Thursday, April 28, 2011

Process Always Wins Over Prolificness

I love to see a project grow in front of my very eyes, but sometimes I'm impatient.

The satisfaction I feel every time I add a block to one of my design walls can't be put into words.

There's something therapeutic about piecing quilt blocks one at a time over a period of weeks. I savor the process thoroughly.

When I give it a chance.

I've been staring at the Modern Solids blocks Charlie and I have created for our quilt along for about 5 weeks now. They sit right above my computer just about overpowering that corner of my studio. I was almost certain I would get tired of seeing them there, but their presence for me has become an icon of self actualization.

I sometimes get carried away looking through flickr and/or friends' blogs just to try and keep up with everyone. The speed at which some quilter's finish projects amazes me. I look at them and see all the accomplishments, sometimes listed and linked right there on their side bars, and think to myself, what am I doing wrong? Am I not committed enough to my craft? Should I be spending more time behind my sewing machine if I want to hit the major leagues?

I almost get to the point where I become completely discouraged and then I finish another quilt block and add it to my design wall.

That tiny pang of satisfaction rises again and I think to myself, "yeah, this is what it's all about. The PROCESS."

Who really cares about how many quilts I make in a year...

...as long as I enjoy making them.

23 comments:

  1. A big AMEN! I flit from project to project doing what interests me in the moment and what is fun (most of the time) so my list of projects unfinished is always long and my finishes short. But I am having fun!

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  2. I totally agree. I'm often discouraged by speedy quilters, and they make me doubt my skills. But then again, I have two daughters, a full time job, a house and even a dog. I've enough running in life and I wouldn't like a lovely hobby to' be rushed. Yeah, you're right: it's the process.

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  3. I know! You are so right though!

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  4. AMEN! No need to 'power quilt' like some other bloggers, otherwise your 'craft' tends to suffer.

    Quality NOT Quantity :D

    Have a good day!

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  5. Could not agree more.

    Sometimes I wish I had a dedicated studio, but if I did, I think I would suffer more from the "GottaDoMore" Syndrome than I already do.

    That said, I have already told my wife that when one of the kids leaves the house, I get their bedroom!

    Thanks for taking the time to blog... I enjoy reading of your adventures in quilting.

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  6. I will add, though, that sometimes prolificness has its place - like when making quilts for sick people. The need never seems to slow down or minimize! So we churn out quilts pretty quickly - but with love and attention to the craft!

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  7. I love the colours of your blocks, they're gorgeous! Quilting is a hobby, when it becomes a chore, maybe it's time to re-evaluate. And you know how the saying goes, anything worth doing in life is worth doing well! :)

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  8. Thanks for the great reminder. Ryan. It encourages me right now, as I am in the final push of the school year. I will try to remember "process". Thanks!

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  9. I agree Sarah, that prolificness does have its place. Thank you for making quilts to help cheer up sick individuals. On of my goals this year is to create more quilts for charity.

    Thanks for commenting Paul. Please share pictures of that dedicated quilting space when you get it all set up! How many more years? I hope the time flies by, but at the same time hope you get to spend many memorable moments with your oldest before they venture out on their own.

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  11. For me quiltmaking has always been about the process, although the process includes a nice completion celebration, thankfully.
    I sometimes wish I could accomplish more finishes, but there are a lot of demands in life that limit productivity. I'm happy to be a process person--even when I need to remind myself that "Life is a journey, not a destination."

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  12. Nice job! I, too, have trouble being prolific, and love the process -- it really feels wonderful every time I finish something! BTW, Ryan, LOVE you design wall blocks. Really peaks my interest wondering how it will look upon completion.

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  13. Thank you for this post! I needed to know I am not alone in my discouragement and the reminder that we all have different demands and desires that affect the quilting. But in the end it I started quilting not because of the finished product but it gives me satisfaction the whole journy long!

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  14. I don't post here often Ryan, but read you often ... today though, I wanted to say thank you. I see so many others' lists of accomplishments and think ... goodness what am I doing wrong ... but with my 5 and 6 year old daughters, I'm lucky to be stitching at all. You're right, sometimes one block IS an accomplishment! Thanks!!

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  15. I love those blocks on your design wall!!

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  16. Ryan, I am 100% with you on this. It's overwhelming sometimes to see all the projects some quilters manage to crank out, and sometimes I'm envious. I'm curious as to how they manage to do so much--do they not sleep? Don't they do anything else?? I'd rather enjoy the process, even if that means that I get less done overall, than kill myself trying to keep up with someone else. If that means I only finish 3 quilts a year? So be it!

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  17. I started out trying to churn out quilts as fast as I could. Afterall I have four kids, four grandkids and various other relatives that I needed to make something for. Now I am working on projects that interest me and make me stretch. If I didn't have to work maybe I could get more quilting time in.

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  18. Thanks for the reminder! I wouldn't be in a hurry to get those fabulous squares off my design wall. What beautiful work!

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  19. Thanks for showing us the picture...wonderful design wall location! Love the blocks.

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  20. Thank goodness I am not the only one!!!! My quilts take lots of time and I actually get a little frustrated seeing quilt after quilt, but if you enjoy your own personal process of creating it doesn't matter. :) Thanks. I really needed this post today!

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  21. I was a one woman quilt factory when I first learned. I have heard this aptly called a "journeyman phase." I now have a lot of basic skills and I am working quilt by quilt on expanding those, stretching myself, and having fun. I still make simple things because I enjoy that aesthetic, but I'm playing with putting things on point, embellishing, making bigger quilts, and really enjoying everything. It's a lot like getting over that honeymoon phase in your marriage and into a happy, love filled life.

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  22. Ryan,
    I firmly believe that one creates at the rate one enjoys- when I have to create to a deadline its not much fun and not as satisfying. Everyone enjoys life in the way that suits their body rhythms and lifestyle. I admire others who can create more than I do but I just do what I can do- the process is equally important to product.
    Do what makes you happy- and don't let the pressure to speed create spoil it for you.
    Warmest regards,
    Anna

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  23. As most comments have already said, I totally agree. I think we are all a bit discouraged by the speedy quilters, thinking that we just aren't living up to what we should to get our projects done! It should be fun! Thanks so much for the encouraging post!

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