I've been forced to rest on the couch this week, and my quilting activity has slowed down accordingly. As result, I've been thinking about the balance between having fun while piecing, applique, and quilting, and choosing projects that are challenging.
For example, I often hear on message boards and email lists that "I can't stipple! its drives me crazy! I've tried everything!" well, then don't! - unless you are really really sure that's what you want. Just because many people do stippling and meandering, you can do your own thing and enjoy it - there are so many other options, as well as ones you can make up on your own.
This applies to just about every aspect of quilting. For me, needleturn applique is where I have problems finding the balance between a fun hobby and a challenging obsession! I so enjoy looking at the variety of styles and patterns, and while I know my skills are good, and I am able to do the small pieces, or the sharp skinny corners, do I really want to? Wouldn't I enjoy it more if I stuck to a pattern that was larger, or had less challenging parts? But then comes the envy - she can do it, so why don't I? Well, I have to learn to be happy with my choices - celebrate others' achievements and always remember why you chose to do what you did.
In Sue Garman's new block a month at The Quilt Show, she presents instructions for a paper pieced feathered star for the first block. And then, she offers an alternate star - making it clear to all that some of us just might not want to take on the feathered star, and we will be perfectly okay - and happier - if we did the alternate block.,
I chose the feathered star, even though I despise paper piecing, because it was just one block and I was up for the challenge. If it was more than one, I don't think I would have done it - it would crossed the line between fun and challenging.
So with these thoughts running through my head, I've edited my must do projects for this year -
my son's wedding quilt will be a Thimbleberries pattern that was once a block of the month, called Thimbleberries Village - I'm calling it Seasons. This past weekend I got the fabrics sorted for each block, so it will be easy going to have it ready for November/09.
an applique pattern called Vintage Tulips - I've shrunk the size of the blocks by eighty percent, as they were just two large. I'm going to set it in a four block setting, and perhaps add an extra border to make it lap size.
Stars for a New Day - which I am going to call Quilt Stars - very scrappy, from 1800's repro style fabric
a Tisket, a Tasket, from Anne Sutton at Bunny Hill Designs - if you only knew how many basket quilts I've started! This one is easy applique and stitching, one small block a month, presented as a mystery - lets hope I stick with it
I do still have three scrappypieced tops in progress, and two fusbile applique projects in progress, as well as the Jan Patek's Favourite Things b.o.m. So I've cancelled the Aunt Millie's Garden b.o.m., as much as I loved the idea of having the red background and applique fabrics delivered every month - the challenge of staying up to date on these blocks on a monthly basis will cross the challenging - fun line that I'm going to stay aware of this year.