I've been doing rag quilts for so long I've put off doing traditional quilts. Truth is, rag quilts are faster to make & in business, you do what is profitable & what you can churn out at a steady rate. They are no less pretty, practical or perfect for gift giving. They are simply quicker.
That said, I've had a strong longing to play in my fabrics again & fussy cut, precise cut & sew all my scraps to make traditional quilts.
Okay, that is NOT the truth, the scraps part - I'm overwhelmed.
I go to therapy for coping & living with C-PTSD due to some trauma's & events. I no longer allow the events to control me on the daily but unfortunately they left behind some struggles that I am wanting to work on. One of them is organizing my thoughts during new stressors in life.
Most of my life I've been pretty Type A, almost OCD, some would say, absolutely OCD. I find that to be a plus, not a negative. Who doesn't like stuff in their place and a clean home? Trained dogs & being on time? Learning about new things while upholding & completing old?
One of my challenges or "homework assignments" by my therapist was to work on decluttering my stash (i.e. - leftover fabrics from projects prior).
Well, it's my own fault. I was complaining about feeling unorganized which causes me stress & then I sit in bed at night & ruminate on what I "could" be doing rather than what I should be doing, SLEEPING! And of course, I have diagnosed clinical chronic insomnia ( I generally get no more than 4 hours sleep a day) so giving up any sleep I could get is a big no-no.
You see where this is going right? Well, one thing led to another.
I had 4 bins of scraps & I was trying to make sense of cutting up new fabric every time I bought some for another project. This of course led to more bins, more stress & more perceived disorganization (even though each bin was color or themed compartmentalized, covered & put up nicely.
My therapist's take was this: "I've seen your work, I've seen how fast you can work & I believe you can do this task I'm about to put forth. I think it would be best to take it down from 4 bins to 1 & I would like you to do it in 30 days."
You see where THE HORROR comes in now right?
All of you quilters & crafters know this feeling. BUT, I agreed. I knew I was fully capable of the task. It was the organization I was struggling with. So she got specific. She wanted me to do a Queen, a Double, a Twin and a baby or throw. YES, I had that much stash!!
I was not allowed to purchase any fabric unless used to complete said quilt top ( such as backing, batting or borders. PERIOD. (I generally purchase once a week minimum so this would be tough).
2. I could not undo anything I started unless it would corrupt the integrity of the construction on the quilt itself (seams).
3. I was only allowed to keep one item. HUH?
4. One needed to be donated. Not a problem!
5. Complete only meant quilt TOPS. She understood (she quilts) the pinning & quilting &/or the shipping off the anointed Long Arm Quilter's who do us a great service when we are unable to do for ourselves. I digress, completed quilt tops was the assignment.
THIS is where Literally but quietly in my brain said THANK FRIGGIN GAWD!!
She is kind while being a monster.
This is quilt one of my scrap busting Therapy Quilts. At first I thought, what the heck? How the heck? When the heck? Then I took a deep breath & took on the task as she meant it to be.
One step at a time, one task at a time, one quilt at a time.
As I settled into my sewing room chair, I grabbed bin one & got to work.
As I was creating this quilt I realized there were fabrics in here from projects many years ago & I started to recall what & for whom I made that particular project for. I started thinking about my successful little business I created from, well, desperation. You see, I'm disabled but fully & willingly capable of something. My husband & kids suggested, encouraged & flat out dared me to list on Ebay. I did. It sold. I had confidence. And so it's gone since January 16th, 2003.
So, as I sat & began to reminisce about the countless items I've created & sold over the years, I began to realize how I'm not really disorganized in the literal sense, at all. I managed to control all aspects of my lil' business & do it successfully. You have to have a level of organization to pull that off. So I started to list such things as I played, I mean worked in my scrap bin.
As thoughts would roll about in my mind I began to realize a comfort, a relaxation coming over me. The tension was burning off. The thoughts in my brain were slowing down enough to make sense of & appreciate the days. The day I got the bad news (my health), the day I started to rethink my future (the fam coaxing me), the hard work & long days & nights I've put in (which have garnered me long time clients), the day I got life changing health news and right up until now, the ongoing recovery of several traumatic events in my past. I was accepting & moving forward if not for the need of, it was in spite of.
I've learned how to weave through agitation from loss of control, loss in general, frustration of not knowing the future to an extent, personal space intolerance & I've especially learned boundaries can be prisons or mental gate keepers. I've had a lot crap happen that my therapist says would've ruined many but, I've pieced together enough good days & thoughts to stay above it. But, I've also collected a lot of ruminating thoughts that were hard to rid myself of. They were placed in mental bins & lidded until a trigger would happen. And then, it got overwhelming. I was never depressed or sad per se. But I had anxiety which left me feeling overwhelmed, out of control of myself.
Just like my thoughts, I collected a lot of fabric scraps placed in bins for another day. I never really dealt with the 'collection' of scraps or put them to good use. They looked good, all organized. Seemed fine in their lil plastic covered bins. BUT, they were mentally weighing me down. They were too many, too cluttered, too overwhelming.
So I took her challenge & somewhere along the way I realized:
I've made friends from all over the USA & abroad.
Turned disability into ability income,
Turned fabric into useful art
And, somewhere along the way, I settled some old emotional scores & cleared out a multitude of bins in my brain.
Love your bits & pieces!
They'll love you back & when they do, you'll feel lighter.
p.s. I managed to make 7 quilt tops (I will share in time) which I am currently quilting so they don't become UFO's. & a new appreciation for my therapist & (her HORROR inducing challenges) 'charming' ways.