Welcome to my turn on the Hope Quilts blog hop. Thanks to Sarah Marcina from The Quilted Diary for coming up with such a great theme and hosting this event. She will also be hosting a Hope For Tomorrow quilt along in January, so make sure to check that out on her website www.quilted-diary.com.
Life is full of difficulties and heartaches. We all know that all too well, and this year especially has made that reality front and center for most of us. The challenge is to not be consumed by the bad things, but to remember that life is also full of good things. We have to find ways to deal with the stress and lift our spirits to keep looking ahead. There are a couple of ways that I cope with tough times. One is that I pour out my hurts and concerns to God in prayer. No one understands me and comforts me like the Lord does! He has not only pulled me through hard times, but He has used those hard times to make me a better person. The other way I cope is to sit at my sewing machine and create something with fabric and thread. There is something SO therapeutic about stitching pieces of material together to make something beautiful and/or useful. It's a much needed positive distraction that gives me a sense of hope. And that's something we all need a lot more of right now.
I don't have a particular quilt to share with you, but rather, some types of projects that make me feel better when I work on them. Hopefully this will give you some ideas for your own sewing therapy.
One of my favorite "therapy sewing" projects is something I call Wonderfully Wacky Quilt Piecing. There's no measuring, marking, or precise cutting, and it uses up scraps of all different sizes. You just take similar size scraps and sew them together, adding larger pieces and building a block as you go.
Here's an example of a block I did recently.
Here's a quilt I made with the same technique many years ago. I even did the quilting in a random pattern.
It's such a stress free, mindless type of sewing, and can be quite addicting! You can do it as scrappy as you like, or do a more coordinated scrappy version like I did, where you use certain colors together. I also have a video tutorial in my Video Library to show you just how this works. You can watch it here.
Another thing that lifts my mood is when I can finish up a UFO (you know, those half-done projects lurking in the closet/bins/drawers!). I have a few of those myself, so I got one out and got to work. This one was a sample quilt for my Peppermint Swirl pattern that I bought the fabric for a year and a half ago (ugh!). It turned out to be another "mindless" sewing project because you make the same pieces over and over. Perfect for unwinding from a stressful day!
Getting this quilt top done really gave me a boost and I'm so happy with how it turned out. You can see why I named it Peppermint Swirl! It looks Christmasy, so it was an added bonus to get it done close to Christmas time.
This pattern is from my Shortcuts with Precuts booklet, which contains 10 different quilts, each in 5 different sizes. If you're interested in the booklet, you can find it here.
Finally, I try to find a way to inject a little humor or something lighthearted into my quilting. Sometimes that means making something with fun fabric, like these keychains I made. I love the sewing themed fabrics and the funny quilt sayings!
Recently, I've decided to actually quilt some of those funny sayings into a quilt because (1) I wanted to get back to practicing my free motion, and (2) cursive writing is the easiest way I know to do that. Here are a couple of practice blocks I made.
I liked this idea so much that I created two new quilt patterns for it. There is a 46" x 57" quilt called "Say Sew!" and a smaller 24" square quilt called "Say Sew! Mini". For the larger quilt, I came up with 14 different quilty sayings (some are pretty funny!) and 6 different sewing themed pictures. The smaller quilt has a slightly different layout and features hand embroidery. Although I didn't plan it this way, both quilts can be done in free motion quilting OR hand embroidery. Bonus!
I hope this gives you some ideas for dealing with all the stress we're facing these days. Don't let the trying circumstances around you crush you. Grab some beautiful fabric, sit down at your sewing machine, and get some fabric therapy. It'll do you a world of good!