10.29.2011

Methodical Is Not Mundane

There's something about the hum of the sewing machine and the whirr of bobbin winding and the rhythm of piecing a quilt that does my body good. I mean, my back and bootie don't love me when I sit for long periods of time on my couch hunched over my coffee table cutting, pinning, and sewing. But, on the days when I carve out some time to work on piecing, I suddenly notice some real changes.

My stress goes away.

My blood sugar comes down.

My heart rate and blood pressure begin to drop.

I feel calm.

And happy.

And I'm a nicer person. Ask Chris.


I'm not exactly sure why this happens. But it's been happening. A lot lately. When I think about my quilt design process, I realize that I am very methodical in my approach. I plan my quilts in a way that allows me to cut everything then pin everything then sew everything that's been pinned and then iron the whole batch and then piece my pinned pieces into larger pinned pieces and repeat until I'm done.

I don't know. Maybe some of you are sitting there thinking that being so methodical makes the work mundane. I suppose that might be true on occasion. And, of course, this methodical approach won't work for every quilt. But, lately, I find myself gravitating toward this type of work. I'm guessing that my body just knows what it needs—a low pressure, steady, and somewhat mindless kind of process.

I noticed this trend in my work habit last week when I was working on another Christmas gift quilt . . .

I cut and cut and cut until I ran out of Kona Snow (oops! Did I mention that things would be less stressful if I calculated right the first time?!) . . .




And then I determined a pinning method and pinned and pinned and pinned until all the pieces were matched up (thank goodness for boxes of 500 pins!) . . . .



And then I stopped to take pictures of my lovely stack of precisely prepared pinned pieces piled perfectly prior to commencing the stitchery (why do we love to take so many photos!?) . . .




And then I chain stitched the pieces until my stack of lovely pinned pieces dwindled to nothing . . .



And had fun observing the lovely bunting that resulted . . .



I cut and separated all of the pieces and ironed them all and then put everything into more perfect piles for future piecing . . .



And then I made a test block (which I may have then ripped out because my points didn't meet as perfectly as I'd have liked) . . .




And now I can't do any more on this one until I go buy more Kona Snow. Today, hopefully. Because I'm thinking that my body could use some stress relief. And more of the same might be just what it needs.

So, do any of you find that you are this crazily methodical about your piecing and quilting or do you prefer to plan each block more precisely and then cut and sew as you go along? I'm really interested to know. Is this the norm or am I a bit crazy?

Regardless, I'm beginning to think that all endocrinologists should prescribe quilting to their diabetic patients. Maybe I should mention that next time I'm in my endo's office.

Or not.

3 comments:

Rachel Hauser said...

A lovely post! We love the photographs because they capture such beauty. I like the one of you holding the bunting. Reminds me to get off the computer and go choose fabrics for Aria's birthday bunting!

Splendorfalls said...

Girl we are SO cut from the same cloth! I am crazy methodical and love being as efficient as possible. Your piles and methods are so familiar: love it! Ps. This is going to be a great quilt. Pss. I forgot to tell you that I LOVE your new blog header!

Hollie said...

I absolutely agree with you. I find something so therapeutic and soothing about the process. I have always said that sewing is my therapy. I feel centered and peaceful (even when I'm correcting my mistakes and ripping stitches). It's the one thing that I've found that lets me completely take my mind off all of the other stresses in the world. I can't wait to see how this latest quilt comes out. Looking good so far!