Hiatus Maybe?

I’m moving next month.

Moving is stressful. I’m sure lots of quilters quilt more when they are stressed because it relaxes them. I find I spend all my spare time reading a bunch of books on a single topic (currently running) and watching some series on YouTube (currently Critical Role).

I didn’t sew at all in May. I didn’t even hem the pair of pants I bought that are 5 inches too long because that sounded like work.

I think I may start packing up all my quilting gear now since it’s going to take a while. Which means there’s going to be a break in posts here again.

Unless I suddenly start hand sewing again or something… but that’s unlikely.

Anyway, I’m sure by time I move and get settled, I’ll be chomping at the bit to quilt again, so there will be a flurry of posts then.

Until then, I leave you with the video of song I recently heard and fell in love with.  It’s super relatable for me – both emotionally and how consistent I am with quilting.

‘grey’ by Orla Gartland

Where I’ve Been

I haven’t posted since November. I wish I could say I was doing really amazing stuff, like touring the globe or something, but the truth is I have really just been sitting in front of my computer, watching a lot of YouTube.

Which is to say, I haven’t been sewing.

Further, I’ve been straight up avoiding the Lair because my anxiety about being in there was so bad, I felt like I was suffocating.

Let me back up… Last summer my anxiety, which is usually just a constant (but sorta ignore-able) whisper that no one really likes me and I’ll die alone, starting getting really bad.

I continued to ignore it. Honestly, I didn’t really know what else to do. I assumed the things I was stressed about would eventually resolve, and everything would go back to how it was.

Except nothing really resolved and my anxiety just kept getting worse.

At the end of September, I broke. I didn’t go to work, because I was terrified to leave my house. I also missed out seeing some family that I hadn’t seen in forever for the same reason.

I managed to pull myself back together enough that it was only a week of work missed, which was good because I really can’t afford to lose one week’s pay. More lost pay was out of the question.

Despite it all, I was still trying, however unsuccessfully, to act like everything was fine. I was trying to sew and upload happy blog posts.  I was putting so much pressure on myself to keep trying to do it all.

But things weren’t fine… at all… and I felt like there was a giant neon clock over my head counting down to the next break.

I think somewhere along the way my brain realized there were things I really couldn’t avoid doing if I wanted to not fuck up my life to a point where I couldn’t fix it. I needed to go to work. I needed to pay attention to how politicians were trying to completely fuck up the country. I needed to be a responsible adult, a contributing member of society.

But I didn’t need to make things for charity. I didn’t need to seek out new commissions for quilts. I didn’t need to design patterns and set up a shop. I didn’t need to sew at all.

And in a last ditch, self-protective effort, Brain said “Fuck sewing” and transferred 65% of my anxiety to the Lair. The remaining 35% for the rest of my life was still more than it’s been in the past, but I could still live function.

But anxiety is a fairy tale monster that sees your puny attempts to defeat it, regroups, re-strategizes, and re-attacks. I became almost as anxious about NOT sewing as I do about sewing.

Fuck you, Anxiety.

Seriously. You’re a dick.

I’ve made some changes my life since November – changed brands on my thyroid meds, drastically changed my diet in an effort to handle things better, etc. I got a tattoo on my wrist as a constant reminder to take care of myself, because anxiety (and depression) certainly don’t have my best interest at heart.

And now… it’s time to face whatever monster is lurking in the Lair.

I went in there yesterday.

I couldn’t breathe.

I cried. A lot.

If you looked at me, you might have thought I was preparing to jump out of a plane, not sit on my butt in front of a sewing machine.

But I did it. I finished quilting something I started when I was still trying to pretend everything was fine. And I made a set of placemats for mom that are Spring colors.

And I’m going back in there today. I hope to make an April mini for the mini quilt stand. I found a cute free pattern on Craftsy that I’m going to use.

Going forward… I’m going to try to “show up” at least 3x a week, and I’m going to sew for me. No charity stuff, no designing “patterns that might sell”, no designing things I think would impress people, no commissions…

No fucking pressure – external or, more likely, internal.

For now, I’m going back to how it was – to when I sewed because it was fun.

Maybe someday things will be different but for now, I need this to be 100% hobby and not a “passion” that I could monetize because DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND YOU’LL NEVER WORK A DAY IN YOUR LIFE or any of the other cliches that are constantly thrown around, as if fun work isn’t still fucking stressful work.

I’m going to try to be more honest here too… because maybe I’m not the only one who’s struggling and maybe someone will read this and feel better about letting that charity quilt they were thinking about go for right now.

It’s ok to take care of you. It’s ok to say “things aren’t ok.” It’s ok to lay down and rest sometimes – you’ll get up again when you’re ready.

*Hugs for everyone!*

 

 

 

 

I’m absolutely terrified that everything is going to fall apart again.

 

 

Update: Abandoning the Crazy Cat Quilt (for Charity!)

In January, I had thought I would use my somewhat large collection of cat-themed fabric to make some kind of crazy cat quilt. All different fabrics, different blocks, etc. It sounded fun.

But every time I take it out to work on it… I’m not having fun. I’m not sure why, but I’m not, which makes me not want to work on it.

So it’s time to call it. The Crazy Cat Quilt is dead.

But all is not lost! The blocks I’ve made are being made into minis for Comfort for Critters. Here are two tops I made so far.

I’ve got another 6 (non-cat-themed) minis that just need labels and binding. So maybe the next box I send out will have 12 quilts instead of 6.

Maybe some day I’ll try again making a Crazy Cat Quilt, but for now, I’m comfortable with diverting my energy towards charity.

