On paralysis and changing perspectives

I’ve been struggling this summer. There, I said it.

I’ve had a difficult time doing anything that I considered “productive.” The definition of which I set for myself. Sometimes I am paralyzed by my own thoughts. My own rules. My own limitations. My own  lists.

Up until this last year, I controlled my own actions by some pretty rigid deadlines and schedules. Some were self-imposed, others not. I thought I had recovered from that publishing experience. Thought I had ridden myself of the burden of being controlled by the daily schedule (which was due at 8 AM no less).

But instead, in the last year and a half I have done the complete opposite. No deadlines. No schedules. No pressure. And here’s what I have learned–without them I have no productivity. Or at least no sense of productivity.

This is not to say that I haven’t been doing stuff. I have. I planted a garden. And have worked in the yard. And I painted the bathroom. And I took some vacations.  And I STARTED RUNNING!!!!

But here’s the thing…I have largely not quilted. Or blogged. I keep tossing the words around in my head that I am associating with this, this, issue. Paralysis keeps popping up. But really it isn’t paralysis. I have ideas. Lots of ideas. Maybe TOO MANY, in fact. Maybe that is partly the problem. But the other word that I really think is the issue is gumption.

So. What do I do with it? Here’s what I have decided. OWN IT. Own this slower pace. Own the summer. Own my thoughts. Own my issues. Own my battle with perfection. Own myself.

And if you own these things, you may be rewarded.

For instance. Today I turned my cutting table 90 degrees. Just one quarter turn and it has given me a new perspective. That and I started P90x today with the husband. And while I can barely lift my arms to type at the keyboard (that is a different kind of paralysis) I have made a small change.

And here I sit, typing a blog post. Not a long one, but not an insignificant one either, and with that, perhaps the cycle has been broken.

Only time will tell.

(not so) EZ Dresden Quilt Challenge

So we’re now on Day 6 of the EZ Dresden Quilting Challenge and by now you know all of the details and the PRIZES and have seen some really talented quilters in the likes of Lee, Kati, Victoria, TanyaVal, and Leigh. Are you inspired yet to join the challenge, or are you still on the fence about committing (although we’ll have all summer to stitch)? If you’re already on board GREAT! But if you’re still undecided because of time, or overcommitment, or whatever, I offer the following insight that will hopefully get you to change your mind.

The Idea

I am process-driven. I am not in a race to finish a quilt a week, or even a month (as my guild members can attest at my lack of show and tell). Combine that with the fact that I am a list maker. I make lists. I’ve always been this way, but started making lists even more frequently in college. It is not uncommon for me to write something on my “to do” list that I’ve already completed just so I can feel like I accomplished something cross it off.

I currently have 18 “planned” quilts on my list. 18. That were in my head, and then made it to the list. Not to mention the fact that the list needs to be updated. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my own hobby. How wacky is that?

So when the idea came about to organize and participate in a Dresden Plate quilt challenge, honestly, I felt a little lukewarm about it. Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE Dresdens. And I love my friends at EZ Quilting, especially Darlene Zimmerman, so how could I not participate in a challenge to celebrate her 20th Anniversary of making my quilting life easier? So the big question for me was how do I fit this challenge in to my “quilt schedule?” Currently it is on the list as number eight:

#8 EZ Dresden Quilt Challenge: “Gingham” inspired, navy, off-white, grey, beige, brown, color (yellow? Red, orange (sm. Gingham))? Asian? Use real Japanese. Homemade (Gwen 37 Sketches) gingham.

How is that for a ridiculously complex description of a quilt? I clearly had some initial ideas about fabrics and colors. Although what I had in my head then, was not what I am working on now. Continue reading

A quilt saga

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

OK, so it ended just over a year ago, and it was in Indiana (which might as well have been Tatouine)…I was the editor of this magazine.

And did things like create and edit this book and special interest publication.









People hear this and they think one of several things:

  1. What a dream job.
  2. How does that match with your present career? (Read: how were you qualified to edit a national quilting publication?)
  3. Why would you ever quit that job? You were so lucky.
  4. You must know everything about quilting/sewing/magazines.
  5. Can you still get free stuff?

Continue reading


Starting a blog is not unlike the process one must go through to start a quilt…so why is this so hard?

There are so many questions to answer and decisions to make. What fabric to use? (WordPress.) What pattern? (Twenty Eleven.) Who is it for? (Me or Them.) Will the recipient even like it and does it really matter? (Maybe, on both accounts.) And the widgets…so many widgets.

Should I break up a set of coveted prints? (Yes.) Or continue to hoard them? (Maybe only for a little while. Those Melody Miller prints sure look great all bundled up by the folks at Kokka.) Should they be used together? (Maybe, but likely they won’t.) I realize these questions aren’t making sense, but they do have meaning.

Of course there are questions about grammar and style. (Taking the quilt to the long-arm quilter is easy, but is it selling out? Will I ever get better at free-motion quilting if all I ever quilt is straight lines with the presser foot down?)

I’ve learned through the years to make what I like. Stay true to myself. One thought keeps running through my mind— you can’t please anyone if you don’t please yourself. So, I’ll stick with what I know and the outcome will surely be positive. Or positive enough, for me. At some point, you just have to make that first cut. And fabric litter on the floor is the sure sign of progress.

Here goes nothing…Or SOMETHING.