What am I Even Doing Here?!

I know this sounds like the tagline to 2020, but I’m talking specifically about here: this blog and my quilting life. 2020 has really had me thinking about a lot of things, but the thoughts about my quilting life have been really unexpected in some good and bad ways. Let’s dig into some sweet, sweet therapy on it all.

Joni emoji

Where I Am

As I’ve been powering through some WIPs and taking some classes online, I’m starting to see what I like and what I don’t. I’m seeing where I’m strong and where I’m not. And where I’m stuck.

I know I still like quilting… like really like it. I hit a bump back in March and April of These Trying Times, but I’m firmly back on track knowing that time in my studio is directly related to my overall happiness. I’m a better human, partner, and employee when I make time for quilting. So that definitely needs to be a priority moving forward.

I know I don’t like the amount of band wagon hopping I’ve been doing these past couple years. In the past two weekends, I quilted four lap quilts and one mini quilt. Every single one is from a quilt along. I know these events are fun, and I love the sense of community they bring, but I haven’t worked on an original pattern in over a year.

I am in a serious color rut. For real, nearly every single quilt over the past year or two have been rainbow quilts. I freaking love rainbow quilts, but really?! And the brightness and style of these rainbows is starting to look really juvenile to me. I am in a color rut and need to dig myself out ASAP.

Where I’m Going

I’m not going to dump all that on you and not have somewhat of a happy ending! Now that I have a pretty honest assessment of how I choose projects, patterns, and colors, I’m in a much better place to see the kind of quilter I want to be. And, more importantly, the kind of quilter I don’t want to be. So it’s time to throw some old goals away, make some new goals, and see how it all feels along the way.

Dumping Old Goals

When I started this space, I wanted to use it to teach other people to love quilting just as much as I do. I wanted to write easy-to-follow tutorials, write patterns, and design fabric. I have done none of those things (well), so they must not be that important to me. Not only is that OK, I’m grateful to have the self-awareness to know that’s not who I want to be and set it aside.

I looked at the goals I set for 2020 in the Before Times, and realized they were really superficial. X number of mini quilts, Y number of scrap projects. I thought I was making good goals, but it was really just a to-do list. So those types of goals are an immediate no go for 2021.

Habits Over Goals

I’m done with goals that read like a to-do list; I’m going to work on a list of habits I want to develop over time.

The first habit is playing more with color. If I want to break out of my rainbow rut, I have to start playing with color and seeing what parts of the rainbow I like over others. Luckily for me, I joined Rebecca Bryan’s Playful Color Quilt Guild and did absolutely nothing with it for the first year! So now I have over a year’s worth of fun to catch up on while I learn about and play with color. Rebecca only opens up membership every so often, but it’s totally worth clicking on the link to get on the waiting list for next season.

The second habit is to be choosier about which projects I jump into. That’s going to be really hard as we’re coming up on “quilt along season.” But I really want my quilts to be my quilts. Since color is my priority habit now, I’m going to try to choose projects that help me put what I learned playing with color to work in an actual quilt. If a quilt along will help, I’ll join. If it won’t, I’ll skip it.

The final habit I want to focus on is the actual quilting of my projects. I usually go straight to meandering because it’s quick and I know I’m good at it. But it’s almost a little embarrassing to see quilt after quilt in my baskets quilted that way. I’m always so nervous to try anything new, but I never practice quilting to be confident to try something new. So I’ll be working in regular practice into my routine during my studio time.

So that’s what’s been rattling around in my head for the past month or so. I’m pretty excited to put some old goals to bed and start forming new habits that are going to make me an even better quilter!

Has 2020 had you reevaluating your quilting life? I want to hear about it in the comments!

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