I have always been intrigued by the various craft-a-day challenges that my fellow artists bind themselves to for a whole year. Be it the crochet/knit temperature blankets or the #1yearofstiches, I have often thought of giving them a go. So, when 2017 came I decided I would like to get on the bandwagon and start a daily craft challenge of my own. Actually I wanted to do them all. Simultaneously. Because I’m crazy like that and think I can add a million new things to my plate on a whim.
You can do ANYTHING, just not EVERYTHING. This. I need this tatoo-ed on my forehead AND embroidered on a pillow case! I have a bad habit of trying to take on more than I can chew and making myself miserable in the process. So, I decided to just do ONE!
My mother has quite the craft stash (like I can talk) and people are frequently gifting her more items to add to her collection. When I come to visit she usually lets me go through the treasures to see if there are any that I would like. In one of my most recent visits, I came across this page-a-day calendar for quilting. And this became my inspiration for the #365quiltchallenge
For me, this challenge is about more than just quilting. While I am getting better everyday at reading new patterns, matching seams and points, and sewing the correct 1/4″ seam allowance, I am also working on me.
I tend to have a plan for everything. I am generally uncomfortable with “going with the flow” in my daily life and like to have plans prepared for my day, week, month, year, and beyond. Now you may say that planning to do a quilt block everyday from a pre-designated book of blocks doesn’t really get me out of my comfort zone. But, consider this – I have no idea what I am going to do with all these quilt blocks when I’m done. They are not even close to all the same size (by design, not by poor sewing skills) and 365 is way more than I would need to make one quilt.
The point of this exercise is exactly that. I have no idea what I am going to do with these blocks when I am done. Sometimes, life if just a series of tasks, lessons, experiences and events – you have no idea how they will transform you until they have already happened. For me, that IS just going with the flow. It is letting someone else decide my plan and only making my own adjustments when absolutely necessary.
This is also an exercise in letting go. Letting go of trying to have the perfect life. I have been holding on to this box of fabric for quite a while now. I started with just a few fabrics in yellow and teal because I HAD to have one of the fabrics. I attempted to make a quilt with the fabric and it just didn’t feel right. So I stuffed it in a box and pulled it out every once in awhile to see if inspiration would strike. I also added more fabric to the box -hoping that the “perfect pattern” would materialize so that I could finally do something with this stash of fabric I had been collecting. But life doesn’t work like that. You can’t just keep your dreams in a box and hope that someday inspiration will strike and you will have this perfect storm, whirlwind, fairy tale life. You have to work for it.
So I dug out the box and let go of the notion that I would find the perfect pattern. I set to work to just USE the fabrics I had been holding on to for so long. Pretty fabric sitting in a box does no good at all. I have decided it is better that they be made into SOMETHING than never doing anything with them at all. As they were varying sizes, shapes, and colors – it was extremely unlikely that I would ever find a pattern that would make all these scraps work together anyway. So I let it go.
Letting go actually feels pretty good. I am really enjoying using these beautiful fabrics to make scrappy blocks. Each and every block has a new and different combination. Each block is unique. It makes me happy to finally be doing something with these fabrics. I get to see them and use them every day.
This 365 Quilt Challenge has also been a lesson in consistency. Humans thrive on routine and I feel more balanced when I can maintain my daily habits. Too many days, however, things get off track and my schedule goes haywire. It is nice to have one consistent thing everyday.
Likewise, this challenge forces me to be creative everyday. I consider the quilt block of the day my warm-up for creative work. It gets my brain in the right frame for creativity and often I remain in my craft room to continue working on other projects as I feel inspired.
So far I have made 20 blocks! I have missed a few days but I am pretty proud of my overall consistency! If you want to follow along with my daily blocks – follow me on Instagram! @EliseandEmerald