A Stitch in Time: Part II

16 Nov

My Flea Market Fancy quilt is finished and laying happily on my bed (it is not, at it appears here, laying folded up under a cat named George Foreman). So that’s awesome.

What’s even more awesome is that I’m on my way to finishing my second quilt. It sounds like I’m getting ahead of myself, but these two quilts are important. In all my years, I have never been able to settle on my Hobby. When people ask what I do in my free time, I never know what to say. I sleep recreationally? I like to imagine my next several meals? I attempt to see how much cleaning I can get machines to do for me? Those answers are lame. Because when people ask what your hobbies are, they’re really looking to learn, in a word or two, what kind of person you are.  A hobby doesn’t tell the whole story, but it opens the door to a person’s personality, if only a hair’s breadth.

So why is having quilting a a hobby so important to me? I’ve never been terribly good at staying with a hobby for very long. I’ve dabbled in photography, painting, calligraphy, garment sewing, and (my longest-term hobby) knitting. Allow me to insert this quote from the 30 Rock pilot to to capture how that went:

Jack: Sure. I got you. New York third-wave feminist, college educated, single and pretending to be happy about it, over scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says “healthy body image” on the cover, and every two years you take up knitting for… a week.

Liz: That knitting thing is uncanny. How do you do that?

Jack: Market research my friend.

All this to say, I have trouble with commitment. But quilting feels different. It captures so many things that I love and hope for in a hobby.

  1. It’s crafty
  2. It has clear steps to follow, but…
  3. It allows a lot of creativity
  4. It also allows for some mistakes
  5. You know when you’re finished
  6. There is a clear, tangible end-product
  7. There are always new skills to incorporate in the next project

And you know what? All of these things are true for those other lost hobbies I mentioned up there: photography, painting, knitting, and the like. The same is true for hobbies I don’t pursue: rock climbing, woodworking, music composition, and so on. The difference for me is that I embrace these traits for quilting in a way I haven’t done for other things. I embrace the process (in a way I couldn’t with knitting). I embrace the uncertainty (in a way I couldn’t with rock climbing). I embrace the next project (in a way I couldn’t with photography). And that, I think, is what makes a hobby work.


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Dr Rachel Reed

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