Monday, August 27, 2012

recovering pack rat with mild OCD

I used to be a pack rat and would save everything!  And I do mean everything.  The most meaningless things could NOT be thrown away because "someday I might need it for something".  I'm not sure when I outgrew that, but I think it was around the time I started having a "touch" of OCD.  Okay, it was more than a touch.  I got rid of all the clutter I had built up and could no longer stand to keep stuff for no reason.  I also needed everything in its "proper place".  I had my closet color coded according to ROY G BIV and all my hangers had to be the exact same distance apart.  If I removed an item of clothing, I had to redo my entire closet so that all the remaining clothes were spaced "correctly".  I would erase and rewrite my math homework 20 times until my 8's looked perfect.  I still hate my 8's - they are so ugly.  I remember the moment when I realized I was no longer going to be able to keep up with these habits.  I was sitting in my college dorm room, erasing my engineering homework for the umpteenth time and it hit me that I was sitting in my room getting my homework to look "perfect" for a professor who never saw the homework, a TA who couldn't care less, and all the while I was missing out on the fun going on around me. I still have my closet color coded and my cupboards organized, and occasionally I alphabetize things if I think it is really worth it.  But now I find myself thinking, "will this save me time in the future, or am I just OCDing".  If the answer is that it isn't a time saving measure, than I don't do it.   

So what does this have to do with quilting?  After I finished Ava's quilt back, I still had a handful of leftover squares.  I could have stashed them as many quilters do, and in fact when I first decided to start sewing on a regular basis, I would buy fabric for no reason - just so I could stash it and "have it someday in case I needed it for something".  But not too long ago I realized I was already running out of room in my small sewing space.  Not to mention I really couldn’t see what I had.  Plus, I decided it would be nice to just go to the quilt shop and pick out fabric for a project, right when I wanted to work on the project, rather than having to use fabric I had seen for months.  So I made up my mind that I am not buying any more fabric to stash.  Rather I will go purchase fabric when I want to make something.  I think that will keep sewing / quilting fun and exciting.  Plus I think it will be a great incentive to finish a project – knowing that then I get to go buy new fabric!  I love fabric – not sure if you can tell. 

So this leads me to the leftover fabric I had from Ava’s quilt.  I talked about it in my last post.  I decided that it would work for a nice doll quilt for my daughter, so I jumped right on it during the next nap time and this is what I churned out:

Super scrappy doll quilt top.  Nothing orderly about this. Must not let OCD take over....

After she went to bed that night, I threw together the backing (also out of scraps), layered it up, basted it, and got all excited to quilt it that night.  I decided since it was a doll quilt, it would be a perfect size to try free motion quilting on my machine.  I put the free motion (darning, open toe, hopping - whatever you want to call it) foot on my machine and started practicing on a scrap.  No good my friends, no good.  My bobbin thread tension was way off.  Railroad tracks all over the place.  I took the free motion foot off and put the 1/4” foot back on and sewed on the scrap again – perfect stitches.  Put the free motion foot back on and back to pure crap.  So I’m not sure what I need to do to fix it.  I guess I’ll be putting in a call to Brother this afternoon and hopefully they can help.  I had high hopes of finishing that doll quilt all in one day, all with scraps! 

And by the way, after piecing Ava's quilt and quilt back, AND the top of the doll quilt, this is what I had leftover for "scraps".  The largest piece I will keep for checking thread tension, the rest are going into the trash. :-)
My pressing table aka my night stand.

I could keep talking about how quilting has helped my OCD, but this post is already getting pretty long, so I will save it for another day. 

Thanks for reading!


  1. I can't imagine a Valerie without OCD,it's one of the characteristics we all know and love about you, but do love your attempt at pushing it aside for the doll quilt. It's amazingly uneven and adorably chaotic :)

  2. Thanks Jaci! I still have a little OCD - I can't go changing too much. ;)

  3. This is me too Valerie! You are so talented! What neat projects you've completed!!! I'm impressed :)