Confessions of sewing fear

Anxiety comes in many different forms. I have spent time speaking with medical professionals over the last week and was asked to describe how each of my children, and I, are similar or different in terms of anxiety. One takes the form of catastrophising everything – natural disasters are a particular favourite that will take hold and be obsessed about. Another worries about situations in the family, but understands reason and logic and can rationalise the fear. The third doesn’t appear to an outsider to worry or fear anything, but in fact has quite extreme reactions if feeling vulnerable or embarrassed. I tend to get a bit overwhelmed by all the noise in my head – my ‘to-do’ lists, my own expectations of myself, etc. I think that we all think of an anxious person as the hand wringing worrier – when in fact anxiety takes so many different forms.

In thinking about all of this I have realised that on a more superficial level, I also have some sewing anxiety. It sounds a bit funny coming from someone who blogs about sewing, sells things she sews and purports to share tips about sewing with other people, but it is true. I am not a confident garment sewer – but that isn’t an anxiety, that is an understanding that I am not good at fitting things for myself (I have short torso) because I don’t know how. One day I will work out the science of it and all will be fine. Which leaves the question -what is my anxiety?

It is quilting.

Not the patchworking of a quilt top. Not the sewing on of binding. The actual process of quilting – putting together the layers of quilt top, batting/wadding, and the backing, and stitching through it to make a quilt. I have never done it. I have read tutorials, tips and hints. I have spoken knowledgably to people about it. But I have always been worried about doing it myself. A friend of mine who is very crafty told me that my machine didn’t have a big enough throat, so it would be too hard. She also told me that I need a walking foot. She recommended outsourcing it to a long arm quilter. I took her advice, not because she was the authority on all things quilting, but because it suited me not to confront that fear of failure!

But – no more. My mother is still with us, keeping the chicks and I feeling loved and supported. She is a long time patchworker and quilter. She has never had someone else quilt her quilts for her. And she doesn’t own a fancy long arm quilting machine. In fact for many years she didn’t have a walking foot. And those quilts from 20+ years ago are still going strong and being used daily by many members of the family. So this afternoon I asked her whether she thought we could quilt the quilt I made for the boy ourselves. (Yes – the quilt top that I so proudly showed you back in (ahem) April is still sitting in a drawer). I rang the long arm quilter this week, as I have also finished (finally) the memory quilt that I started for my housekeeper back in (ahem) August, and she said that she might be able to get one quilt done before Christmas. After talking to Mum (who said ‘yes of course we can – your machine is fine’!!) we have decided to quilt the boy’s quilt ourselves, and take the queen size memory quilt to the quilter. I am going to overcome that fear, and exile it by learning from my mother – just the way it should be!!

In news not related to any fears, the artist-in-residence’s fabric samples are on their way to us for proofing. She is very excited, and creating more designs. I have managed a little sewing, have cleaned out the chook house (so glamorous), caught up with friends for a cup of tea and crafting (I sat and cut out appliques of bicycles!), ferried children around to various social engagements, and have been supported by my mum.  I am excited about seeing my contribution to the Sew Mama Sew Handmade Holiday series in the morning.  (Although it appears on the 10th of November, with time differences being what they are, it won’t be published until about 1am on the 11th November on Australian time!)  And I need to see my accountant, so will be filing, sorting and trying to remember my movements of the last financial year – sure to balance out any excitement!

I hope that your weekend has been lovely, and that you are able to recognise and face any anxiety that may befall you this week – large or small.

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6 thoughts on “Confessions of sewing fear

  1. CUP + PENNY

    I have many various sewing anxieties, mainly related to any new project I’m about to attempt. As for quilting, I did a very easy quilt once–it fact it was one of the first projects I ever did. I think there are lots of stitchers out there who give misguided advice about “You have to have this foot or that gadget,” but taking a step back, people have been sewing for thousands of years without those gadgets. All of which is to say, YOU CAN DO IT!

    Reply
    1. a little bird made me Post author

      Thank you! I agree – sometimes knowing too much about what we could use stops us from doing things. If I just get on and do it and don’t overthink it – like making bags – I am quite confident trying new things!

      Reply
  2. sonyamayhem

    Your quilt top is lovely! Totally understand about the actual ‘quilting’ process. I always worry that after all the work of piecing I’ll do something stupid and ruin it. I tend to stick to straight line quilting and I have a walking foot, but the thought of trying free motion sends me into a spin!! Each new quilt is a chance to keep improving and build on our skills.

    Reply
    1. a little bird made me Post author

      I have just been to Spotlight to buy the batting and the lovely lady on the fabric counter was very impressed that Mum was going to show me how to do it. I am feeling more confident about it already! Thank you for the lovely support!

      Reply
  3. thegrangerange.wordpress.com

    You are so right, we don’t even always realise we are anxious about something we just get moody or snappy. Being able to recognise a particular emotion in ourselves is always the first step to finding a resolution or way to cope, unfortunately this is not always easy to do.

    Reply
    1. a little bird made me Post author

      You are so right too! If I am able to identify that I am feeling overwhelmed, then I am able to put into play the strategies that I know work (mainly saying no to all the things I have volunteered myself for!).

      Reply

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