I wear a lot of hats, as you know, but the one I turn to in times of stress is quilting. I think that’s because quilting is something I can do that doesn’t involve sitting still. I’m a knitter, too, but when I’m feeling anxious, I can’t sit in one place for very long, and knitting – while meditative – requires me to sit in a chair for extended periods of time.
Quilting, on the other hand, lets me be creative in a non-static way as I move between the cutting table, ironing board and sewing machine. Sometimes I put my ironing board in the kitchen so I have to traverse my (admittedly small) house to get to it. I can put music on and bop around while arranging blocks on the design wall. Or I can turn the music off and enjoy the hum of the sewing machine if my mind is too full of news and the dire straits of others.
I’m not saying quilting is exercise…it’s more like the full-body equivalent of jiggling my foot if I were sitting in a chair with my knitting needles. Does that make sense?
And then, there’s something indescribably delicious about creating something that fills the need for both beauty and function. If quilting isn’t a creative outlet that has saved my life, it’s certainly one that has saved my sanity on more than one occasion.
Quilting is like gardening…and like knitting… and like writing. You start out with an empty piece of ground, a blank piece of paper, a skein of wool, a stack of colourful fabrics. And then you create.
There’s a certain feeling you get when you straighten your back after pulling weeds, transplanting seedlings, deadheading flowers…when you cast off the last row and put your needles down…when you step away from the keyboard, breathless after writing the final scene…A feeling of wonder as you pause for a minute and admire the beauty you’ve created.
What’s your creative outlet during this stressful time?