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Quilting: The Opposite of Instant Gratification

I subscribe to hundreds of blogs, mostly design and art blogs. I will see about 300 blog posts a day, a few per second. Next, next, next. The image overload is mind altering. I usually tell myself I will look at them for inspiration but most likely I will end up feeling bad about myself because everybody is always making cooler shit than me. The ones that I like end up on my Pinterest. I am an addicted Pinterest user: pinterest.com/ssm818. It’s public but not invasive. I love how visual social media, like Pinterest, has become. I remember in high school one of my first encounters with social media was xanga. It was a wordy, text heavy journal. Or I guess more like an online diary. I think mine is still up . . . xanga.com/shaba_the_hut. My bff pimped it out for me. Little did she know what she was doing was graphic design! Anyways, you had to pay for xanga premium in order to post your own photos. Not exactly an emphasis on imagery. Then came lord what was it? Well some more crap. Then myspace, putting more of an emphasis on photos. Facebook, the same. Twitter – basically instant messaging. Instagram – my newest addiction! Image only. And only one at a time which I think is perfect. Then obviously Pinterest. So many images, so little time.

As a graphic designer, it is exciting to see websites condense their information to images. This means they are conveying information in a more efficient and visually appealing way. Designers should be asking themselves everyday–how can we make this information more clear? The more words, the less likely someone will read it and the less likely you will get your point across.

But what is this image overload doing to us? Well I can tell you I haven’t finished a novel in years. Starting them yes. Finishing, no. I have a sneaking suspicion that my patience is being depleted.

So one day, I was at a friend’s house. Actually, it was Sunshine’s, from my previous post about communes. She was working on an amazing quilt made of Crown Royal bags for her brother.

crown royale quilt
If you are an alcoholic craft-person, this is the project for you

I wanted to start a quilt but the idea of starting a full size quilt was daunting. So Sunshine showed me some quilting books and I decided to do some throw pillow covers. I have had a bunch of squares of different colored pieces of silk that my mom had given me from 30 years ago! At the time, she was a fashion designer working for someone who was into tie-dyeing. So I decided since I already have the material, it will be cheaper and more special than buying throw pillows. Usually my rule is that I only make something if it is cheaper than buying it and/or what you want doesn’t exist. I am totally in support of making things but if I decided to make everything, nothing would get made–so I get a bit picky.

So I got sewing, got greedy, and rushed. Many hours later I ended up with something that looked like it was made by a drunk child.

See?
See?

I ended up seam ripping the whole thing and quilting it by hand. I found something very meditative about doing this hand embroidery. Even the seam ripping wasn’t too terrible. I could carry on a conversation, half watch tv, or just listen to music while doing it. It was a relaxation I have not felt for a while.

The end result. Was this post a thinly veiled attempt to brag? Possible...
The end result. Was this post a thinly veiled attempt to brag? Possible…

But I sort of realized how ridiculous making these pillows were. After buying extra fabric for the back of the pillows, the pillow forms themselves, a quilter’s pizza cutter thing, and thread and needles, I had spent $80! The money plus the approximately 40 hours I had spent on them made me think, why didn’t I just get this shit at IKEA? At this, my man-friend got a bit defensive. He is into woodworking and if he had his way, would make everything. Tables, kitchen islands, sofas, you name it. (I must say he has already made us a beautiful kitchen island). I usually have to talk him down from the ledge. I reason that it would take way more time and money to make a sofa then to buy one. Like I said, I am totally in support of hand-making as much as you can, but at what point is it too much? Now if you want something very special or custom then it’s totally worth the extra time and money. Or sometimes you can really make it for less than what you could buy it for.

Anyways, I guess the point is maybe I was wrong. If you make something, even if you could buy it for way cheaper, you are putting pride into something that will be in your home. So at the end of the day, it is worth it. Maybe knitting next?

2 thoughts on “Quilting: The Opposite of Instant Gratification

  1. Hi Seana…. Some part of the $80 expenditure still exists as tools and materials that can be applied to the next project. The next (handmade) project will be cheaper, easier, faster (but just as meditatively relaxing), and better than the previous one. The meditation is priceless, as are your throw pillows.

    Love you lots…. Lornie

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, friend.

      And thanks again for the light fixtures! I’m in the process of cleaning them now.

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