Friday, August 16, 2013

Dare

You know how sometimes we turn the internet into a yardstick by which we measure our worth?  This wonderful sewing community that gives and teaches and encourages so freely, if poorly digested, can become a burden instead of a delight.  And this is entirely within our control.  We get to decide not only what we consume, but also what we do with that information.

Sparklers bits and pieces

A poem I read yesterday began "Dare to be Different."  And it brought to mind some things that I hope you always know...

*you don't have to keep a fabric stash

*you don't have to buy designer fabrics

*you don't have to hand sew bindings

*you don't have to press seams open or even to the side

*you don't have to care when your points don't match

*you don't have to have a tidy or pretty sewing space

*you don't have to make anything "original"

*you don't have to blog, Tweet or Instagram

*you don't have to sew clothes or bags or quilt your own quilts

*and you definitely don't have to have a fancy sewing machine to turn out really great quilts


Sparklers quilt

Instead, when it comes to this hobby that's meant to be FUN, dare to be different whenever different suits you.  The poem continued, "Dare to live by your own convictions, not somebody else's." To which I will add:  Dare to sew your own path to joy

Dare to be different.
Dare to live by your own convictions, not somebody else's.
Dare to believe that you can and should make a difference in the world, that you have a precious contribution to make which on one else can offer.
Dare to face your fears and live in the strength of the spirit, unfettered by human respect, a free spirit before the face of your God.
Dare to believe that you may really be right, and that even if you're not it is better to have erred in sincerity than never to have dared to live.     - Mary Johnson, An Unquenchable Thirst

At Stitched in Color I don't share much of my faith, in the interests of keeping this space as inclusive and welcoming as possible.  But there's something else I ought to dare.  I ought to dare to invite you more often to get involved in helping others, in making a difference in the world.  If I have a platform I want to use it to do some good.  And, I want to be able to share the part of myself that is passionate about it.  Because helping the hurting, the poor, the disadvantaged is something written on my soul.   And I don't doubt it is written on yours as well.

Gift quilts <3

here's how you can {Help Today}

*Take part in the Action Kivu fundraiser to help women who are victims of the conflict in Eastern Congo.
*Fight sexual slavery by donating to Exodus Road (to crackdown on brothels), Somaly.org (to offer shelter, escape and education to prostitutes) or Love146 (to provide survivor-care and preventative education)
*Read Half the Sky or The Road of Lost Innocence to become aware of the problems facing the most vulnerable in our world
*Join do. Good Stitches to use your quilting hobby to love children
*Donate your own finished quilts to an organization like Wrap Them in Love, Threading Hope, Piecing Hope, or My Very Own Blanket

Wherever you are in your sewing journey, I'm glad that you're here and I welcome you!  Wherever you are in your life's journey, I invite you to do a little thing with great love.  Because little things do change the world.

59 comments:

  1. I would add one more item to the list. Always remember that what is posted on the web (in a blog, on instagram, etc.) is only a part of the process. What may appear to have taken someone an afternoon, may have involved weeks of work, and lots of mistakes that get left out of the post.

    I love your list!

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  2. Those are important ideas, Rachel, I'm glad you shared them.

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  3. So true. Thank you for this post.

    At times looking at other people's quilts, sewing rooms, homes, fabric stashes or whatever else makes me feel.... I don't know, envious and wishful that I could have all that and make things that pretty and whatever else.

    Really though, I love my small cluttered over-ridden with cat hair sewing space. I love my small, messy (I'm to busy quilting to clean after all) fixer upper house. I even love my diminishing because I can't afford to buy as much fabric as I want due to being downsized fabric stash.

    The very fact that I am able to make a quilt a month to donate somewhere makes me thankful to be helping someone else. I think remembering that even if we don't have "things" we still have time that we can use to help others.

    So today I dare not to look at another single "here is my sewing space" post. Instead I'm going to go finish the binding which I am machine sewing on the very large quilt that is sitting by my machine because I was trying to decide whether to hand bind it or not!

