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How Setting Boundaries Makes You A Better Quilter

Have you ever found yourself staring at your collection of fabric or craft supplies, feeling overwhelmed by the endless possibilities of your next project? #girlsame

It's a common myth that creativity thrives in chaos.

Whoever said creatives are messy never met a stressed-out mama who just needs a minute of calm, am I right!?

Most of us find that we are more creative in a space that's not messy and chaotic, and setting creative boundaries is the best way to tame the chaos so we feel at peace when we are crafting. When our minds are focused on just one thing, our bodies are able to calm down and really make the most of that project.

If you're overwhelmed by a hobby that use to make you happy, this is your sign that it's time to set some creative boundaries so you can get back to creating joyfully!

Yep, you heard me right – setting limitations might just be the secret sauce to unlocking your inner artist. So grab your favorite cup of tea, cozy up, and let's explore how embracing these boundaries can make you a better quilter.

First, let's look at a few benefits of creative boundaries:

  1. Focus and Productivity: When you set creative boundaries, you no longer waste time on endless shopping, "what if" scenarios, and second-guessing your creativity. You get super clear on your vision, and don't deviate from it, so you can spend more time creating and less time overthinking.

  2. Boosting Innovation: Whoever said "necessity is the mother of invention" was onto something. When you're backed into a creative corner, that's when the magic happens. Boundaries force you to think outside the box and use what you already have.

  3. Deepening Connection to Your Craft: Last but certainly not least, let's talk about the soul-stirring magic of connecting with your craft on a deeper level. When you embrace boundaries, you're not just creating – you're communing with your art in a way that's downright magical. You're telling your yourself that "I'm committed to this craft even without buying the newest gadgets. I am going to explore this technique until I master it." In a consumer-driven culture, it's so easy for us to get caught up in the next best innovation: new gadgets, the latest fabrics and yarns, or the next course we're going to take. By setting creative boundaries, we are forcing ourselves to master our craft in a way that makes us innovators, not consumers.

What are some creative boundaries that have ben helpful for fiber artists?

I usually set a creative constraint for myself for a full year. It takes a lot of discipline to stick with it for that long, but it's been wildly helpful in finding my style and passion, and to really get good at the techniques that I've tried.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  1. Don't use neutrals for a year. You'll find new ways of combining colors that you never thought of before!

  2. Only use neutrals for a year. Imagine the nuance of creating exclusively from neutrals! You'd learn so much about scale, shades, and prints, and end the year with a beautiful collection of heirloom quilts.

  3. Add a little bit of hand quilting to every project. It's like your own personal signature. I've done this for several years, and it's my favorite way to finish a quilt: with just a little bit of time to slow down and connect deeply with the fabrics. I like to think that those little bits of hand quilting connect me to the artists who designed the fabrics, the shop who stocked the fabrics, and the person lucky enough to use the quilt to keep them warm.

  4. Buy a whole bolt of fabric that you love, and find a way to incorporate it into every quilt you make until it's gone. This is another constraint I've used, and it's an excellent way to develop discipline. At the beginning, you're excited and use a lot of it, and then you use less and less in each quilt, then you eventually reach the last itty bitty piece and realize that your journey with that fabric is over. It's a great lesson in pushing through burnout and finding a way to use something even when you're tired of it.

  5. Tell a story with each quilt: start by writing down a memory, then make a list of colors, textures, and symbols that help tell that story. Use this list as a guide for choosing fabrics for your quilt. Do this for every quilt you make, and you'll have a lifetime of unique quilts that tell your story!

  6. Make the same pattern at least three times, but change your colors drastically each time. I did this with the Untamed pattern, and each time I learned a little more about my creative style.

  7. Buy a new ruler, and commit to using it in every quilt you make for a full year.

  8. Only sew 12" blocks, and find all the ways you can mix-and-match them. This is great if you're in a small space!

  9. Commit to not buying any new fabric for a year (and actually stick with it!)

  10. Buy a book of patterns, and only make those patterns for a year (and don't buy more patterns "for later"!)

  11. Spend a year learning a new skill without buying new tools or classes. As we get older, we lose the ability to be okay with sucking at something new. But forcing ourselves to sit with the discomfort of not having all the answers is a great way to help us find innovative solutions to our problems.

And there you have it, folks – the power of creative boundaries in all its glory! So the next time you find yourself face-to-face with limitations, don't run for the hills – embrace them like the creative rockstar you are! Because who knows? Those constraints might just be the secret ingredient that takes your craft from "meh" to magnificent!

Are you ready to try one of these constraints? Leave a comment!


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