Is it wrong to obsess about sewing stuff to other stuff?

Chain piecing, or, "lots of little flags, Mummy"

Chain piecing, or, “lots of little flags, Mummy”

I know that to the untrained eye this looks like a bundle of unloved scraps. And I’m not certain I can convey how pleasing a pile of perfectly measured shapes sewn together in a chain with an exact quarter inch seam is to me.

I spend a lot of my day thinking about quilting. If I’m unable to sleep, I imagine the patterns I’m going to make in my soon-to-be-finished (surely?) quilt. I think of thread colours that would complement the twenty or so different fabrics in the patchwork. I wonder which fabric I should use for the edges and the back of the quilt. I visualise the finished thing lying on my bed and wonder whether I’m even going to like it after having worked on it for so long.

At work today, I caught myself wishing I could order all of my patchwork blocks into lines instead of planning lessons and marking.

It’s nice to have a project to think about in snatched minutes during the day.

In fact, quilting is turning out to be the perfect pastime for me. It’s something I can obsess about and use to avoid thinking about difficult things. It’s creative, but not too terrifyingly creative if I don’t want it to be. It has rules, but I can break them if I decide to and make my own if I want to. It’s precise and has enough maths in it to delight me. It’s long-term and encourages me to practise things I’m not great at: patience, strategic thinking and spatial awareness. I can do as much or as little of it as I want to.

Just ten minutes helps a quilt along and an hour creates a bundle of scraps pieced together like the one above.

I think it’s okay to obsess about it for now.

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Posted on June 21, 2013, in Jacob's ladder quilt-making and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. “It’s long term and encourages me to practice things I’m not great at: patience, strategic thinking and spatial awareness.” – Oh my goodness, as fellow English teachers, our brains must be wired in similar ways. Spatial awareness is extremely difficult for me when I’m quilting. Sometimes it takes what seems like an eternity of flipping pieces every which way to figure out how to put them together. And, even then I sometimes get them sewn together backwards!

    • I do that too! I have to sit with a pattern in front of me most of the time, and even then I make mistakes. I would like to design a quilt myself one of these days, but I don’t trust myself. Although, that’s probably my desire for control taking over there. Quilting: it’s just therapy.

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