Monday, July 9, 2012

Goals, and the People Who Have Them

I came to a realization this week. One of the things I like about sewing and quilting is that it gives me a chance to finish something. In my non-sewing real life, I'm in the midst of a PhD program. I've been in it for four years, and I've got at least two more. It often feels like a long, slow march to nowhere, and that's particularly true of the stage I'm at right now--writing the dissertation. It's a new experience for me to work on something for years before I can say it's finished, and that's frustrating, especially when that one thing is the main measure of how you're spending your time. In a sense, it will never be done--there are always more sources I could find, more secondary sources to consult, and more revisions of the writing. It's a tough thing to go years without much sense of completion.

So, I think that's what appeals to me about quilting. There is a beginning, there is a process, and then there is a very clear, definite end. It's really satisfying.

I think that's part of the reason that I don't have 15 WIPs at any one time. Most of my projects, at this point, have very definite destinations and corresponding deadlines. There is also a budgetary component keeping me in check too. :) But most importantly, I think it is crucial to me that I have an area of my life where I can and do get things finished.

How about you? For many women, the main appeal of sewing and quilting seems to be as an outlet for creating, and I definitely get that. But upon reflection, I think having a small sense that I've accomplished something is even more important to me than is the creative component.

That said, I do have a few goals for the coming month. I'm headed back to Nebraska in a few days, and each of the next three weekends, I have either a baby shower, wedding shower, or a wedding, and I have sewing goals for all of them. :)

I got all of the squares cut for my best friend's wedding quilt this weekend. I'm really excited about this quilt, because I think it's going to look awesome and that she'll really love it. I'm also a bit nervous, because I want it to look good and it's the largest quilt I've made thus far. But the pattern is simple, and I think it should be manageable.

Know what's tough to find? Canary yellow. Seems some sort of goldenrod color is more in right now. Also very hard to tell yellow shades online.

I'm also using scraps from these fabrics to make her some throw pillows for her shower, which is Sunday... we'll see how that goes. Hopefully I won't have to resort to getting something off the registry. I feel like that's always a little fraught when you're shopping for close friends. I just feel weird saying, "You mean so much to me. Have a salt and pepper shaker set."

Does anyone else love seeing the little scraps from a project all piled up? I do.

Otherwise, I had a lovely weekend (a better one than Andy Murray did, anyway... poor guy.) We finally got some much-needed rain, and I enjoyed the thunderstorms on Saturday morning. Sunday cooled down nicely and I went to the Farmers Market after church in search of strawberries. Sadly, there were none, so I got some Pad Thai instead.

One of the top Farmers Markets in the U.S.!

Gorgeous flowers!

Complete with eccentric musical performances.

Then I went kayaking. I don't have as many pictures as I intended, because it turned out to be far more windy on the lake than I anticipated, and I needed both hands to control my boat! I guess the windsurfers and kite surfers should have been an indication of windspeeds, but I missed that. :) So I spent most of the time paddling around the calmer, but less picturesque, inlet.

Cornell from a distance.

I ended the day eating ice cream and cherries on a friend's dock and enjoying the 70 degree weather and amazing sunset. Sometimes, life is not too bad. :)


Linked to Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted Link Up!

Pin It

21 comments:

  1. I love those colors you are going with! I can't wait to see how it turns out. My guest bedroom is yellow and grey, that picture up there has got me thinkin I need to make a quilt for my guests! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! They are her wedding colors-- I'm not sure I would have thought of the combo on my own. :)

      Delete
  2. Gray and yellow are such a great color combination. In regards to you question, I quilt and sew as an escape. It is a way to get some right brain creativity in my left brained world. I think that is why I like making quilts that are random and not exact.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That makes sense! Lots of benefits to our hobby. :)

      Delete
  3. I finished my PhD last autumn. I wasn't sewing then, but I was knitting and that made me feel like I was accomplishing something. There were times when I just needed to see a concrete object finished and done.

    I started quilting a couple of months ago. I've been ill for a few months and can only knit for so many hours in the day. I wanted a hobby that I could do 5 minutes at a time, so quilting it was. I leave the sewing machine set up on the table and it's easy to sit down, knock out a couple of seams, then go do something else or rest, as I need to. I should be going back to work in a month or so - I'm going to have to find time in my schedule to keep on quilting because I'm hooked!

    Hang in there with the dissertation, it does get better, promise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome! Thanks for the encouragement--it sure is a long process! I'm sorry to hear about your illness, but I'm glad that you were able to find something that helps you pass the time!

      What is your PhD in?

      Delete
  4. Oh wow, you tackled Ithaca's farmers market and won. Every time I think about going, it's crazy busy and I give up going.

    I love giving homemade items as gives, especially people I care about. The yellow and grey will look fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, that line to get into the parking area can scare away the bravest. :) It's better on Saturday afternoons, and the Sunday one is also pretty tame, compared to Saturday morning!

      Delete
  5. I completely agree with you. I only have a Master's degree in teaching under my belt, but I feel the same way about parenting -- an endless process with very few true "accomplishment" markers to it. Sewing was a way for me to not only be creative, but to be able to see a project through from start to finish. And I'm glad that I can benefit my family through it too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That makes sense! I can see some similarities with parenting (though I'm not experienced with that myself, so I'm just guessing!)

      Delete
  6. And that's exactly why I'm hesitant to do my Masters by dissertation so that I can do a PhD... I don't like very long-term goals!! I'd have to agree with you about quilting - each time I complete a project, or the next BOM block or whatever, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I'm a stay at home mum too and so I like having projects to work on to feel like I'm achieving/producing something other than changing nappies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's important to be able to check something off of a list somewhere, I think! :)

      Delete
  7. I totally agree about the sense of accomplishment. Sewing and quilting gives me a sense of accomplishment that I never really got from designing for a corporation. It was like everything I did was an eternal work-in-progress. I like having something usable too. I am not just making things that end up in people's trash cans anymore and that feels great!

    I love the color combo for your best friend's quilt, it is going to look amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! She's got a great eye for color, so I'm just piggy backing off of that. :)

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Thanks! When she told me those were her wedding colors, I thought it seemed a little weird, but I'm converted now. It turns out there are even some gray and yellow prints out there now!

      Delete
  9. First of all, my favorite part of your post is how you substituted pad thai for strawberries!!! As for your question, like you and a lot of the others said in the comments, I also like the sense of accomplishment that sewing and quilting provides. Up until recently, I would only have one WIP at a time to share as I usually worked on one project until completion - I'm not sure what changed but now I seem to have several things going on at once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am totally open to the possibility that I'll someday have more WIPs going at once. :) I can see how these things snowball...

      The pad thai was good, but it is tough to beat strawberries. :) Glad the chocolate frogs were yummy! After all of the Wizarding World comments I've gotten, I really want to go!

      Delete
  10. Oh, I forgot to add - we got the chocolate frogs from the Wizarding World last year and yum!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I totally agree re the benefits of immediate gratification! It's rare to get it in teaching - you do get to see the short term improvements, but it can be years before you can see the outcome of all that hard work :)
    I also agree with Beth about the strawberries/Pad Thai substitution!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah! I totally agree--I guess there are lots of jobs that don't have instant gratification, so maybe I shouldn't whine! But it was interesting to see how many other people also enjoyed this aspect of quilting!

      Delete