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QWIP: Quilting with Intent and Purpose for Emotional Wellbeing

In her article,QWIP: Quilting with Intent and Purpose for Emotional Wellbeing, Niki Keating discusses how to find emotional catharsis while quilting. As a professional psychologist, Keating found many parallels between the stages of quilting and her work as a mental health professional. This inspired her to develop a process for quilting with intent and purpose for increased well-being and positive emotional return on the time spent while quilting.

QWIP: Quilting with Intent and Purpose for Emotional Wellbeing

Keating cleverly makes specific suggestions to take the small tasks we all do while quilting but perform them in a more conscious and deliberate way by adding meaning and context. For example, while trimming wonky bits off of blocks to square them up, she says to imagine discarding difficult thoughts and feelings from a situation in your life. As you throw the scraps away you can imagine releasing and letting go of the tension you’ve been feeling about a situation. This is such a simple practice to implement but applying a deeper, psychological meaning to what you are already doing is a great way to maximize the way you spend your time.

QWIP: Quilting with Intent and Purpose for Emotional Wellbeing

The guided questions of QWIP are practical and easy to apply. If you are interested in adding a deliberate component of emotional well-being to your sewing, Keating suggests asking yourself these five questions before you sit down to sew:

  1. What are the main emotions in my mind and body right now?
  2. Do a brief scan of your body head to toe. What mental or physical feelings do you notice?
  3. What do I need today for emotional wellbeing?
  4. What quilting task or ritual may support these needs?
  5. What is my QWIP plan?

She then suggests that after you have had a QWIP sewing session, that you mentally check-in and debrief.

QWIP: Quilting with Intent and Purpose for Emotional Wellbeing

It is notable that not every minute of quilting should be used for attending to emotional needs. Choose a few specific times to turn to your quilting space for support. QWIP is also not meant to replace professional therapy but it can be a great supplement. 

In addition to breaking down many of her QWIP ideas and tools in the article featured inCurated Quilts, on Keating’s Instagram account @qwipquilts Keating shares more suggestions for implementing emotional catharsis through quilting.

You can read the full article,QWIP: Quilting with Intent and Purpose for Emotional Wellbeing by Niki Keating inCurated Quilts: Polygon, issue no. 17


Niki Keating, PhD, works as a counseling psychologist and has recently been integrating her passion for mental health and her obsession with quilting. Niki is interested in how to use daily practices for promoting emotional wellbeing, focusing on the development of sustainable, accessible, and efficient strategies. She lives in a small college town in upstate New York and, when not quilting, loves spending time with her family, cats, and chickens. 

She can be found on Instagram at @qwipquilts and @niki.keating.

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