Ironing Boards & Fandoms

This is the view from the lair today.

Blech, snow. Great day to stay indoors and stitch!

First project of the day was to recover my ironing board. I made a great cover a couple years ago using the collage print from the Michael Miller Nevermore collection. I’m not exactly sure why, but tears formed in the center.

I really like having an ironing board cover that fits my personality. As I’m fond of the human skull, and it’s not like I can run to the local big box store and purchase a cover with skulls on it, replacing the cover meant sewing a new one.

Damask skulls from Timeless Treasures this time!

So classy! (I had actually considered using the Chillingsworth panel, but it wasn’t long enough.)

Also, I am super excited to announce that the first of my Eternal Darkness Rune patterns is now also listed at Fandom in Stitches!! I’m a Fandom in Stitches designer now! Yay me!

Slowly, my fear of The Fraud Police wanes. This calls for roses!

2016 Goals

In 2015, I set some goals for myself. This is not really something I do – I’ve thought New Year’s Resolutions were stupid since I was in middle school – but 2014 was so rough, I knew I’d need a year to get over it!

Surprisingly, I met quite a few and made good progress on several others. I must be getting better at goal setting!

So it’s time to decide what quilty things I’d like to focus on in 2016. I’m going to make a permanent page and link it at the top there to keep track.

I’ve previously mentioned the Crazy Cat Quilt being a goal. I made the second block last night. I also asked my friends at Quilting Around the World what their favorite quilt blocks are, so I’ve got a short list for when I’m stuck choosing a block design.

QATW has hosted a contest the last couple years for finishes. You’ve got all year to get 10 finishes, 6 of which can be smaller than 40 x 40. You post each month how many you’ve completed, and there are quarterly prize opportunities.

I’ve signed up again, but I would like to have more large finishes than small this year. So my goal is a minimum of 10 finished quilts, 6 of which are larger than 40 x 40. I’ve got enough UFOs and ideas for new projects that I should be able to meet this goal easily.

Speaking of finishes! The Bookcase needs to be done in time for me to gift it to my friend for her 35th birthday near the end of February! I’ve been dilly-dallying far too long, having already passed two possible gift-giving occasions. It’s time to GET. IT. DONE.

This morning, my inbox had a couple post notifications from other bloggers mentioning block challenges. Sally at Me ‘n’ Henry Lee mentioned starting a Circular 365 Block Challenge put forth by Audrey at Quilty Folk. Deanna of Wedding Dress Blue mentioned the 350 Block Challenge from Prairie Moon Quilts that she was just finishing.

I like the idea of a Block Challenge. If Prairie Moon Quilts officially starts a 350 Block Challenge for 2016, I will join. But I’m setting 350 blocks as my goal either way. That’s about a block a day, which I think it completely doable!

So to recap, my 2016 Quilty Goals are pretty simple and manageable:

  • At least 10 Finishes
    • Six to be 40 x 40 or larger
    • To include the Crazy Cat Quilt
    • To include the Bookcase
  • 350 Quilt Blocks

Maybe I will add more goals as the year continues, but this is a great place to start! When I add in my other personal goals, I will be working at a good pace in 2016.

I Used a Longarm!

Today I took myself over to Four Pines Quilting to rent a little time on the longarm. I immediately named it Gloria. Say hello to Gloria.

Brent asked me if I would like to practice first on another quilt before working on my own. He has a big pile of charity quilts that need to be done and I could quilt one of those first to get the hang of it.

The quilt above is the one I practiced on and it came out well.

Being on the shorter side, using the longarm took a little effort. We lowered the work space as much as we could without taking off the wheels.

The work arm is a little heavier than I was expecting. The machine is on a concrete floor as well, so my knees and hips hurt a little bit after standing for so long.

But wow can you quilt so much faster on a longarm than on a home machine!! I spent just over an hour doing a basic meander on the quilt for A’s baby. If I tried to quilt it at home, I would have been working on it for days and my stitching would not be so even.

Not too bad, right?

I would love to have my own longarm machine at home. If only I had the space! (And the money!)

Until then, it’s great to know I can knock out a bigger project on the machines at my local quilt shop.

 

I’m Always Losing Things

Does anyone else often find themselves saying, “I’m going to leave this here so I remember where it is,” only to realize later that you don’t remember where it is. You can remember you put it somewhere special so you wouldn’t lose it, but you can no longer remember where that special place was.

I do this.

All. The. Time.

Most recent example: I’ve lost almost all the feet for one of my sewing machines, Cadfael.

Cadfael is a very old, very inexpensive machine from a big box store that probably should have died years ago. So far, all I’ve had to replace was the pedal/power cord. He can be a little tempermental, but I still love him.

I mostly sew with Oswin, who is a workhorse. He only does straight-stitching though. So when I need to use another type of stitch, like a zig-zag, I have to get out Cadfael. It’s a rare event – I don’t applique much.

I moved Oswin, put Cadfael on my work table and plugged him in. The last time I used him was to put some cording on a pillow, so I pulled off the cording foot and that’s when I realized I had no idea where any of the other feet were.

I spent about 45 minutes looking everywhere I could think of to look. Nothing. Not a single foot. I can’t even think of anywhere else I could have reasonably put them!

I’m on a time crunch to get this quilt finished, so I took Cadfael back off the work table and set Oswin up again. I attached the Dresden Plate to the background using a straight stitch. I’m not particularly happy about it but a girl’s gotta do… I’ll make sure I quilt a bunch over it.

Does anyone know where Cadfael’s feet are? Anyone?!