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  4. I don't HAVE to keep a fabric stash, but my goodness, I certainly do enjoy having one. :)

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  5. So true, and so in tune with what I've been feeling these days. Refreshing. :) Thanks, Rachel!

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  6. this may just be my favorite post you've ever written. so beautiful! and i adore that quilt top!

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  7. Thanks for this most perfect post!

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  8. Awesome, Rachel. Thank you again for reminding us where the real road is, and helping us avoid the pitfalls and quicksand! Links are excellent, too--off to donate to Action Kiva now!

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  9. Wonderfully said. I've filled out the do.Good Stitches form, and will wait to be contacted. I've been trying to be active in my faith, and keep James 2:14-26 in my heart. Thanks for sharing today.

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  10. Very well said. I started quilting when I became ill with an autoimmune disease when I was only 38. I quilt & piece by hand but when I look at all projects bloggers can accomplish I feel like a failure and I shouldn't. The very fact that I can create something beautiful that gives me such joy while I am sick is enough in itself.

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  11. Rachel our hearts and thoughts are in tune...many of these thoughts and more have been marinating in my brain ;o) I do believe the Internet is a beast and a friend...such a fine line.

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  12. Thanks for this Rachel. I've been thinking again about that box of cut out dresses above my cupboard, about it edging closer to Christmas, about the opportunity I have, getting into this really good craft market...all competing with a new (nesting?) urge to garden, to be in the sunshine, which all happens to be the main thing stopping me feel sick all the time. :-)
    There was a similar voice when I closed up my shop in town, that I was squandering a really good opportunity. It takes guts to listen to your heart, especially when it's telling you to come home and be a mum. I got so many strange looks when I gave people that reason!
    Daring for me today means resting in God and trusting him with the unknown. Giving him my desires, knowing today I don't have the capacity to work towards them. Daring not to strive.
    Thank you. Xx

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  13. Wow there is a lot to read here~ I will have to keep this info...and I also have made quilts to help others. It is wonderful to do so~ ♥♥♥

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  14. What a thoughtful and timely post. A while back I read about a link-up party and the blogger wanted only those to participate that - make beautiful projects. It hurt my feelings somehow because I started questioning if I make beautiful things.

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    1. Make what makes you happy. Beauty is an abstract concept, and is often confused with 'Fashion' which is something different altogether. :-)

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  15. This is so strange. My kids went to bed and I started working a couple of different projects, and started to feel frustrated because I was making mistakes, which made me remember ALL the mistakes I've ever made quilting, and I started telling myself that it didn't matter what I did I was always going to mess everything up. Very unhealthy self-talk. So I sat down at the computer, hoping that looking at a few inspirational blogs would help me feel better, and then I saw your post which really did make me feel better. It's a good reminder that all my points don't have to match, and I don't have to hand sew bindings!!!! Also, it's good to remember that there are people who have real needs and problems that are more serious than what free-motion design to use. Thank you Rachel. I'm definitely going to check out the charity links. I appreciate it.

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  16. Thank you, Rachel, for such a beautiful post! Thoughts which we all occasionally need to be reminded. I just started a very long term project and have had to remind myself that it was about enjoying the journey and *creating* something, not whether the points are perfect on the squares. :-))

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  17. Rachel, this is one of the best posts I've ever read on a sewing blog. Nicely done. I'm taking a lot of these points to heart, especially the one about creating original things. And the sewing machine one...because I have always used my non-fancy Brother from Sam's Club and been perfectly happy with it. :)

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  18. So true. With Facebook and Pinterest, it's so easy to be hard on yourself for not being perfect.
    I've tried to join do.Good, but I'm still waiting. Doing what you love to help someone else out is doubly rewarding : )

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  19. Thanks Rachel for sharing this. I have realised recently that my enjoyment of sewing has got all out of perspective because of reading too many blogs :-) I don't have the money or the time to produce lots of quilts, but the ones I do make I need to take the time to enjoy.
    As someone who works amongst the poor I also want to echo Jodi's thoughts above - that on my own I can't make a difference, but I need to rest and trust in God's purposes and believe that he can use my small efforts, and that He loves and cares for people far more than I do. Thanks for the encouragement.

