I just finished up an awesome creative exercise and wanted to share some thoughts I took away from the experience.
Let me back up a sec. Last month I attended the Sew Pro convention in Chicago and met new quilting friends. [Come for the info, leave with friendships!] One of the topics of conversation that weekend was how my Sew Pro roomie Megan (find her on Instagram @citystitches) had lost her sewing mojo. She's got a great excuse, btw. She's busy planning her wedding, and because of that, hadn't sewn in months.
Listening with interest was Suzy Williams of Suzy Quilts. The question of recapturing that elusive sewing mojo conjured up an idea. A few weeks later, Suzy created this pattern series (with three more mini patterns to come) to help Megan and others bring back that sewing mojo!
To be candid: I have sewing mojo in spades. SPADES, I tell you! :) With ideas constantly in my brain and a full to-do list, I wasn't sure if I wanted to introduce a new project. I wanted to be up-front about that in case you too feel like you don't belong in the "lost my sewjo" camp.
In the end, my curiosity gave way to my schedule. Also? I loved the idea of challenging myself to do something out of the ordinary. And let's face it, the whole thing took less than a day. Anyone can give themselves a day to play!
I am so glad I did it!
Here's what I learned:
1) Quilting is art.
In my heart, I knew that. I think that because it's also my everyday, I can easily forget that fact. Putting textile art in a frame makes it more legit. That's just how it is. Putting it on the wall makes everyone else take notice, too. ("Mom, you DID that?!")
2) Sewing mojo doesn't have to be lost to be found.
Trying something new on a small scale was so fun and freeing. Even though I wasn't in a rut, I know that this simple exercise will affect how I approach future quilts.
3) I love quilting.
I will over-quilt every time I get the chance. It's who I am. In this case, I used my domestic sewing machine, my longarm and my own God-given hands to saturate this mini with quilting stitches.
4) Adding hand quilting embellishments was my favorite part, "hands" down.
A+++++++ will do again. This was my first time! I "cheated" by hunting and stabbing each stitch, but that's okay with me, I love the look. This topic might be its own post at some point in time. :)
5) Editing is allowed in improv.
My first design was this:
I had to chuckle when I took a photo of my work in progress and discovered my piece was almost exactly the size of a vinyl record. I selected my fabrics with our music room in mind as being the final destination for my mini quilt. While the size was fitting for the theme of the room, when I discovered that I already owned three 10" x 13" picture frames, I decided to edit my piece to fit the frame. Instead of starting over or chopping off entire sections, I ripped out a few seams, trimmed the strips down in width and seamed them together again. I am so much happier with the "skinny", framable version.
"Compressed" after editing, but just as punchy:
6) It doesn't have to be complicated to be really valuable.
In addition to this sentiment being my main take-away from Sew Pro, this idea is also true as it relates to this pattern. This month marks the 11th anniversary of taking my first quilting class! Yet this totally accessible-to-anyone pattern/exercise stretched me and taught me so much.
And I have new wall candy!
Before I let you go, I wanted to share how I hung my framed mini quilt. This is one of my favorite tips (thanks, Mom!):
Straight pins (this is a glass head pin) are amazing "nails" for hanging things on drywall. You'd be surprised at how strong they are! It does take a lot of constant pressure to push them into a wall (watch out for studs!) but once they are in, they can support most standard frames.
I love hanging frames this way because it doesn't require any tools and they leave the tiniest of holes if you should change your mind (see photo below). It's a wall freckle, for goodness sake!
Be careful not to use so much "sudden" force that you bend the pin. And seriously, you have to press so hard and steady that it's difficult to place more than a of couple pins at one time. Your thumb will get sore!
I'm looking forward to seeing what Suzy has up her sleeve for the next minis! And of course, putting more tiny holes in—and art on—my walls.