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February 2016

Be Gentle With Yourself

This blog doesn't get the attention it deserves because all the social networking channels out there like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest that seem to occupy a lot of my time. There's also Periscope, Google+, Snapchat, Peach, Super....and the list could go on and on. You could cruise through all those apps and websites and not get much else done in the day! But, there's been something I've been thinking about a lot lately after spending time on all those social networking sites, especially Facebook.

Like thousands of others, hundreds of thousands of others, I am part of several quilting groups on Facebook. It's a great place to chat about quilting, fabric, tips, and to show others your finished quilts. It's fun and interesting to see what others are working on and a wealth of information. But, I've noticed a trend in these groups, which makes me think it also happens outside of these Facebook groups. So many times when someone posts their finished quilt, or a new block they've finished, they are quick to point out their "mistakes". So many times I've seen an awesome finished quilt that looks great, but the first thing the maker tells everyone is how wrong this or that is, or that their points aren't exactly lining up like laser beams. My first reaction is to say "what mistakes?!?.... It looks SWEET! You should be SUUUPPPPEERRR proud of yourself for creating that!" Often I make a comment to let the poster know that I think the quilt looks great, aside from their perceived mistakes, along with lots of other people who think the quilt looks sweet. Many times the quilter who made the quilt is usually the only one who really notices their "flaws" or "mistakes". They seem surprised that others love their creation. Granted, not every quilt that someone makes will be your favorite, or mine, but what I hope is that quilters are proud of their work and embrace what they've made without first saying it's "not very good" or "there are tons of mistakes". So many of these quilts are being made for friends or family as a gift or to provide some comfort and the last thing they will see is the tiny flaw of a slightly mis-matched point or small seam allowance hiccup in one of the blocks. Yes, the goal should always be matching seams and points, good pressing techniques, and careful cutting, but even if your quilt had a bump or two on the road to creating it don't cut yourself short! You've made something awesome and it's a wonderful accomplishment.

 

Harding Hill Designs - Be gentle with yourself

 

Making quilts should be fun and you should be proud of your quilts! I've spoken to a lot of new quilters who feel terribly intimidated by their abilities and don't feel like they should have a seat at what should be a huge table of quilters. They create one or two quilts, and because all they can see are those small flaws in their first quilts they give up, and decide they just aren't cut out to be a quilter. I feel a twinge of sadness when I hear people cut down their own work. I strive to create patterns for Harding Hill Designs that are perfect, along with striving to create perfect quilts, but I cut myself some slack when it comes to the quilts I make for myself. I want the process of creating quilts to be enjoyable. For myself, the quickest way to burst the bubble of sewing and quilting enjoyment is by telling myself I'm terrible at it the whole time because all the focus is on the things I could have sewn better. Occasionally my seams are a wee bit off, but I'm trying hard to not make that the focus of the quilt when I talk to others about it. My hope is that instead of pointing out the things we all think we've done wrong with our quilt, we instead celebrate what we've created and show the world with a sense of pride. 

Whether you've created the next "best of show" quilt for a huge juried show or a wonderful quilt you'll be giving a friend, be proud of what you made and what you've accomplished! You are a quilter whether or not your quilt wins awards or just wins the heart of those you have created it for. Be gentle with yourself....keep sewing & creating!