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    1. Taking time to enjoy the process is something I want to do better at. I usually enjoy the planning, fabric selection, seeing the pieces come together to make a picture and the finish the most, so I tend to rush in between to get to the finish and start something new. I accept the part of me that loves beginnings and endings, but sometimes I do find great joy in the middle and that is an extra good thing!

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  20. Your poem reminds me of one of my new quilting friends and what she always says when one of our group breaks a quilting rule, "The quilting police are not going to show up knocking on your door for breaking a quilting rule. Just do what works for you!" I love this great advice and think of it often when quilting.

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  21. I hope "God blesses you in your journey to help others"! I enjoy reading your blog very much!

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  22. What a great post, Rachel. I often remind myself that I don't have to have a stash to make beautiful things (scraps are my friend!). I love drooling over the amazing mini fabric stores I see around the web, but it certainly took some time and effort to feel okay with not having anything close to that. Now I'm happy with what I have, and enjoy transforming tiny scraps into pretty finishes. And I love everything I make, so that makes me happy. xoxo

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    1. Scraps are such friends! I don't want to make anyone feel guilty about what they have or don't have fabric wise. The point is not the having, but the making - something we all know but lose track of sometimes.

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  23. A wonderful post Rachel, I love my sewing but I rule it not the other way round. If my points aren't perfect well neither am I.I do have a stash, but not to show off, to be able to dip in and make something when ever the mood takes me. I buy beautiful, to me, fabric from a myriad of sources and love each piece equally, regardless if it was from the latest collection or from a charity shop vintage sheet or as my latest acquisition the skirt of a 1930's ball gown.

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  24. I think you are amazing! There is so much bad that we see and then there are people like you. Amazing quilter, amazing mother, amazing woman. It gives me hope. I am so glad I found your blog.

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  25. What a great post! This one really made me stop and think about my assumptions when it comes to quilting.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rachel. This post blessed me in ways I am still counting.

    Hugs,
    Celia

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  26. As of a few days ago, I've been unsubscribing to a ton of blogs I've been following for a long time. I only want to follow those that I feel will inspire me the most. Your blog is one i will continue to follow. I appreciate you sharing your talents and your sweet soul.

    I have spent too much time wishing I was as talented as others and ignoring my own talents. I will create what makes me happy.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Debbie

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  27. Thank you for this great reminder! I am always inspired to do my best when I read your blog!

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  28. Your post is the second one I read this morning that reminds us to be content with what we have, not strive to compete with others and remember the important things in our lives. Thank you! We all can do small things that make a difference!

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  29. I've said it before and I'll say it again; I love your style. Thanks for encouraging us to think and act.

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  30. Lovely post. Great encouragement for so many that feel pulled by what everyone else is doing. I was fortunate that when I first started quilting 20 years ago my teacher told me that there were NO quilt police! I was taught specific, precise skills but always knew branching out was not a forbidden thing. There is so much to explore in this hobby of ours. Let's be free!

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  31. I'm about to start learning, so this is a great reminder to just do it! Thanks Rachel. :)

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  32. Wonderful post Rachel! I'm guilty of feeling unaccomplished because it takes me a while to finish a quilt or a project. But I try to remind myself that quilting is supposed to be fun and not add stress to my life. Thanks for the reminder and the super inspiring words.

