The Free Motion Quilting Project: Hot Cast Part 8 - Stopping another cycle

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hot Cast Part 8 - Stopping another cycle

I haven't said much about Hot Cast lately. Painting the surface of this quilt has taken longer than I expected, and it's not really necessary to update you all with "Painted a bit more today!"

But I have been working steadily on this quilt for the last month and here's what she looks like right now:
free motion quilting | Leah Day

Over the last week, I have managed to fix the green vines, painting them darker and shading the leaves better, but I've also managed to totally ruin the columns. A test I tried on the left column ended up too dark and when I tried to fix it, the fix just made things worse.

And yes, this is going to be one of my personal posts, so if your not really into my emotional rambling, click here to check out designs from the project.

To say that I'm miffed with this quilt is an understatement. She's pissing me off. When I look at her right now, all I see is that mistake.

Am I being childish? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm not judging my feelings, I'm just simply feeling them, and right now, I feel sad, tired, and angry.

This quilt is all about love. Finding self love. Finding acceptance, and right at this exact moment I feel like an utter and absolute failure at that goal. I feel like this beautiful goddess is mocking me, "You want to love yourself? Face your own inadequacy."

For so long, my self esteem has been entirely dependent upon what I can DO, what I can create, what I can FINISH.

And at the moment, nothing is finished. My patio project outside is lingering on like a bad dream, I have 5 quilts in the works, all nowhere near finished, the book is halfway done, the new DVD not really even started, and it's all weighing on my back like a load of crushing bricks.

I feel overwhelmed and when I get overwhelmed, I push myself harder and harder. Sympathy and compassion are two emotions I've only recently become acquainted with and for the last month at least, I've steamrolled over them in a pursuit of work, work, work.

Many people talk about seasonal affect disorder and how the winter months get them down. For me it's the other way around. Every May or June will find me like this, struggling.

I'm not sure if it's the heat or the feelings of instability as we move from a regular schedule to the less ordered summer months. I always feel stressed and crazy in May. At one time I could blame this on school exams, but no longer. I try to fight it, work harder, push with more force, and I always lose. I always end up the overwhelmed, deranged, pile of bones finally giving out under the weight I've piled on my own back.

I lose because I'm not superwoman, despite what this blog sometimes makes me seem. I'm very much a 27 year old mother and wife and for once instead of pushing, I just want to stop.

To stop trying so hard, pushing with such force. To simply accept what this time of the year brings and allow myself to flow with it, instead of fighting it.

So that's what I've decided to do. I'm going to take this weekend off for starters. Sorry, but I really, really need a break and Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time for it.

Next week when I get back to work, I'm setting myself a very simple goal: 8 hours. I have to set the limit of the normal workday of 8 hours per day. I've got to get out of the habit of working all day and well into the night. It just has to stop.

So maybe I am getting somewhere. Maybe Hot Cast has changed me more than I think.

A year ago, I would have kept on and might have lasted until July. A year ago, I would have ignored the signs from my body and family that I have a problem with too much work.

This year, I'm drawing the line in the sand right here. I need a break, I need to rest, and I need to change my work habits. What better sign of self love is there?

Let's go quilt, rest, relax, and be good to ourselves,



  1. I wonder if her message is "if you want to love yourself...let go of judging yourself".

  2. Wow,your quilt looks beautiful to me. And I've learned a lot from your "personal" insights (my mother was also narcissistic).

    I'm so glad you are taking care of yourself. If you have a rocker, rock yourself, listen to some music---soothe yourself. People like us have to parent ourselves.

  3. You go girl! Have a wonderful weekend with your boys. :)

  4. Good for you. Learning to set limits is one of the hardest lessons there is. It's one I'm still working on, as well.

  5. For what it's worth, I like the column on the left. It looks like it is shaded by the vines, and her hair, and looks more like an ancient column.

  6. No need to apologize for taking a give so much of yourself that it's perfectly necessary to retreat and recharge your batteries. We'll be here when you get back!

  7. Love the shading on the leaves and the blazes at the star. I can't find your "Humble Spot" on the left column! (That's what a local girlfriend calls those spots we just aren't happy with - helps her accept them more gracefully, and the nickname has stuck in my head.) :D

    Good for you!! (Calling 8-hour work days now) You'll be happy you did. :)

  8. Glad to see the progress on Hot Cast lots have changed. Go ahead, take the weekend off and have some fun with the fam. You are your own boss, right? Taking breaks helps replenish. I can't imagine working over 8 hours a day solid and still having the best work quality. The limits on your time will give you so much back in family, work, and inspiration.

  9. I love it and think that it is a beautiful quilt and is going to be stunning when it is finished!

  10. It definitely sounds like you need to take a more reasonable approach to all these projects that you have taken on. I did too many projects for a while and burned out so much on quilting that I did not quilt much for almost 2 years. I am now getting back into it, but will do it at a more reasonable level now.

    Please take care of yourself. Hugs.

