My anti-word of 2016 – “Should”

A few years ago I took advantage of some free counselling after a particularly nasty end to a supervisory relationship during my post-grad studies. My very wise counsellor pointed out that many of my sentences contained the word – “Should”.

I know where it comes from, and have learnt with time that employing that word robs me of joy. I employ it while heaping burdens of expectation on myself, expectations not usually shared by the people for whom I am labouring.

So, this year I am going to try to identify the occasions when “should” comes out to play, then remove it from my vocabulary.

Baby quilt #1, ready for binding.

This of course is easier said than done. Take one of my 2016 FAL goals – to make three baby quilts. I made this goal because I am suddenly surrounded by new neighbours in the throes of procreating. Now, a “good” neighbour would do something to say “Hi”, since these neighbours have all shifted in only last month. I am a quilter, so I “should” make them a quilt. Hence, I committed myself to making quilts.

Of course I eventually came to my senses, and decided to finish the one I was working on, then find another way to say “hi”, like delivering some of our thousands of plums to them. Or making muffins. Except while I was delivering the first (and only) quilt, I met one of the new neighbours for the first time. The quilt recipient pointed out that they were also pregnant, leaving me with seemingly little option but to say another quilt was in the making.

It was a windy day, so we took shelter amongst the garden for a photo.

In the way of these things, I intercepted a $5 charm pack yesterday at my LQS, so the cost isn’t the issue. It is that making these utility quilts means I am getting little time to explore quilting, learn, expand my skills, and quilt for the joy of it. Yes, I could use the opportunity of making these quilts to do these very things. But when you are faced with say, finishing five quilts in six weeks to give as Christmas gifts, then speed is more important than artistry. And so, quilting becomes just a chore. A chore with a price, since extended time at my machine triggers migraines.


Hence enrolling in the 2016 Gypsy Wife QAL. I love this quilt. I love picking out each and every little scrap to use in it, and after finishing them, they are all mine.


What does this means going forward into 2016?

It means I am going to re-examine my FAL list, and make sure my goals include quilts I want to make, not feel I “should” make. Some editing is required, and then I aim to add quilts to the list that satisfy my new criteria:

  • Do I want to make it?
  • Am I going to learn something new?
  • Does the fabric and pattern make my heart skip a beat with anticipation when I look at it?

And if I feel antipathy, a sense of dread, or boredom, then it gets the chop.

Haven’t parted with these scraps yet.

I am also going to start getting rid of my scraps and trimmings. These have been piling up around me, determining my quilt choices. I want to liberate myself from feeling like I have to use every last scrap. This is going to become optional instead. Or, I might find someone to swap scraps with, since other peoples scraps are always better!

To this end, I emptied my rubbish bin into the trash sack this morning, without sorting out all the little scraps I might use one day. (Still feeling a little guilty)

I am also going to donate my enormous pile of leftover Pansy Blocks to our Guilds Charity Block collection. I disliked making the first quilt, I cannot bear the thought of making a second. I have learnt my lesson, and I will never collect fabric like that again. Begone pansies!

I have decided that 2016 is going to be the year of Liberated Quilting, just not quite in the modern quilting sense.

Linking up eventually with Crazy Mom Quilts.





5 thoughts on “My anti-word of 2016 – “Should”

  1. Sounds like you have a good plan for bringing the joy back into your quilting time. For 2016, I have promised to schedule one week each month for selfish sewing. This week is my first scheduled week and I feel such a lightness – I’ve enjoyed it so much. Don’t feel guilty over your scraps. It works for you and that is what matters most! 🙂


  2. i totally get your trouble with expectations! and the shoulds. my husband says to me, “you’re should-ing on yourself again!” (it’s a little crass, sorry, but it makes the point.) i got caught in the new baby loop myself, a year ago, which is part of the reason one of my own children doesn’t have his own quilt yet, but some friends and nieces and nephews do. sad. and last year i made two gift quilts for adult friends/family that were needed quickly. the joy was definitely gone! at least until they were delivered. adults seem to appreciate a quilt more than a baby or expectant mother. =) fortunately, my son’s quilt is nearing completion after two+ years and should (haha) be done before the quilt along kicks off.

    so i hope you have a good year of finding joy in your quilting! and that you enjoy the gypsy wife. glad to have you along.


  3. Hi Tarnia
    Your word “should” resonated with me. Such as, I really should be making a version of the Gypsy Wife quilt. Why? Because, believe it or not, I have Romany Gypsy ancestry from generations ago!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s