What Quilting Actually Teaches You…

Can you really learn full-on life lessons from a box of scrap fabrics?

This will be quick but backpedal with me for a moment back to when I had my first brush with sewing skills.

My mom taught me how to hand sew when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I would use the scraps fabrics that she had leftover and create my own designs for clothes for my barbies. At the time, I thought I was The Next Top Model material before there was even a Next Top Model. Do you feel how cool I thought I was?

Truthfully, I’m sure those creations were so crude and barely held together… but those beginning sewing lessons were the foundation for a love of creativity and a lifetime of artistry. (thanks mom 🙂 )

I didn’t dive deep into sewing until I was married and scraping pennies together to furnish our little apartment into a home. Fast forward a few more years and I decided that pillowcases just weren’t enough for me anymore. I decided to try out my quilt making skills. I dabbled with a few baby quilts for family and friends eventually (and gradually) working my way up to larger sized quilts.

Had we had youtube back then… whew, I would have been a total star 😉

So, can you really learn full-on life lessons from a box of scrap fabrics??

Just to name a few…

Quilting teaches you patience. – i.e. time with the seam ripper. Made a boo-boo? Don’t just sit there and cry over it.

Fix it.

Have you ever see a quilt so amazing you just can’t fathom the amount of work it must have taken to complete it? It wasn’t sewn in a weekend. Maybe not even a year. Quilting is a labor of love and like many things in life, it doesn’t happen overnight. Sure, there are “weekend quilt patterns”. But for the truly amazing results… there will be sweat, tears and possibly even a little blood and the eminent utter of a lot of curse words of your choosing.

Quilting teaches you consistency. – change your plan halfway through? Nope. The path has been laid out in front of you in the form of a specific pattern. Do “A” and “B” and you’ll end up with “C”. NOT “A” some “Q” and maybe some “R”….. Follow the plan and you will be guided to glorious completion… change your path or abandon it all together and well… those are the nights in life where you’re surrounded by leftover bagel bites and no idea where your life is going but you sure didn’t believe it was here… wine anyone?… you don’t end up where you were supposed to in the end.

Quilting teaches you that mistakes happen. – I don’t care how “professional” you are. How many blue ribbons you’ve taken home or if you haven’t sewn a single stitch yet… mistakes happen! You have to decide which mistakes you can live with and which mistakes you have to go back and make right. No one is perfect. Try not to let anyone tell you otherwise.

Quilting teaches you that the little details matter. – Some of my favorite quilts are my favorite because of one small detail. A scrap of fabric that I snagged for a bargain but was JUST right… or maybe it was given to me by a friend because she thought of me when she saw it. Maybe its nothing to do with the fabric and the quilt design was just something that I fell in love with from the beginning.

I once had a flaw where my seams didn’t line up and the way the pieces came together it looked like a cat head. I swear no one else could see it. But I could. And I didn’t go back and fix it. I left it and adjusted later to accommodate it. I still see it and that is all that matters.

Sometimes it the little things that make the biggest impact.

Quilting teaches you that sometimes obsessions are totally ok. – so maybe I’m making this one up? I’m obsessed with fabric designers and a soft place to cuddle with my favorite book. It’s not black market drugs, high dollar gambling or cute cat videos at 3 am… oh… wait. wait. wait…. um nevermind…. moving on…

Quilting gives you permission to be you and no one else. – I don’t quilt because other people like me to quilt. I quilt because I love to do it. Quilting is a part of me. Quilting brings me personal joy and because if I’m feeling very purple-y… well I’ll make a purple quilt if I feel like it! I don’t have to apologize for my love of quilting. And I don’t apologize for being Christen either. You be you and I’ll be me. Deal? Deal. 🙂

I believe yes, you can learn many lessons from quilting. If you’re looking to learn some new skills, join me. I love when I get messages from a reader or someone who just happened upon my blog one day!

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Do you have any lessons that you’ve picked up from your quilting days? Share them in the comments below! I would love to hear them.

Happy quilting!

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