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Monday, October 11, 2010

The Blank Wall

Often when I am quilting I am working on several projects at once with each at various stages so that I can move from one to the other according to the time I have available or my inclination.  On a particular day I may not have the energy or hours it takes move a design along, but I could easily do some stitching in pearl cotton or sew on a facing.  This system also makes the transition from quilt to quilt easier and avoids that emotional valley when a major project is over.

But in my rush to complete the two pieces for the guild exhibit I lost sight of the big picture.  For a while the excitement of hanging the show and then the subsequent opening distracted me from those final stitches that I had put in two major pieces and from the blank working wall looming in my workroom.  I kept myself busy during September on a small piece that was a joy to work on (more about that next week), but as I started to sew on the facing, I became aware of that gray, slogging feeling whenever I thought about quilting (which I do quite frequently) that made climbing the stairs to my workroom too much of an effort and made many mundane tasks like pulling up the green bean plants or cleaning the bathroom preferable to planning a new project.  And all those rich colors on the hills around me didn't help.

Years ago when I first felt this, I was in denial--even when my husband commented that I was a bit testier than my usual testy self, a comment I am sure I greeted with equanimity.  How could finishing a quilt, which I was supposedly doing for "fun,"  affect my outlook on the world?  But it has happened often enough that I recognize it as real now.  Guess I am emotionally tied to the feel of fabric in my hands and the zing of making something I saw in my imagination take shape in the tactile world. I am sure one of my psychologist and/or medical friends could start talking about addiction here and is it possible that the urge to create, discover, invent is a cousin--distant cousin?--to addictive behavior?

Anyway, I am happily engaged in a new project now, running up and down stairs from sewing room to workroom and have added beginning yet another project to my to-do list before I get too far along on this one.

If you are still reading, thanks for the company--and I'd love to hear about your feelings at the end of big projects.

2 comments:

  1. I can see why you are in mourning... you gave away two of your children!!! If they are currently at a quilt exhibit, then you will likely feel better once they have returned home.

    Finishing is not a problem for me. I usually have a dozen projects in various stages of completion (or lack thereof), so when a quilt is actually finished, it has many brothers and sisters to fill the void while the finish gets put on one of our walls or our beds.

    Enjoy your two new projects, and please, start several more, or at least design them on graph paper and keep that in sight for a quick "fix" when you need it! : )

    ~ Ronda

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  2. I understand completely. Making quilts is like having a baby or planning a huge wedding. There is no way anyone can prepare for the finish/event/delivery. I feel the same way at the end of a good book. The process is what keeps us going....not typically the finishing or the beginning....it is the process of all of it together and when I'm not "in process" I'm sort of grumpy and my mood is what I call "brown."

    So, I think I understand.

    Smiles,
    Kelly

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