At the time I was struggling. Struggling with who I was, or how I defined myself (a recovering quilt magazine editor). Struggling with quilting. I was paralyzed creatively from that experience. Maybe not paralyzed, but I had certainly lost my mojo during that “phase” of my life and I was trying slowly, desperately to get it back.
I was also struggling with how to define myself on a newly created blog. What “voice” I would use, etc. Truth be told, I don’t think I have done a very good job. This is entirely my own fault. Ironic really, but let me explain.
Why “Stitch Outside the Ditch?” Long story short, I attribute this concept to me being a middle child. Middle children fly below the radar. We do things differently. Walk a little bit on the wild side, but not enough to get in major trouble. In elementary school I was a talker (not much has changed). When I was in fifth grade (Mrs. Berry’s class, J.R. Brooker Elementary) I used to get my name written on the board (strike 1). Then a “check” mark (strike 2). Double check (strike 3). What does that even mean, really? “I’m not going to warn you again.” Actually, two checks meant a hand slap with rulers taped together. I suspect this is probably illegal now. And then I would stop; most of the time. One time, I got three checks—it was horrible. A LETTER HOME TO MY PARENTS, WHICH THEY HAD TO SIGN. I was worried sick. Fear of disappointing and whatnot.
Where was I?
As a middle child I:
- fly under the radar
- like to be a bit risky
- hate to disappoint and here’s the kicker
- am fiercely independent.
Swim against the stream. Most of the time.
In quilting, when you stitch-in-the-ditch, you are quilting in that “valley” created next to a seam that is pressed “away” from you. This is a very traditional, and I am going to say conservative, way to quilt. It is the way to quilt when you don’t want the quilting to be obvious, or command attention. It is a way of quilting that does not require thinking outside of the box. Ironically, it is also very hard to do well.
In my quilting I am a rule breaker (or maybe a rule bender—a ¼” seam is paramount). I am a liberated quiltmaker and am not modest about it. In my personal life I buck tradition. People who know me, know this about me. But here is the thing. I don’t feel like I have been completely honest with you, or me for that matter, on this blog. This makes the blog, which was non-existent three years ago suffer (as if that is even possible).
In the past I have only largely written about quilting—but there is so much more to me than quilting. So much more I want to share with you. So many things I don’t currently share because I don’t know how they fit into this format, this genre of blog/brand. Things I don’t share because I may offend (see #3 above) someone with my opinion (they are strong, and sometimes controversial, or may be hurtful to some—I am thinking mainly about some of the brouhaha that often surfaces in the quilting world). Things I don’t write because I may offend someone with my word choice. Truth be told I am a cusser and I edit my words to “politely” fit this space. No more.
Also, there are things I don’t write about because NO ONE CARES. But here’s the thing—I care. And I have thoughts about things, which sounds stupid to even type, but this is true. I need to write about them to get the words that are constantly on repeat out of my head so that new words/thoughts/designs/ideas can enter. I want to use this space to share some of my other creative pursuits. Running pursuits. Tidying pursuits. Photography pursuits. Plus, some of the content would likely be good. Just sayin’.
In an effort for me to be more honest and transparent I have decided to cuss when I need to cuss; to write when I feel the need to write; to share what I need to share. I learned over a year ago in a seminar on personal branding that I need to either repel or attract readers with my blog and that is what I am going to do. #slowlearner (I feel better already).
It seems there is constantly chatter on the internets about the “death” of blogs, or blogs as a dying medium because they were killed by Instagram, which killed Flickr or some murder pyramid scheme like that. I think blogs are what you make of them, writing or reading, and I read some really good blogs. The best blogs, in my opinion, are ones that have really good writing, but not necessarily about quilting because those things obstruct my own creative processes. One of my goals this year is to make my blog better, for you dear friend, but more importantly for me.
So, I am wondering–do you have a minute? There are some things I have been wanting to share…