Apparently I'm in a bit of a blogging and making slump at the moment. I blame it on the weather. Spring seems to have hit early this year. And my kids. For the first time ever, while preparing a vege garden, they have not systematically come behind me to destroy it. We've been shopping for hay, we've been planting blueberry bushes, we've been enjoying the new buds on the pomegranate tree. My camera and phone all the while, have laid abandoned inside. I usually have a running commentary in my head as I go through my day, all of life potential fodder for my blog, but I've felt compelled lately just to experience the moment and let it flitter away, never to be recorded.
I've felt a bit guilty, which is strange, because I haven't promised a regular update to anyone, except perhaps, to myself. I seem to be the kind of person who baulks at commitment. I'm highly driven to complete things sprung from internal motivation, but as soon as I commit to someone else's project, or push past the motivation of my own, something in me falls asleep. Is this common? Is it left over from school and uni days, dragged from one deadline to the next? I used to think I was motivated by deadlines, but now I think I was just trained to push myself to meet them. Is anyone else out there like this?
I've felt the same with my online quilting bee, Scrappy? Sew Bee it! Thankfully, I've had a very gracious and relaxed group of new friends to initiate me into the world of monthly quilt block making. I really enjoy only making one or two blocks, having a quick project over in an hour or two, but somehow, earlier this year, I found myself seven or eight months behind! I'm embarrassed to even share it here, but the reason I am, is because when, in May, I decided I would try to catch up before my month in June, I discovered some important things about the way I work and why I couldn't achieve something as small as a block a month. I thought I'd share it with you in case you can relate.
I think the biggest single difference for me with my usual sewing habit, and making a block for someone, is the way I make a start. I rarely use patterns or shop or make sure I have the right materials before I start. My most comfortable way of making is to turn on my iron and machine and sit down. Sometimes I have bursts where I do a ton of cutting, but mostly I have a couple of things on the go so that at any time I can just walk into my sewing room and sit. Sitting is my default.
But with block making, the beginning steps are very different. It starts with turning on my computer, checking Flickr, downloading or clicking the link to a pattern, sometimes printing (my least favourite, because my printer hates me). This long list of prerequisites was not at all clear in my mind when I would finally sit down to make a block and, drawing a blank, end up picking something else to work on. It sounds obvious, but I really had to train myself to go to my laptop first rather than my sewing room. I had to remind myself to read all the instructions rather than look at a picture for inspiration and just make up the measurements and colours.
It's been an important learning curve for me to understand that I wasn't behind because I was lazy or disorganised. I just needed to teach myself some practical skills that went against my natural inclinations. I just needed to break it down into tiny steps. What about you? Got any extra tips for getting bee blocks in on time?
Now, I just have one more block to do today, and then I'm heading back outside to enjoy the sunshine.