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Quilting and Well-Being

Quilting has played a huge role in my overall well-being. Quilting provides so much to me – a
Quilting has taught me it's okay
not to be perfect. That seam smack
dab in the middle is far from
perfect - and even though I sigh a
little when I see it - it's okay! 
creative outlet, a stress reliever, an opportunity to use my hands, a moment to look forward to and a reason to push myself every day.

I had the amazing opportunity to do an Instagram takeover in early January for @52Quilters. This social experiment features different quilters from around the world every week. In past years, each quilter simply shared their quilty world. In 2018, Chris, the founder, decided to develop a theme for each month. January was well-being and I was so excited and honored to discuss this topic.

Wellness is a key part of my life. I’ve written on my blog about running being an important part of my life (and how it directly relates to quilting). Quilting is also a part of my wellness strategy. I firmly believe that from designing a quilt, to piecing it, to hand-binding it is therapeutic. Angela Walters has built part of her reputation on the phrase “quilting is my therapy” and I completely agree with that sentiment.

I’ve always held onto this belief that I have to be perfect. Maybe not literally perfect, but I need to project myself that way as often as possible. I could not be more NOT perfect than if I tried. It makes me laugh to reflect on what “perfect” used to mean to me and what I understand it to be now. Perfect is unattainable. Frankly, it’s selfish. It’s also boring.

I blame no one but myself for this desire. Sure, like many kids, my parents pushed me to TRY. Somewhere along the away, I equated that with perfect. I own the blurred vision I created in my own mind. And now I am learning to break free. Most of that is thanks to running and quilting.

I am far from a perfect quilter! I laugh sometimes at the clearly poor alignment of two simple squares I’ve sewn together. Sometimes I work to fix them. It’s okay to want to better your skillset. It’s also okay to give it your best and accept that it’s just fine (albeit – not perfect). I love how much of my heart and soul I’ve poured into quilting. I’ve learned that truly putting the best of yourself forward is enough. Even if every seam doesn’t align. Even if every design I make isn’t loved by everyone. I quilt for myself. But I share with the joy of quilting with anyone who will listen so that it may hopefully enrich their lives as much as it has enriched mine :)

Quilting has changed my perspective on so many things. Learning that I don’t have to be perfect and that I can still produce a beautiful and useful result has been rewarding. It’s also continuing to teach me to laugh off the small stuff. If you follow me on Instagram, I recently shared how I completely messed up a paper piecing project I started. I am basically 100% behind on a QAL I joined, but I finally got started and when it came time to lay out the pieces of the first star to sew together, I realized something was wrong. I had sewn to the wrong side of the paper, thus the pieces wouldn’t line up correctly. This is not even close to my first paper piecing project! I know better! I was so embarrassed and mad at first. And then I laughed. It’s just time and fabric. Of course I value my time and fabric, but in the scheme of everything in life, it’s okay! I reminded myself of that several times and I moved on to a correctly sewn version. It’s one of the few times that I truly just let it go! And my well-being is so much better for it.

I have set big goals for myself this year related to my passion for quilting. I plan to finally publish my first patterns (I have several just about ready!) and I plan to take ownership of my work, which means I’ll accept criticism with the same heart as I accept a compliment. It’s time to put myself – and my work that I am proud of – out there. And it’s also time to really help guide people interested in finding a way to improve their well-being to show them the joy of quilting. Quilting has changed my life for the better and I believe it has the ability to change the lives of others too :)

What are your goals for 2018? How will you own what you do?

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