Saturday, October 13, 2018

Quilting teaches me.... Patience

I've been quilting for a lifetime, literally, and have come to the conclusion that we do what we love in part because it challenges us to learn. Anyone who quilts can attest to the idea of learning about fabric and supplies, blocks and backings, sewing and making.  I'm exploring the other things that quilting teaches.

I'm not a patient girl. I have never been. Irritable, easily annoyed, short-tempered...all of those describe me. How is it then that I can say I've learned patience through quilting?

The short answer is that I'm a work in progress. I know the theory of patience and I try to practice it. I just am not a patient person by nature. So I fall off the wagon, if you will. Very often. 

I wonder if I've really learned patience. As a teacher I know that to learn something means to understand it fully and to be able to recall that understanding both in the short term and in the long term. 

If, for example, I were to say I learned the definition of a word, then I would mean that I have grasped full understanding of the meanings of that word, could use or identify it correctly in a sentence and be able to recognize and recall that information months, even years from now.

By that definition, I suppose that I practice patience, not that I've learned it. My patience comes and goes. My understanding of its virtue and how to employ it in my daily life are certainly learned. But goodness knows, I lose it fairly often. It being both patience and understanding. 

Where does quilting come to play in this learning? Well, with the seam ripper, of course. I have learned that sometimes we're human. We make mistakes. A cliche', of course, but I find that I'm more patient with myself and more willing to correct it when I do make a mistake. I also have discovered which battles to pick, if you will. 

I know that if the blocks don't quite match up, it's not the end of the world. I also know myself well enough that I've established a preset guide to ripping. ha! So when I want the blocks to line up exactly as they should, I'm less likely to have a fit when the seam ripper does more work than the needle. See, patience.

The quilt I'm working on now is important to me. Sewing the top was a bear... lots of math, not enough fabric and a ban on purchases. I suppose you could say I won that hard-fought battle. Thanks to employing a ton of patience.

As a Catholic I confess my lack of patience every time I enter the confessional. It's a given that I was rude or disrespectful or short-tempered with someone. Listing them all, thankfully, is not necessarily a part of the deal. At least no priest has ever asked me to name names. Which is a good thing, because I'd probably need to bring a list.

I guess I've learned how to be patient but just as importantly I am more aware of the times when I am not patient enough, and I'm working on that, too. Perhaps the seam ripper has a bigger job than most people think.

Quilting teaches me...


Karen S said...

I think awareness is a big part of it, even if we do not always succeed. How about "patience in progress"?

Kaja said...

I can never work out whether I'm patient or not. I am happy to hand quilt, which makes me patient, but can't sew a whole quilt of the same blog - too easily bored, which makes me impatient. I guess we're all a bit of a mix.