Thursday, October 21, 2010

No More Soul-Sucking Projects!

There is something that happens to people of a certain age: You start noticing that there are fewer sands in the upper half of life's hourglass than in the lower half. There are many ways to respond to this, and my way has been to go read the books I really want to read, to learn skills I've always wanted to acquire, and to hang out with interesting people who have learned a few things.

A few years ago, when a certain person in my life said some truly horrible things to me, I realized that I didn't have to take it any more. It didn't matter how many years she'd been trying to tear me down while I tried to be kind and understanding; she would continue until she succeeded or one of us died. I broke off the relationship. It was hard, as the person means a lot to me; and I have since told her that I would be happy to have a pleasant conversation with her any time she wants to initiate it, but I'm not going to be screamed at and called by ugly names.

This past weekend, I went to the quilting retreat, and when I showed up, I announced that I had an ugly quilt that I was going to quilt and bind before I did anything fun. "Well, that's the way to feed your soul, Liz!" (The "NOT" was implied in the tone of voice.) When I pulled out Mr. Stripey, one of the gals in the group said, "I recognize those blocks." It seems that a now-deceased member of the guild would make batches of blocks in her pattern-of-the-moment and then donate the blocks to the guild for some other poor soul to make into a quilt - never enough blocks for a whole quilt, mind you. My friend said that I had put the blocks to good use (the hexagonal blocks that I divided in half).

As I quilted and bound (finishing up before bed time on Friday evening), I contemplated the comment about "feeding my soul," and I realized that I have a lot of fabrics in my stash that I picked up early on in my quilting career that I no longer like. I also have ugly-to-me fabrics given to me by various good folks. I have been gamely working these into projects over the years, but this weekend, I plan to purge. I plan to move fabrics out of my stash and into a box that will be donated to the quilt guild's charity quilt projects. Maybe someone else will look at these fabrics and say, "Oh, yummy!" Moreover, I am going to go through the boxes of donated fabrics in my basement right now and do some purging there. It's time to stop working with soul-sucking fabrics and on soul-sucking projects.

I also got Peppermint Candy quilted and bound. I would show you pictures, but the pix I have are blurry and not worth the hassle. Trust me. On Saturday morning, we had a field trip to the nearest quilt shop, a delightful shop called Mabelena's in Ortonville. I have lived in Michigan most of my life and in the greater Detroit metropolitan area for most of my adult life, and I would not have been able to make a reasonable guess about the location of this little town. Having spent an hour there, I wouldn't mind going back. The shop was a lot of fun with friendly people. One of the gals who didn't go on the trip needed batteries for her camera, and I was directed to the hardware store an easy two blocks away. The feed store across the street from Mabelena's had locally produced honey and maple syrup. It was a soul-satisfying trip.

I do have to make a confession; I am a sucker for good marketing. How, one might ask, does one get away with selling a fat quarter for $3? When one packages it cleverly. Isn't this cute? I giggled all the way to the register, where I happily handed over nine hard-earned dollars. Utterly darling. (Of course, I am also a sucker for fruit fabrics and have found fun ways of incorporating them into a variety of projects - that's pomegranate on the left, pineapple in the middle, and limes on the right.)

I spent the rest of the retreat playing with some fun scraps I had taken with me, and I actually produced a couple of small projects but only took a picture of one them (about 14 inches on a side).

We had a real variety of projects going, but I'm only showing faces of people who gave me permission to show their faces:

Here's Gayle's labor of love for her daughter (who had picked the fabrics).

Sharon was playing with pretty flowers all weekend.

Deb was working in the theme of red, white, and black.

Sherri was working with some fun colors.

Marge finished her bargello top.

 Erika was tickled pink to finish the 10th-anniversary quilt for her son, just in time for his 13th anniversary!
 I had a chance to work on my Abby hat, and I finished it this week. Here are a couple of beauty shots (it's awfully hard being your own model, and I ended up letting a CD case stand in for the top-down picture).

Now, see those colors in the hat? See how uplifting and life-affirming those colors are? Why, pray tell, would I EVER again choose to work in another palette? Every time I wear this hat, I will feel happy. (Isn't it great how the colors worked into rounds like that? Totally serendipitous, totally fabulous.)


Mimi said...

Mabelena's...I know it well. It is one of my favorite shops in the area. Have you been to Guildcrafters in Berkley? That's even closer for you. It's a great shop, too.

I like you idea of purging out all the fabrics you no longer love.

Deanna said...

Life is much too short to spend it working on projects you don't like. Very sensible/wise post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Spundun said...

I agree, every project should feed our souls, life is too short and getting shorter by the minute (OK, I have panicked myself now, lol).

Love the canned fabric idea - so clever, eh?

The hat is gorgeous - yep those colours do it for me too!

Esch House Quilts said...

Love the way the yarn made circles all by itself!

Purge away - it feels so good!

Vivianne said...

Could part of your purge be giving a random bunch of fabric away on your blog ? :-)