Becoming Unstuck

I get stuck sometimes. I suspect it happens to everyone now and then. For me, getting stuck can mean writer’s block, a dull routine, what book to read next, an attitude… My most recent episode of “stuckness” has to do with a quilting project. Becoming unstuck is not easy.

Early in January I got the bug to make a new bedspread. After searching the internet for inspiration, I decided to use up some of my extensive fabric collection by making a jelly roll quilt. For those of you who do not quilt, a jelly roll quilt involves making a large piece of fabric by sewing 2 1/2 inch wide strips of fabric together. It’s a bit more involved than that, but not much. A jelly roll quilt is intended to be a quick and easy project.

I went to my fabric collection, and chose my palette of teal, purple, coral and gold. I did some quick math, cut about 100 strips, and set about to sew them together for the quilt top.

The quilt top grew and grew and grew. As it turns out, my math had overestimated the strips needed by a long shot. (Did I mention, math has never been my strong suit?) I created a much larger expanse of yardage than I needed for my project.

So I decided to get creative. Instead of a simple jelly roll quilt, I cut my created yardage into sections and added areas of white. At that point, I put everything onto the design wall to mull over what I would do to finish the quilt top.

Now what? I usually study the quilt pieces on the wall for a few days. This time the days became weeks which became months. I was stuck.

For me, the hardest part of becoming unstuck is getting started again. It’s as though I’m sitting in the car, key in hand, unable to get the key into the ignition. Over the past several weeks, I’ve attempted several such starts.

A few days ago, I finally ventured into the sewing room with a vision and a plan. I made a bit of progress, sewed a few seams…….and ran out of bobbin thread. That’s when I realized I had no extra spools of the color thread I was using.

Before I could become unstuck, I had to make a trip to the fabric store for thread. What!? Since when did thread cost $5 a spool? Apparently, it’s been a while since I’ve bought thread. Luckily for me, there was a two-for-one sale going on.

Armed with plenty of thread, I’ve been able to make a bit more progress. I’m now piecing the back of the quilt, and I’ve regained my momentum. I’m on my way to getting unstuck. I’ll get there. I just have to keep working at it.

photo unstuck

Unlocking the World

I ran across the featured picture while I was looking for something else. The quilt in the photo was one of my very first attempts at applique and patchwork years ago. I don’t name all my quilts, but I named this one “Reading Unlocks the World”.

How true that is. I grew up an ordinary kid in an ordinary suburb of Boise, Idaho. When my family traveled, we went one place–to Sacramento to visit relatives. My world was quite small.

Reading indeed unlocked the world for me and allowed me to travel far and wide.

As a youngster I traveled to the Land of Oz, visited a little girl and her grandfather in a small cabin in the Swiss Alps, and trekked along the Oregon Trail.

I met movie stars, Presidents, sports heroes, and Helen Keller. I also met ordinary kids like myself, who taught me how to navigate my growing world.

The adventures have continued throughout my reading life. I cannot imagine a life without reading.

This snowy spring day, I have begun a new journey into the life of Albert Schweitzer via his autobiography, Out of My Life and Thought. I have read many biographies over the years. Somehow I missed this one  until now.

Enjoy your Free-Reading Friday!