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  33. This is a beautiful post and thank you so much for it. Hubby and I have always been involved with helping others in one way or another. He's bee a fire fighter for ever and I've started a non profit for teen girls and been officers in a number of other organizations. Half the Sky has been dear to my heart for so many years, not because my own daughter lived on one of their facilities unfortunately but I do see the benefits of those that are so fortunate. I've had the idea to start another not profit, one that is quilt related, but working out the details isn't the easiest. I hope that it will become a reality in 2014. Hugs to you!

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  34. well said and ispiring, thanks Rachel.

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  35. I love this post. I sew for me and to share with others. I sew in a spare bedroom which is never neat, covered in fabric scraps and strings and it makes me happy. I know I break all kinds of quilting rules, but I always say - I do what I like, I do what I know, I do what feels right for me. Your blog is always so full of great and inspiring projects.

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  36. Good stuff, a lovely post! Except for hand sewing bindings, I'm afraid I really can't bring myself to skip that stage ;-)

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  37. All true ... I am really hopeless at pulling together fabric stacks so I tend to use whole collections of fabric to make my quilts. I sometimes feel that is a cop out, but you know I am not a naturally creative person, I don't have that vision. So I feel so grateful to the designers of these amazing fabric lines that I can make something pulled together and truly beautiful despite lacking that skill. And I learn from their skills of course. The more I play with prints and colour the more I am starting to understand what I like and what looks good.

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  38. Well said, Rachel! It looks like you've struck a chord here, and it's so nice that it's not a negative one! I applaud you for what you do with do.Good.stitches and wish I had time to join in - but as you know, the quilt ministry I'm involved in keeps me hopping! Keep on doing just as you do and daring to speak out - you have something important to say that we all need to hear!! Hugs!

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  39. :) I often dare to be different. When I was young they all loved "Take That", "Backstreet Boys", George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Leonardo di Caprio. I didn't like them. In clothes taste that's the same. I pick what I like from what's "in" and often don't like what's "in". I also often don't like what everybody is sewing, so I don't do it. :) But you probably know: being like this is never easy. You have to fight for your opinion...

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  40. I like ALL of these points! The one thing that drives me crazy is the requirement of certain challenges or participants is to use designer fabric. Don't get me wrong, I love designer fabrics, but I can't always afford them and I think it's a little snobbery;) Thanks for sharing!!

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  41. The dress looks lovely on her, ruffled sleeves and all! I'm happy for you that she likes it! And guess what? My coloring appears to be virtually identical to yours (at least as you appear on the half-dozen computers, tablets and other devices I view you on); I too avoided orange until a few years ago, when, by the time a coveted, but pricey linen jacket dropped in price to match my budget, it was available only in orange. I hemmed and hawed, and finally took the plunge. EVERY time I wear my bright orange jacket, I receive multiple compliments. So, perhaps someday you will introduce this colour to your wardrobe and be pleasantly surprised!

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  42. I really liked your post and plan to write about it on my blog at the end of this week (Sunday,8/25). I plan to credit you and link back to this post. Do you mind if I cut and paste some of what you wrote (crediting properly, of course). I am in agreement and I will not bash what you say. Thank you for encouraging people to be of service through quiltmaking.

    Thank you for your consideration.

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  43. Rachael, thank you for that reminder. I don't "do" most of those things, and sometimes, like this last week, I begin to feel that presure. Your blog is such an encouragement and inspiration.

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  44. Please let me know how to join do.Good.Stitches. I've tried via the website and the Flickr group but don't seem to have managed to get through to anyone :(

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  45. What a lovely post. I've tried to give back by making small quilts that I give to social workers to keep under their desks. When they get a call to accompany the RCMP to a domestic situation where they will be removing the children, they take these quilts with them. The quilt is wrapped around the child, and then stays with that child. I call it "Because You Matter" quilts for kids. http://www.nitadances.com/index.php/because-you-matter/

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  46. This post touched my heart. Thank you.

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  47. thank you so much for the thoughts and especially for the links. thank you for sharing that part of yourself and even mentioning your faith. I understand why you don't much, but think you strike a good balance when you do. thank you.

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