Becoming Unstuck, Part II

A few weeks ago, I wrote about being stuck on a quilting project I had begun way back in January. I’m happy to announce that I’ve finished the quilt!

Whew! This quilt ended up being a much bigger project than I had intended in more ways than one.  Not only did I have to put it aside a time or two while I thought about what to do next, the sheer size of the quilt caused me to have to take many breaks. I began to refer to it as a behemoth. Lugging it around and pushing it through the sewing machine was physically taxing.

Finishing a quilt is something like finishing a good book. I have many “next quilt” ideas in my head, but I need to enjoy this one for a while before beginning another.

Taking a break from quilting gives me a good excuse to begin reading the next book. Happy Free-Reading Friday!bedspsread quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a Break

Is it possible to get PTSD from the news? I am beginning to think it might just be so. It  would be hard to argue that the current news climate is anything but stressful and depressing. It seems as though every day we are bombarded with nothing but bad news.

A healthcare bill that threatens to devastate the many who depend on Medicaid.

Syria.

Yet another child left to die in a hot car.

Russia’s tampering with our election process.

One more outrageous “Presidential” tweet.

STOP!

I needed a break today, so I spent an inordinate amount of time watching  cute pet videos.

I went to the sewing room and lost myself in my current quilt project.

I spent some Friday Free-Reading time and finished a book.

Finally, I went in search of some good news stories.  I found several. (Thanks, Google.)  Here are a few.

In Florida, dozens of strangers formed a human chain in the Gulf of Mexico to save people caught in a riptide.

Closer to home, an Idaho couple was reunited with their dog that had been lost in the wilderness for months.

Preschool sweethearts, who had lost touch with one another, have been reunited and married. (He proposed in front of their old preschool.)

Malala Yousafsai has graduated from secondary school and continues to advocate for women’s education.

President Jimmy Carter has been released from the hospital after having been treated for dehydration. He’s 92. He still builds houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Robinson Cano just hit another home run.

Good news is all around us. Sometimes you just have to go in search of it. I’m glad I did. I can’t make the bad news go away, but I feel better.

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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!