Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Busy. Compulsive.

Ha! We all knew that "three posts a week" thing wasn't going to hold up for long. :-)

In all fairness, I had other things taking up my time.  Like teaching, and spring, and play rehearsals, and vehicular accidents (no injuries!), and general life stuff.  Priorities.  We all have them, so no apologies, no obligations.  However, other than keeping up with the hockey news, I haven't been reading anyone this past week.  So you know what I'm doing tomorrow. :-)

I have been sewing, amazingly enough.  A paper-piecing workshop at last month's Modern Guild meeting led to a scrap-busting explosion of hexagons in my living room. This is what 400 of them looks like.
All from scraps. Randomly pieced.

Yeah.  Since I ran out of my purchased hex papers about a week into this, I ended up making a crap-ton (yes, a crap-ton!) of my own.  You can read more about how on the guild blog here.

I still have some edges to fill in and a border to do but I'm pleased so far.  It's going to be a table topper.  You'd think after all of this hand-sewing, I would have mad skills when it comes to the whipstitch. I should have a wicked whipstitch. But nay, good folks, nay.  It still looks a little like I did it with a chicken bone for a needle and with my eyes closed.  Oh well, maybe some day...

I was working on this piece at my other guild meeting (there are two different guilds in town - I belong to both) and a fellow member, whom I'd never met, snarked me, "Well, that's just compulsive!"  Fair enough - there is a nugget of truth in that, my mother would certainly agree with her, but handwork helps me focus and keeps my hands busy during stretches of time where my attention would otherwise wander, like the occasional guild meeting, and I'm therefore less likely to run around like a four-year-old dragged to a tupperware party for lack of a babysitter. To my credit, I did not snark back, because I don't know her and wouldn't want to inadvertently offend her while trying to crack a joke to prove I have a sense of humour. (However, blogging about it might have devalued that credit somewhat... Oops!) I couldn't help but feel though, while not offended, that there was a different way to offer that opinion that didn't make it a personal attack.  "I personally don't have the patience for something like that" or "I can't be bothered to do hand-sewing or something that small" or even "that kind of thing is not for me" would all have come across as more supportive or polite than the undertone of "there's something wrong with you!" implied with the word compulsive. 
Of COURSE it's compulsive.  Look at this.

I had a pretty good laugh about it.  I'm fairly sure she didn't mean any harm. I'm not generally bothered by criticism. In fact, I think constructive criticism is key to growth and development, and our tendency to over-nice each other, particularly in the quilting community, detracts from our ability to deliver or accept such criticism without taking something personally.  What made me laugh was that the comment wasn't even about the work (too  many colours, poor whipstitching, inaccurately cut or sewn hexagons, or not to someone's personal taste), but that the statement was a value judgment on ME, and not the work. Now, I get called crazy all the time, (there probably IS something wrong with me - lol) but usually by people whose first names I know, and who I have an established rapport with.  I have called fellow bloggers crazy in a loving way, particularly when they are exceedingly prolific or unjustly hard on their own work. I guess I've become more aware as a teacher that what we put out there can have a impact on people.  Imagine if I'd told another artist, a potter, that pottery was a useless art, or a child whose room is covered in pink, purple and sparkles that only losers like unicorns (or apply it to weightier subjects that I won't get into here). It might roll off them like nothing, or it could stop them from enjoying something that had previously.  For the record, I think pottery is amazing and the skill level some people have achieved is staggering. I also have no problem with unicorns, though I don't embrace them as strongly as would your average person on the street.  And I LOVE constructive criticism. It helps me get better at the things I do.  I could not survive as a teacher without giving and getting constructive feedback. But this has been a reminder for me not be conscious of applying value judgments in that criticism. 

I guess you can say I DID learn something from the comment after all. 

I've got other things I've been working on but that's what's tickling my mind today.  Hope you didn't mind the musing.  Maybe it gave you something to chew on.  

Have a wonderful Wednesday!


  1. I love how hockey is a priority for you. haha :) It kinda is for me too....

    The hexies look great. I have a piece that looks very much like that, which I haven't done anything with yet. It's been hibernating for a loooong time.

  2. Lol! You are amazing! One little hexie afternoon and look at you go! Awesome quilt top my dear! I have to say the only thing hexie related that I have accomplished is the loss of my needle pushing calluses because I haven't worked on them! I liked your musings on the snarkiness you experienced. It is interesting isn't it? Personally, I think the comment said more about her. Carry on my dear! Talent and ambition should not be reined in!

  3. I was admiring a hexagon quilt in a fabric shop a few weeks ago....yours is fantastic and ultra amazing for being made from scraps.

    You know what? That woman's comments stemmed from jealousy - 100%. I wonder if she regretted it the moment she said it. Unusual behaviour from a fellow guild member, I'm sure it was the LAST place you would have anticipated a comment like that.

