Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Word of the Year: Purposeful

It's that time of the year when a lot of quilters instead of (or in addition to) making resolutions choose the word they want guide their projects for the year.  My words for the last three years (Focus, Practice and Fearless) all related to my desire to keep my goals in sight and on track as I moved through my projects for the year.  That mission has not changed so I was hard pressed to come up with another word that would succinctly express what my motivation should be. 

When I thought about my "body of work" over the now thirteen years that I have been quilting, the one thing that I would say has always guided my choice of projects were that they served some PURPOSE.  Most often that started with wanting a chance to learn a new technique or try a new tool or popular experience currently engaging the quilting world.  In order for me to stay motivated to finish the project, I also preferred that whatever I was making had a person or place to go to when done.  The need to meet a gifting deadline (upcoming or long overdue) or to fill an empty bed, wall or table space was often the push needed to force me to tackle a difficult or tedious construction passage. 

Then there were those times when it was only AFTER finishing the project, I realized that there was some big lesson that had been learned that had not been sought or apparent at the outset of the project.  Like being surprised at just how good or improved my quilt skills were showcased in the finished work.  Sometimes I wound up encouraged by the (up until that point, uncharacteristic) amount of determination or perseverance or patience I showed in working through a difficult or complex project.  Sometimes it has been when a new technique or tool manages to live up to or exceed the promise of simplifying or streamlining some task.  The best was when I was pleased that something that I seemed to hate all the way through making it just astounded me when it was done and became a favorite project!

But in all of these cases, I can honestly say that there has never been a project that JUST got made for the heck of it and I don't have a problem with that.  In fact, when I look at the pile of UFOs, PIGS and HSYs* laying around, in pretty much every case there lurks an intended purpose and the hope for some unintended benefit when it is all done.  What does get in the way is forgetting the initial PURPOSE as I work through the project, especially when the stitching gets tough or something new and exciting comes into view.  I'm always tempted to immediately drop what I'm doing or worse, get impatient with it because I now can't seem to finish fast enough so I can move on to the new shiny or seemingly easier thing calling for my attention. 

But this year I want to be mindful of keeping the focus (there's that word again) on what I am working on right now.  To embrace the work I am doing and watch for and really appreciate what I am experiencing as I work on and through each project.  This also relates to being more mindful about Rossi's "Process Pledge" that I adopted a few years ago (and you can click on the button on the sidebar to read about why she started that movement) and documenting the journey.  I can entertain the new and interesting but I don't want it to be at the expense of what I am working on now.  My hope, as always, is that doing so will lead to a smoother, more direct course to finishing all of my projects and result in even more satisfying finishes as the year progresses.

So, what is YOUR word for the year?

* Unfinished Objects, Projects in a Grocery Sack and "Hussies" - Haven't Started Yet


audrey said...

Your post made me smile--so much in it that resonates with me.:) My word for the year is mindful. I want to pay more attention to what I'm making and why!

Elaine Adair said...

Interesting word. My closing on correspondence, is "with purpose" pretty much the same as yours, but mine is usually meant for "each day". It worked so well for 2014, That I am continuing the same for 2015. I quietly added the words "... and with less judgment." 8-))) Good thinking on your part.