Starting a New Hobby

Now that I've made my previous hobby (watercolor painting) into my full-time job, I need to be cautious of burning out. I tend to work obsessively and I rarely take breaks or make time for fun hobbies.

One activity that I swore off for some time was sewing. I went to university and studied costume design, which although obscure, I'm very proud to have accomplished. I didn't end up using my degree as I had originally imagined, but I'm thankful to have a BFA (which was useful for getting a job in Korea) and also for refining a needed skill. I've been able to sew wedding gowns for myself, my sisters, and friends, baby quilts for expectant friends, my own curtains, my own clothes, and countless other items that ended up being more economical to just do it myself. Sewing is awesome!

I swore it off, however, because I was sick of it. After spending college up to my eyeballs in measurements, pins, irons, and thread, I needed to get away and do something else for a while. I felt like I was part of the sewing machine that I was using - that I was just an extension of it, rather than a living human, who had feelings or could take breaks. Sewing is rhythmic and it's easy to get lost in the motions. I have to literally pry myself away from the machine so I won't become a sewing zombie. If you've ever sewn, you know what I'm talking about.

I was visiting Berkeley Springs, WV with Inwook after Christmas, when we found a second-hand book shop. There, I discovered some quilt inspiration books. Some of the quilts detailed were made in the late 1800s, were gorgeous, and also surprisingly modern looking. The quilts I'm drawn to always have a fascinating color combination, as well as a striking pattern. I purchased the books as an excuse to be inspired with color choices for my art - but after thumbing through, I realized that I needed to make my own quilts!

I got home from our trip, brimming over with ideas, and dashed to the fabric shop. Brenda, the Joann Fabrics associate asked me what I was making. I really hate to tell my prospective creative hopes to anyone, for fear that I might not follow through and then feel like an ass for having gotten all excited and then not done anything about it. Even so, I informed her I was making a quilt. When she asked for whom, I told her I have a lot of friends who are pregnant, and maybe I'll make this as a baby quilt gift. I actually have very little intention of doing that, sorry friends! My answer pacified Brenda and she let me leave in peace, but only after preemptively reprimanding me to pre-wash the fabric. Ok, Brenda, I got it.

I even bought myself one of the rotary tools (like a pizza cutter for fabric). I feel terribly fancy using it, and that I'll slice off my thumb before the month is out. Yikes! Fancy stubs!

I feverishly cut and pieced together my first quilt, of which the pattern I designed! I'm very proud of its simplicity and the colors combination. I've got plans for several more, but I need to set a pace so I don't burn out again.

Here's the design for 'Albuquerque' my tribute to the American southwest. It is now serving as a headboard in my bedroom. It's Inwook Approved! *thumbs up*

I've also created a new Instagram account to document my progress in my quilting journey. You can follow me here!

Marni Manning - Artist

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