  4. Hi Carly! I love your 'compulsive' hexagons! I have made only one EPP block for Laura's blog hop and I really enjoyed it ... but 'I don't find time' for that. Thank you for the links, I wrote them down and I do hope to start a small hexy-project. If it's ready to fo in a project bag - I'm sure there is also time for it! I hope I don't use 'compulsive' words when I try to write fun and well in English. One dear reader says that my writing is like from the book of Jane Austin - I guess I need new dictionary. 'Heretismata' (wishes) from Greece! x Teje

  5. Totally agree with you on the criticism front (did you read Rossie's excellent post recently?) Not that I'm criticising your hexies, I love how bold they are with all the red :o)

  6. I enjoy your musings, Carly! Join me in being compulsive, too! That's not a bad trait to have, you know. We can, and do, get things done. I'm impressed with your hexies, as I completely appreciate how much time and effort you've put into making this. Good for you! I'm toying with launching off - compulsively! - on another new project, though in this case, I'm slow to jump on the bandwagon. Such is the story of my quilting life. I guess I may not be compulsive in that regard as I have to see something several times, grow accustomed to it, and THEN launch into it. Anyway, you've made a very thoughtful post of that comment, and I do appreciate it.

  7. God morning Carly. Your hexagons look wonderful! I love your scraps too. You did lots in such a short time.!
    When I first started quilting about 12 years ago, I learned by doing hexagons. That's all I did for 3 years. I loved it. People asked me if I was crazy, told me I should get a life, and all sorts of " encouraging" things. Fast forward 10 years, and every guild in town has caught the bug and we start new quilters on them all the time : )
    Perhaps we're all crazy and need the therapy of hand work : /
    Enjoy your hexagons and we would love to see more.

  8. ugh. People really need to step back and keep their mouths shut. I don't really think she meant anything about it though - just a way of her saying 'holy cow woman, that's dedication!' I completely understand how you feel though. the words swirl around in your head after and you take it seriously and personally. try not to okay? I'm so impressed that you have made all those. I totally can not sit down long enough to even sew a few of those together. No patience. I think that's the nicest hexi arrangement I've seen so far. I love the bold colours.

  9. Man! I think it's awesome! Phooey on compulsive, i see creative and busy!

  10. You crack me up, Carly! :) LOVE your compulsiveness. Wish I could find a little bit of it today....instead I just sit here and surf the net waiting for inspiration to strike! Maybe tomorrow?

    I loved doing my hexi project and have contemplated another.

  11. I think they're great, and it's not cumpulsive, it's fun. I'm like you and sometimes a snarky comment just gets under my skin. You're right it's best to let it roll off your back.

  12. Oh how I love your hexies (compulsion and all! Haha!)! I started a quilt top with giant hexies over a year ago and never really got it finished up...I should pull it out for those nights when I just feel like sitting on the couch and watching tv (which are most nights now!).

  13. Ugh. When you brought your musings into the "What if I were a teacher realm?" I immediately thought of some not so lovely things that "teachers" or even peers have said to me. I think you are right, constructive criticism is important, but it must be rooted in the work and not the person who made it.

    That aside - I can't get over how beautiful this is! I would've lost my patience around hexie #20 and said "EFF THIS!" You constantly amaze me with your patience for tackling projects such as these. Beautiful work!

  14. Compulsive? More "tenacious", I think. And, of course, TOTALLY CRAZY!! Thanks for the late night laugh! See you tomorrow at MODERN quilt guild.

    I'm so impressed with how many hexies you've made. AWESOME!

  15. I agree with heather, tenacious would have been a better word to use! Like alot of people tho, the more common word usually comes out of my mouth and sometimes it is not appropriate, but I find with age, I can actually just stand and look and not say anything unless it is in praise. Sometimes it takes a long time to learn to do that an sometimes some of us never do. I really find your hexie project unusual in that it has an abundance of reds (my fave colour) and is so random. I am always inspired by these slight variations and amazed what others can create with such a traditional pattern.

  16. I keep meaning to post, and I think the only way I can consistently do it from my ipad is with my Google account. In the process of figuring it out I landed on your blogger profile and I was surprised at one of the first favourite books you listed - Fall on your Kneesis MY favourite book! And it seems no one has ever read it, must be destiny!

    Hexes look great of course...especially in their finished glory ;)

  17. Your hexies are wonderful and you know I think you are too!

  18. I love your explosion! My hexie project is on going...still going..and going.
    Thanks for sharing,

  19. I love your hexies! Compulsive - I think we all need to be compulsive at times. That's where we work outside of our usual box, and find our creativeness! Kudos to you!!

  20. (Can you see I'm catching up here?)
    I once said to my Dad that I felt bad being slightly OCD. Why? he asked. It's our type that gets things done.

    So I pass that along to you for whatever it's worth. You can see that I inherited my compulsiveness from him (we have legends in our family about this) and at first I thought it was a detriment, but after his thought, I realize that I do get a lot done--as do you.

    My daughter and I have a sign we refer to a lot (found it on Pinterest): "Don't try to win over the Haters. You are not the Jerk Whisperer." I don't know if that plays where you are like it does here (with our horse whisperers and dog whisperers--people who do wonders with difficult animals), but she and I worry tend to about grumpy people too much. So we've adopted that sign.

    Hang in there--remember: it's folks like us that get things done.

    Elizabeth E.


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