We live in interesting and anxiety-inducing times. As more schools, churches, and businesses temporarily close their doors to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and as we all band together to stay apart, at Curated Quilts we’ve been thinking about how this may be an opportunity, albeit a well-disguised one. With fewer places to go and people to see, our increased time at home can provide us with a much needed creative reset, a spring cleaning of the mind. When we become over-programmed and bogged down we can get stuck, even in sewing.
Be stuck no more. Set yourself free and dive into a new project, a new skill, a new way of creating what you love. We’ve come up with a list of suggestions to revitalize your approach to the creative sewing process and tap into your deep reservoirs of elevated energy and flow.
Change of Scenery
In the midst of social distancing and home “staycations”, try to mix things up with your creative space. If the weather permits, take your sewing outside. Rearrange your sewing room or give it a deep clean. Organize or reorganize. Change out the quilts or pictures hanging on the walls of your home to breathe new life into your space.
Meditation and Balance
For some serious impact, try meditation. At the beginning of Sherri Lynn Wood’s classes, she leads students in a moment of meditation. This practice is incredibly grounding and can clear out the mental clutter. To get started, when you sit down at your sewing machine, close your eyes, pay attention to your breathing and be more deliberate about each breath. Clear your mind. Envision stress and fear leaving your body. When you are ready, open your eyes and start sewing. Notice the feeling that remains as you dive into your project.
In addition to meditation, be deliberate about finding balance in your life during the time you are home. Get outside or go on a walk, even if you do have to wave at neighbors from across the street as you maintain social distance. Pajamas are comfy, but getting dressed and ready for the day as though you were going out may help you feel a little better.
Be Realistic About Expectations
There seems to be an expectation that more time at home means more time to create. However, as anyone with children home from school or a partner home from work will tell you, it can actually be more difficult to find time to create. The same can be true when work is brought home and starts to take up physical and mental space that it may not have before. If this is the case for you, you may need to manage expectations in order to not get frustrated about the situation.
Try waking up an hour early or staying up an hour (or more) later in order to sew. Turn on a show for kids to watch so you can spend some time stitching. Don’t feel guilty about it; when mom is happy, they’ll be happy, too. Your need for an outlet is important.
Another way that we clog the flow of creativity is by setting unrealistic expectations for a project at the outset. Be prepared for it to take longer than planned or turn out differently than expected. Being critical of ourselves and what we’re creating only hurts and limits our creativity leading to abandoned projects or frustration. Just as it’s important to be kind to others, it’s important to be kind to ourselves.
Maybe it’s time to start a new project. It’s okay if you have multiple UFOs. They aren’t offended when you move onto something new. You’ll come back. Or maybe you won’t. Enjoy the journey. You could also use this time to learn a new skill. There are numerous tutorials and classes available online.
Community Sewing Projects
Many makers are connecting via social media to share projects they are working on and to participate in group sewing projects. You can get involved by checking out the hashtags: #socialdistancingquilt, #solidaritysewing, #quarantinequilting, #quarantinedquilters, #covidcrafting, #pandemicproject, #freshlyquiltedTP, #theproverbialquiltalong, #quiltersagainstcoronavirus, #facemasksewalong, #homemademedicalmasks, and #fabricmasks.
Participating in a virtual sewing project will connect you with other makers and bring more meaning to your sewing. If you are home alone, you may want to arrange a virtual sewing date with a quilty friend.
When worried about the things going on around you that you can’t control, it’s easy to let that worry consume you and get in the way of your being able to see what is working in your life. Be deliberate about taking time to focus on what you do have and what is in your power to change for the good.
Ways to do this could include looking at the tools you have on hand, such as fabric, notions, patterns, quilting books, and sewing tools. Take time to appreciate and reflect on what you have already created. Be thankful for hands that work, eyes that see, and friends you’ve made because of your love for fabric and sewing.
Find something to look forward to or set an attainable goal you can accomplish in the coming weeks.
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