ish depression. I'm getting help with it, but it is causing me to ponder and re-think everything about my life. This includes my quilting.

When I see all the gorgeous things other quilters create, I realize, "I will never make that. I'm not patient enough." So, while my quilts are pretty, and I enjoy making them, and people seem to appreciate them, I will never achieve that awesome level that so many have achieved and seem to maintain. It turns out I was right about myself. I'm just not patient enough.

I don't have what it takes to do the projects that require stick-to-it-ive-ness. Once in a while strange things happen, and I make a masterpiece. I have done that twice. Most of what I make, however, is "nice." I think I'm OK with that. I don't need to be famous; I don't need to be making top-of-the-line awesomeness every time I sit down at my machine.

my masterpiece

I get the most joy out of making charity quilts. I love to make them pretty. After all, poor and/or sick kids deserve some beauty in their lives, too. I have never uttered the words "it's just for charity" in the sense of making ugly stuff is OK because it's for charity.

Meanwhile I'm waiting for my enthusiasm to return. I have been sewing, but I can only manage the mindless stuff. Things that don't require careful 1/4-inch seams, for example. Scrappy stuff. Quick stuff. While the depression rages on, it's all I can manage.

And when I get back to being enthused, I will be happy with "nice" and accept the fact that I am not patient enough to achieve that certain level of art and beauty that I so admire in other people's work. To be honest, I'm even OK with not being patient enough to do that type of sewing.

Charity quilting is what makes me happiest. Meanwhile, I'm trying to remember how to feel happy. It's just one of those dips in life. While being not fine, I'm fine. Things will look up once again.


Nann said...

Oh, Carol -- I hope your cloudy mood passes and your sewing muse returns with a generous serving of inspiration to boost your self-confidence!

Nann said...

P.S. Your masterpiece is a magnificent design indeed.

Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

I love all of your charity quilts and I think you put a lot of thought into them to make them pretty. Love yourself, you deserve it!! You have brightened the lives of so many people. Everyone wasn't given the same gift, cherish your own gift because you mean so much to a lot of people.

Louise said...

I hear and truly understand every word of this post, Carol. You're not alone in suffering from depression, in having slumps, in being impatient. I struggle with these, too. I also know that depression is a tricky, shifty SOB that lies to us and whispers crappy things in our ears. So I hope that you find your way through the murk and back into the light. Someone wise said it was OK for our hearts to break a little, that's how the light gets in. Hang in there, friend. Sending you some cyber hugs!

Karin - BluePip Designs said...

All of the quilts you posted are lovely. I quilt for the joy of making things - all my quilts have mistakes and cut off points and colors that aren't quite right. But I've found that I am my own worst critic and most people don't even notice those things. I hope you are feeling better soon.

diane said...

Carol, I have always thought your charity quilts are wonderful and cheery. We are our own worst critic. Depression is difficult. I've seen some of it myself in the last couple of years and worked to contain it. Take care of yourself and it's good you have sought help. Understand the scrappy crumb piecing (mindless) sewing as that is one thing I did during my worst times. I did them on the treadle. Now I should make those blocks into quilts. Each day is a new day!

Robin said...

Everybody quilts for a different reason. If we all quilted just so we could put our quilt in a show it would be an empty quilt world indeed. I quilt because I like to create and it's a bonus when it becomes something useful and I can share it with others (like you do).

Cathy said...

I understand.
I sew a lot because I am depressed. I'm not deep down in the darkness depressed right now because I sew a lot.

I've found that using bright colors helps.
I've found that challenging myself a bit helps as in "how many quilts will I get out of that string box or box of novelties" or what can I make from this FQ"... beating a challenge stimulates those endorphins.
I make sure I do something with my hands instead of just sit...embroidery, crochet, etc.
I make teeny tiny goals in the morning when I wake up for what I want to accomplish that day. I make sure they are easy so I am sure to accomplish them. More endorphin stimulation, you know.
I say a little prayer each morning and evening for those in my life who get me down.
I make myself go outside each day for just a few minutes even if it is to hang a quilt on the clothesline to take a pic. I never want to leave the house let alone talk to anyone but a breath of fresh air is a breath of fresh air.
I eat some nuts and chocolate everyday. They are supposed to release endorphins. (Really!)
I don't compare my quilts or skills with others. I do my own thing and just try to learn something while making each one. I aim to please only myself and enjoy the process.

Keep on making those awesome quilts you make. You are so creative. Don't sell yourself short. Someone, somewhere will think you gave them a special prize winning and cozy quilt.

I hope Santa will bring you that muse for Christmas. Happy Holidays!

Tammy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your depression, Carol. I don't know what to say other than the other comments seem to have good suggestions. I only really enjoy making charity quilts, myself. I'm not even inspired to do anything fancy. I love going to the Houston show but I'm not really inspired by anything there. I just go and look at the quilts as if I were walking around in a museum. I definitely appreciate finer quilting. I also feel that if I had the patience, I could do better than what I've done so far. But I'm happy with what I'm doing. So that's good enough.

joe tulips said...

There isn’t much I can add to the comments that hasn’t been said. Do what you love and makes you happy. I’ll be praying for you and Merry Christmas!

Jeanne said...

Carol, I work through this regularly. Sigh. Sending hugs and hoping this week finds you trending toward "up."