Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dreaming vs. Doing

At any given time , I have about 20 projects in the works around the house.  Actually, if I were to physically count them all, I am sure the number would be way more than 20, but putting a cap on it makes me feel better somehow.  A few weeks ago I went into a local quilt shop and found a lovely collection of batiks that I just had to have because they would make a great Archipelago.

What remains of that stack and the unquilted top is sitting on my cutting table.   I have three unquilted Posh Tot tops next to my sewing machine on my sewing table and one half-quilted Posh Tot top on my longarm frame.

On the back of my longarm, there is a rubbermaid box with the blocks for two quilts:  A Log Cabin and an i-candy.  In my fabric closet, I have an entire tub devoted to projects that are in various stages of completion.  One is a hand-pieced dresden plate that I started on a trip to Florida about 12 years ago.  I no longer do a ton of hand piecing, but I do have the dream of finishing that quilt some day.  On my design wall:  the blue green glass door quilt waiting to be sewn together (I talked about this quilt in an earlier post).

There is a quilt over the back of a chair in my living room that has the binding sewn on and is waiting to be sewn down.  I don't need much encouragement to start a new project!  I have met dozens of quilters who talk about their UFO's (unfinished objects).  Some say that they simply have to flit from project to project--that it keeps their creative juices flowing and their perspective fresh.  Others have said that they have to limit the amount of projects that they have in the works at one time so that they will eventually finish some of them.  Still others have told us that they only allow themselves to have one project, and the fabrics for one project, to be on their sewing table at any given time.  On some level, I admire this trait, but I could never function that way.  And, even quilters who say they only work on one project at a time admit to dreaming about future projects while they are working on the current one.  So here it is--one of the most critical parts of living with creativity in your life (according to Amy Walsh) :  dreaming.  What ever your method of sewing, however many projects you have stashed around your house, you have to allow yourself the opportunity of thinking about things you could make, things you might make, or even things you have to make.

While recently browsing my mother's collection of vintage books, I came across a novel called O the Brave Music! by Dorothy Evelyn Smith.  If I am contemplating starting a new book, I usually read the first couple of pages to see if it piques my interest.  I have been thinking about this 'dreaming thing' for  a while now and I was pleasantly surprised to find some words right on the first page pertaining to doing vs. dreaming.  As the novel begins, the main character is actually in church, contemplating making a little suit out of pink silk ribbon from a hat on the girl in front of her for her invisible man that she carries with her everywhere.  She mentions her broken promises to make this suit and the following words about the subject really rang a bell:

"I knew in my heart that I didn't really want to cut into the pink silk.  It was such lovely ribbon, so thick and soft and yet crisp; so bright and glowing.  My fingers itched to cut and snip and stitch; to fashion the stuff into a darling little suit....But I really didn't want to cut the silk.  If I cut it, it would be finished.  Done with.  If I didn't, it would always be there; the beautiful suit I could make anytime I liked."

A couple of paragraphs later, she remarks that she is glad she did not cut into the ribbon and make the suit.  "I felt, confusedly, that while I never possessed it, it was most truly mine.  Afterwards it would be lost to me."

I feel I can relate to this sentiment.  I like to think of future projects and "belonging" to me! But perhaps I am a bit more positive than the poor girl who agonizes over cutting a length of ribbon.  While I may no longer 'possess' a finished work, I have within my possession thousands of others!