Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Not Goals

Judy Hopkins Mystery Quilt Step 3
I'm not doing the whole "goals" thing this year; it might be another disruptive year and setting goals only feels like a way to set myself up for frustration, disappointment and failure somewhere down the road. Setting goals feels too rigid (although I'm well aware that goals can be revised as needed), too confining, a recipe for disaster in my present state. I have an overwhelming sense that I must do better at "heeding the call" as it arises rather than try to map out a plan. Too often I have pushed something I really wanted to work on to the bottom of a priority list. This year, I will strive not only to be more in tune with desires as they arise, but also to tamp down the guilt and misplaced sense of duty that in the past has kept me from acting on those desires.
Judy Hopkins Mystery Quilt Step 4

And so I am still working on "non-art" quilts, completing a set of blocks for this mystery quilt. It has occurred to me over the last few days that this probably is not the best use of my time right now; nevertheless, that is where the pull, the call has been, and so I have heeded it. I've become acutely aware that I've let my charity quilting that was once so important to me lapse. And besides, the repetitive nature of this work free of many decisions is letting the right side of my brain do its work uninhibited by my more critical, practical and negative left brain. It is sending out messages now and then about the art quilting I'll be getting back to soon, putting together scattered ideas into coherent plans, presenting solutions to what the left brain was sure were insurmountable problems.

I think it also sent out a message that even if I didn't set goals, it wouldn't be a bad idea to at least jot down a few things that have been on my mind to do. At first, I didn't know quite what to call this list; certainly not a list of goals or even a "to do" list. I tried "framework" and "focus" and "directions", all with question marks after them, all applicable but not quite hitting the mark. But I had to get something on paper before I forgot completely the sorts of things I thought I might play with, accomplish, really needed to attend to. I paused in my piecing, wrote two things down and blanked out. Well, it's a start, I thought, and continued with my sewing. As you can see, it wasn't long until I remembered other things, continuing this pattern of sewing and writing and sewing and writing until I filled a page and a half.  Not goals, just something to refer to on those occasions when I'm standing there, blanking again, wondering what it was I thought I wanted to do.
Judy Hopkins Mystery Quilt Step 5

It wasn't until yesterday that it hit me what my list should be called...reminders! For that is exactly how I intend to use it. It will be a guide of sorts, but mostly it will hold in place those things that call to me that I can't get to right away, free up my brain to attend to the call in front of me, and remind me what the next call might be when all I hear is silence.
Judy Hopkins Mystery Quilt "Relatively Speaking" copyright 1997

Here is the stack of 17 blocks for the Judy Hopkins "Relatively Speaking" mystery quilt (copyright 1997!) along with the last step showing the final layout. To be honest, this is not the most interesting mystery quilt pattern I've seen and I'm not that crazy about the block itself, which she calls Grandmother's Choice. Poor Grandma, I'm thinking, if among all the wonderful quilt blocks, this was her choice, placed in a rather uninspired set to boot.

I should just finish it up quickly per pattern instructions, but I could not help wondering if I wouldn't like it better if the blocks were set on point. Years ago I'd been advised that almost any block becomes more interesting if set on point and once I turned the stack of blocks, I could see how much better I liked it. This sent me to my Electric Quilt software program to play with block and border sets and this is the one I like the best. It will mean I'll have 2 blocks left over and I'll have to figure the dimensions of the setting triangles. I'm not sure I have enough blue fabric to make that border, but I'm really called to make these adjustments. There's not much worse in my book than finishing up a quilt you aren't that crazy about, even if it is for charity. Left brain is encouraging me to set it aside and decide all this later but as I've mentioned before, I'm really trying to break that habit of procrastination. I think I'd better decide today whether to finish the top per instructions or go my own way, even though it will take more time and effort, and then get right to finishing it. Yeah, that decision may be a no-brainer.


Connie Rose said...

Yes, lists but not goals...precisely!

Chris from NJ said...

I agree with you about not making a to do list or set goal for the year. I have done that a few times and never did what was on the list. I fail miserably at resolutions. I love that you called them reminders. That is a great way of thinking about them. I am also learning to let go of things that I don't really want to do anymore or finish. Instead of making myself feel guilty for not doing them, I allow myself to not finish them. Not everything needs to be finished.

Margaret Cooter said...

"Reminders" is the perfect title for your compilation!