What am I going to do today?

the start of the blanket

I’ve finally collected enough old cashmere to start my blanket. There is something that feels wrong about cutting into a perfectly wearable sweater (even though I am not wearing any of these, and bought them for the express purpose of making a blanket). A voice says, “What if you mess this up and then you have wasted 6 perfectly good sweaters?” I think that this is the voice of anti-creativity and it lies dormant until I try to do something new (with paint or fabric….or life). It wants me to stay safe; wear the sweaters or give them away. Those are its two options. It might also add, “You shouldn’t have bought them in the first place. You will probably never make the blanket. And if you do, it will be ugly, because you really don’t know how to sew, and you won’t use it…..”

I realize that I’ll never be able to banish this voice forever, but I can also see where I have permanently changed it, in some areas of my life, and that is encouraging and important to remember.  When I first decided to wear brighter clothes, I felt ridiculous. I was really uncomfortable for about a month going out in public with such a different look, but now I find that I love it, and wouldn’t even consider going back. I had a function to attend last week, and as I was putting on my 9 month old blue suit (that I bought specifically for these types of occasions), my first thought was, “What possessed me to buy such a dull suit?”

So I’m making the blanket.  The more pieces that I sew together, the better I feel. Someone posted a Mary Oliver quote a few weeks ago that said, “What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” and then, shortly after, I received a bookmark with the same quote on it. Sometimes it feels too big to think about what I am going to do with “my life” and I need to break it down into manageable segments. What am I going to do today, right now, with my life? Stay in the known or take a chance and create something new?

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous”.
Bill Moyers

12 thoughts on “What am I going to do today?”

  1. It will be wonderful, Mary. I cherish a patchwork blanket that my daughter and I knitted & crocheted together. When she comes to visit I put it on her bed and we marvel again at all the blocks we made so long ago. Shelagh.

  2. The blanket will be terrific, Mary, because you are in the mode of creating. Good time to start it.

    I have found that most of us vacillate between jumping out into the creative spin, and retreating back into the safety of the ‘known.’ I believe this is part of the yin-yang of our lives, and I believe it does not benefit anyone to try to change evrything about the parts we think we need to drop. Balance is the key.

    So wear your colors when you feel like it and wear your toned down suit when you feel like it. In the end, it all represents the whole of you and who you are. And isn’t that what you want to be….imagined warts and all….and proud of it?

  3. I have taken this wk off work to get some serious, much needed, cleaning done. Found stuffed in a drawer a collection of vintage handkerchiefs and hand embroidered scarves, etc; had in mind to make a quilt for the guest room with them several years ago. Then all those thoughts came to the fore – don’t know how, will ruin this, won’t turn out like I have in mind…. so it got forgotten.
    Now I’m all itchy to haul it out of the drawer at least, lay out what’s there, and maybe something will kick in with this project. Thanks for the kick.

      1. Yes, it will won’t it!! Don’t hold your breaths but I am starting to get excited about this again. But first I MUST continue with the project that’s been taking over the library for a couple years. Have boxes and boxes of memorabilia from my folks to sort through. Have 9 piles going for me and my 8 siblings. I will put them into albums for each of us. Yikes, didn’t realize what an undertaking this would be when I said I would do it, but it really is enjoyable to go through old photos, recipes,etc. And I swear I will be done by the end of the year, need to reclaim the space.

  4. Mary, think of those sweaters which you bought at thrift stores, as already having lived a wonderful ‘sweater’ life, cloaking a woman or girl on a chilly day, and now, they will make a metamorphosis into a beautiful blanket! And the ‘rejects’ I am sure Luke or the kitties would love for their little beds. You mentioned at the end of your post needing to break down life into manageable segments. How symbolic as you cut into the sweaters making new segments of sleeves, backs, fronts, and turning them into something new with a wonderful function, keeping a loved one warm. Warm and cozy love to all today, you especially who can put on a sweater! I, alas, am still in the Arizona 90’s!

  5. Tell the little demon voice of ‘nattering nabobs of negativity’ (the only words I remember from Spiro Agnew!) that you’ve discovered more than two options. In fact, it looks like this new path is going to be just gorgeous—and oh, so snuggly!!

  6. Hi Mary, I have a question about the sweaters. Don’t thet fray when you cut them up, or do you hem them before they start to unravel? I’ve never thought of cutting up sweaters to make a warm blanket. It’s a great idea, I was thinking about how you go about it.?

    1. Hi Jayne, I am hemming some and others sewing onto the blanket with a stitch on my machine called a blanket stitch (I think)…I have never tried this before (but there are lots of instructions on-line which might be helpful)….good luck if you do try (I am having a lot of fun with it)

  7. Mary, enjoy working on your blanket, and do it at your leisure. You will be so happy and proud when you are done. I started a quilt some years ago. My idea was to use all different colors of denim and hand stitch them using a star stitch. It took me about three years to collect the denim, then another 5 years of stitching in my spare time. Just this morning while stretching before getting out of bed I took a long look at my beloved quilt . I am so happy I never gave up on it. It sat in my closet for months on end at times. Now it is proudly displayed on my bed. Love and Peace Jo

  8. I am curious where does this negative voice come from? why is it so hard to get rid of, move around it? Is it from well meaning family members not wanting us to be dissapointed? Or is it inate? I have been working on old projects this past year, telling myself to finish these before beginning something new, I have been talking to myself in positive ways, that this will turn out well, and or I will learn something I’ve needed to know. I started piecing fabric together for a backing to a quilt top I recently finished, I love the “backing” to much that I will use it as a quilt top! I never know, thankfully, where my creativity will take me, I just wish I would trust it more often..

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