I know I’ve explored this topic before but it’s a question I find I ask a lot, both myself and of others. Why do you sew? What motivates you to create out of fabric and thread?
Are you practical and sew out of need? Do you sew mainly for yourself? Or mainly for others? Does it fill a creative outlet? An emotional outlet?
When I think about what motivates me to sew, I think my need for a creative outlet comes from wanting to fulfilling an emotional need. I’m practical at times (I’ll make a blanket to keep you warm, dresses for special occasions), but also have a need to help and offer support in some way through my creative process. Increasingly, I find a lot of my recent projects are cathartic; they help me move through a difficult time.
A recent newsletter from my local Janome dealer in Winnipeg, KTR Sewing, really drove this point home to me. The newsletter spoke of local quilter, Cora Kennedy, who had taken it upon herself to make lap quilts to warm others who were shivering while undergoing chemotherapy treatments (she discovered the need for this while also undergoing her own treatments). Cora started out with a goal of making 100 lap quilts, then 200, then 300 and by the end of 4 years had reached all the way to 824 lap quilts before she went to be with angels.
Cora’s ultimate goal was to complete 1,000 quilts for all Cancer Care clients as a comforting gift to take home with them afterwards. KTR Sewing, along with their many customers and friends, took on the challenge to complete her goal by making up the remaining 176 quilts. In this recent newsletter, it was announced that Cora’s goal had finally been met with the 3rd and final delivery of lap quilts this past Friday of 70 quilts!
What an amazing gift and legacy.
My own initiatives are no where near as far-reaching but feel meaningful and symbolic to my need to reach out, to help, to offer comfort and support.
If you know me a little, or have stopped by my blog, you’ll know that I’m also a bit of a crazy Basset Hound lady. My network and involvement in the basset hound world, dog shows, and basset hound rescue has allowed me to form some really close relationships with humans and hounds alike.
We laugh with one another over the funny quirks and personalities of our four legged friends, and we support and cry with one another when we experience illness and loss.
Just recently, one of the ways I’ve worked on moving through this pain that I’ve experienced when there are these times of loss is by creating personal memory wall quilts to commemorate the life and loss of our dear companions.
Part of me grieves with my friends when they experience these losses and so there are often tears shed as I work through these quilts. My other part of wanting to do this is to honour these dear souls and all the joy they have brought to their families.
I just finished this one for a dear friend who rescued Cid, a one-of-a-kind hound who’s circumstance and requirement for some special care made him larger than life to all those who knew him.
This is the first time I’m used a technique of printing on fabric. Yes, that is an actual photo of Cid that was printed on white fabric on my inkjet printer and then appliquéd onto the wall quilt. I’m so in love with this photo that really showcases Cid’s personality.
My hope is that the recipient, my friend Leslie, who doesn’t know or expect that this is coming in any way, will smile when she receives this and remember all the wonderful memories she enjoyed with Cid over the years.
I have really appreciated Janome Educator Liz’s applique techniques that she has shared on the Janome Life blog over the last few months. I have been following these posts along closely and as a result I’ve switched to using a new foot for applique (as I mentioned in last month’s blog post) and I think it’s resulted in a much nicer (and easier finish).
My final touch to this wall quilt was the finish on the binding.
I toyed around with a few different ideas. Generally my go-to for finishing binding is to hand sew. But that’s mostly because I like a nice clean finished edge on quilts that will be used.
Wall quilts have a different expectation. They are hung on the wall and admired. And unless it’s in a quilt show, I’m hoping not too many people are flipping the corner over to see how the quilter finished the binding on the back (ha!! Maybe you DO do this??).
I also really am trying to use more of the stitches that are available on my Janome Skyline S7. I tried playing with quilting Cid’s name to tack down the binding but felt that might be too busy. In the end, picking up on the love I have for Cid and this family, I went with a heart stitch, which I adore.
This labour of love is ready to get in the mail.
So why do you sew? What motivates you? What sewing project are you currently working on?
I sew as a creative outlet. I started making quilts as a way to give back. I donate my quilts to a local organization called Az Quilts for Kids. Thanks for all the wonderful tips you share!
My dear Mother taught me sew when I was growing up- singer treadle machine. My first purchase when I started to work. An electric Krnmore in early 1970s did the trick for many years. About 10 yrs ago I realized I wanted to start quilting because I had some grandchildren. All of them had so much STUFF and there was absolutely nothing I could give them that would have lasting value. They all have quilts now and all their quilts have embroidered labels on the back with greetings and express my love for them. I have no idea if they will value these quilts after I am gone but I think I have a better chance with a quilt than with a plastic toy. Now I am loving trying new techniques and learning more advanced quilting projects. I have completed a Hoop Sisters queen size for myself. All the rest of my projects are given away or made of raffles and fund raising.
I’m a returned sewer (after being away from it for almost 40 years!) so it’s a textured reason why I sew. I love the challenge that arises in the tension between precision and creativity – I love the whole process from planning to execution and all the adaptations that I must or choose to make along the way and ultimately that feeling of holding something up and putting on a garment that I’ve actually made. I love it all!