Sunday, April 23, 2017

It's all about learning.


Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits...
WE all hate waste!  I'm as bad as anyone else. I really don't like cutting into special fabric I've saving for ages,  the piece of fabric I just take out and stroke once in awhile. I'm so afraid I'm going to waste it; And so , it might sit there for years And  even start to get that thrift store smell!

And then, when my heirs are dealing with my estate, they will think "why on earth did mother  hang onto this all these years and never use it"?

I see this frequently in workshops, people will use the cheapest fabric. And I will say "why? when you have this beautiful bit of burnt orange in your stash, that would be perfect".
But, they say,  I would hate to waste it!  I'm saving my good stuff."
And  yet they have spent a lot of money coming to the workshop! And Will probably be going out to dinner that night, maybe even having a couple of glasses of water to recover!

Something else  I see:  a design blocked out on the wall..but the pieces aren't cut out rather they are folded up bits of fabric, sometimes the whole yard folded it up into  lumpy wodge... and we're trying to decide if it looks right! I don't know about you, but I don't really like lumpy wodges in my quilts!

How do I know all of this??   I've done it myself, a thousand times!

Do not disturb: I'm fixing to think about learning.....


Another situation that happens:  you have a design  - it is not quite right but you plough on any way, and you try a lot of different fabrics. You sew it all together, and then pull it apart again, you rearrange every section, you're cut out a big big chunk, you add a great deal of black in the hopes that somehow that will put it altogether ...and still its not working. Now many designs can be fixed and improved and this is usually best done at the design stage. But there are some that are just hopeless from the beginning.....  so have you wasted your time?  No! Not if you think about it in terms of learning.  You probably learned more from from that unfixable piece then you ever did from the one that went smoothly from start to finish. It's a case of altering our mindset so that we're not product orientated but rather learning oriented. It's better  to think it's not about what I can fix, rather it's about what I can learn.

Learning new skills is one of the most wonderful things that we can do-but it does come at a cost. We must use some of those precious pieces of fabric, we must use our time and our energy -  but aren't they worth it. Isn't it the amount of time and money and effort  expended worth the new skill and the new knowledge that we have required?

There are times when I feel I'm looking at things the wrong way...


Think about it which would you rather have?
A pile of the dozen quilts Nice but not special - they that all went together very easily without much effort on your part… or, perhaps only a few samples, but the knowledge  of how to manipulate colours and shapes and pieces of fabric in the way that creates something new and wonderful and allows you to express how you feel about some special experience? And, of course, what not to do!

Waiting...for it all to come together.....
Ask yourself which Really feels better: making something without thinking about it and not really learning anything new but having a finished product.. or  developing new skills and knowledge,  feeling yourself growing, becoming more "talented" (ha! yes! talent is perspiration expended not luck!!) and more knowledgeable.

It's important to look at things a little differently, and consider what is really important.  Material goods, or personal growth.   It really is all about the learning.

If you have been, thanks for reading!  and do please write in the Comments and tell me your learning stories.....
Elizabeth

11 comments:

Melanie McNeil said...

"It's a case of altering our mindset so that we're not product orientated but rather learning oriented. " YES! While I've always tended in this direction for my quilts, when I pushed all the way there, it made a huge difference in both my attitude and my finished work. When I make medallion quilts, I sometimes make many blocks for a pieced border that in retrospect will not work. Maybe they are too twee, or too detailed, or too bold... Maybe once they're done, it's clear a different block design, a different concept, would have worked better. These are not always things that can be worked out ahead! Then I have many blocks that can't be used -- what a waste of time and fabric! Well, not really. A set of blocks that doesn't work for one quilt will almost always find another home. And how much I have learned about what won't work! These lessons help me learn better about what will.

Elizabeth Barton said...

Thanks for commenting, Melanie....you're right we must always carefully appreciate what it is that we have learned...remark upon it!

hippiechick said...

So true! I want to learn surface design techniques. I have read about them, watched YouTubes, bought the paint, ink, etc and a bunch of yards of white fabric. But I keep hesitating to start because I DON"T WANT TO WASTE the materials. Thanks for posting this. Maybe it will help me get over it!

knitnkwilt said...

I've always considered myself process oriented rather than product. To me that has meant I enjoy (most of) the doing, I can take my time, I don't have to rush to conclusion. (I have a friend who says as she rips out a sweater, "I enjoyed knitting this yarn the first time; I'll probably enjoy it again." Doesn't work quite the same with quilt design, but as Melanie says, those rejected blocks usually find a quilt.)I like your thoughts on learning, and I think I can meld that with my processing.

Elizabeth Barton said...

Thanks, Hippie!! Have you taken my www.academyofquilting.com class on surface design? Called Dyeing to Design? Every week you do some dyeing or surface work THEN you have to cut it up! and make a small quilt.....
remember, you can always do it again (says she with one amazing bit of shibori that's been pinned up on the design wall for about 10 years!)

Hi Knitnkwilt - you are so right, it's important to enjoy the process....the end comes all too soon!

Anonymous said...

Yes, use what you think will best suit the design. Even if that means cutting into it!. A quilt teacher in the MidAtlantic makes a point in every lecture - when you die, your family will pile all your fabric on the lawn, at fifty cents a pile, so use it yourself! Way back when I was teaching beginner quilting classes, at the end of a one-day hand-applique class, when I asked where each person planned to go with her project, one woman said " I chose and bought the fabric, had a lot of fun today and learned a lot and I'm done with it!" So great to feel comfortable treating a new venture as a learning experience rather than a burden that "has" to be finished! Sgrancio at Comcast dot net

Anonymous said...

In the last few years, I have been using up that "special stash" in making pieces to give away. I like that feeling of freeing the fabric, bringing it into the light to have a new life, and giving it to someone who will appreciate it. I often embark upon a design experiment with smaller pieces to see "what if" and some are unfinished, maybe to get finished another day, or not. It has been liberating to clean out, free up, create something and try new things. I too do not want to have composting fabric stashes. Thanks for articulating these thoughts.

Elizabeth Barton said...

Thank you to both Anon folk for your comments. It's great to see that others feel, as I do, that the goal is learning! Not a great stash of hohum quilts! maybe some jewels too of course....Thanks for reading..

Eileen said...

When I read about spending on a workshop, only to use cheap fabric, BANG!! That's me to a tee. I always think I'll make another one with my good stuff. That's yet to happen.

It is all about the learning!

Helen Howes said...

I always feel so happy if a student emails or tells me that "they have made more" of whatever I was teaching.. Sometimes they apologise "I'm sorry, I had to make more of these" Grrrr. It's such a pleasure when the ideas run away with the fabric...
And, yes, why use the rubbishy cheap stuff when the good stuff is all there in the box, jumping up and down and shouting "cut me, cut me!"

Elizabeth Barton said...

Yes, it's lovely to hear from them later on about how they've built on what they learned.
And yes....too...we really must get over our reluctance to treat ourselves to working with "the good stuff"!!!