  11. I like Nancy's message a lot. You are awesome. I wish I'd had even half your insight at the age you are. And you are spot on--stop, listen to your gut, and go with the flow instead of the agenda of the ego, that ever-present internal judge and slavedriver that plagues us all so. You'll get back in balance in no time. I find it amazing and admirable that you've embarked on this journey of self discovery at your age. I was in my 50s before I really got serious about working on my issues involving self-esteem and my mother. Also, like Carol, I think your quilt looks beautiful, but I realize that what matters most is how it looks to you, the conceptualizer and creator. Maybe leave it for a while and come back to it when you're feeling more centered. You might see it differently. (If there's a deadline for its completion--well, I don't know what to say to that, because deadlines and creativity don't mix very well for me. :) Anyway, just take care and be well--for your family, yes, but mostly for yourself. Oh, and by the way, nothing wrong with having several projects in the works. That's what keeps me from getting bored! :)

  12. There is a saying that I read in a self help book many many years ago that has to do with behavior. It goes something like this:
    I walk down the road, there is a hole, I fall in, I am stuck, after a long time I climb out.
    I walk down the road, there is a hole, I fall in, after a while I climb out.
    I walk down the road, there is a hole, I walk around the hole and carry on.
    Life is about learning lessons. Some take longer to learn than others. The learing of lessons is called wisdom. Wisdom comes with experience, patience with ourselves and time.
    Be patient with yourself and your journey. Life is short and often difficult and a little desert helps.

  13. Hi Leah,
    first of all let me say that your quilt looks fabulous and really I can't tell where the mistake is.
    I know now you see only the mistake, but probably nobody else will see it.

    I'm telling you this with empathy because I'm in you same situation and I know exactly your feelings now.

    Few days ago I have painted and dyed a background for a quilt I'n going to enter in a show.
    I've painted it and I've done all things I usually do, and then I washed it in the way I've always used without problems.
    This time all went wrong and in some patches the color came off.

    You can understand how disappointed I was. and angry, depressed, very low esteem and so on.

    I Can't see other but the discolored patches, people who have seen it says it is wonderful, that the discoloration gives it vintage feeling that is great.
    I hadn't time to paint another background so I've decided to go on and I've started quilting it.
    Well guess what, the more I look at it the more I feel it just right as it is.

    This is a piece about self acceptance, Leah may be this quilt it trying to tell you that you've to love yourself also if sometimes you're not as perfect as you want.
    Like your quilt you're wonderful anyway.

    I wish you will be able to accept this quilt and yourself :)

  14. Enjoy your break with the boys - you deserve it.
    Just because something didn't quite turn out as you wanted doesn't mean it isn't right, live with it a while, you may find other small changes are required and that everything pulls together beautifully - don't be so hard on yourself - rightly or wrongly most of what I do craft wise is intuitive, I go with what 'feels' right, I try not to push because normally when I do it's complete disaster - so you are doing the right thing by stepping back but even with a regulated day allow yourself to feel and be guided what to work on and where to go with the project

  15. I have an aunt who is just like this. She takes on all sorts of projects, volunteers to handle church functions, cooks, cleans, and buries herself under a pile of work. But she thinks she has to do it all & never asks for help. She has to control everything because of her obsessive standards. But it doesn't have to be that way!!!! Let go of some things, Leah. The world won't stop turning if you don't have complete control. Let other people in. Let other people help you. You have got so many people in your life who love you & would do anything for you, but I don't think you realize that. Let go!! Let Josh finish the patio! Sheesh.

  16. I so hear you and concur!
    I have learnt - after two breakdowns and a long period on medication (off them for two years now and never felt better)- that I have to pace myself, I have to be very discplined about limiting the number of things I start, and that I must rest, even stop altogether, when I get stressed. My way to wellness is now to have only a couple of 'projects' on the go at a time. Strictly!
    It might not be the way for you, but you, your family and friends want and need you well and happy a heck of a lot more than they want you 'productive'. You doing nothing at all is a very fine you. You enjoying what you do do is splendid.

  17. Hot Cast is all about your journey to self love, so of course she's going to be hasn't been an easy road for you at all. However, both of you are turning into something quite amazing.

  18. You may not see progress, but I do. I believe the first part of loving yourself is to take care of yourself, and you are doing that. I totally understand the craziness of May, but then I'm bipolar and seasonal change triggers me. Please take the time to care for yourself, and you need not apologize to us! Have a great weekend.

  19. I Think your being to hard on yourself. The shading looks fine. You need to go find some columns and look how the sun/shade hits them. It's a beautiful piece.

  20. Leah, I think Hot Cast is still beautiful and your work is amazing. Perhaps part of the lesson she's teaching you about self love is to love yourself even when you are not pleased with something or how things are going. Being inspired by you and so many other great bloggers out there, I recently started a blog. Today, I posted about how much your work and site helped me to learn FMQ and finish this quilt. If you get a chance, check it out: I hope it might cheer you up. Your influence is spreading far and wide, m'dear!


  21. I've looked and looked, and still can't figure out what or where your mistake is!! It's a BEAUTIFUL quilt! FWIW, I totally agree with the "seasonal mood disorder" thing. My son definitely has more problems in the Spring too. Also, after we moved to sunny Eastern Oregon from cloudy Northern Michigan, we all felt the mood-lifting power of the sun! Enjoy your break. We all struggle with time management and workloads...

  22. Hot cast is beautiful - just like you! Enjoy your break, and please keep to your limit of 8 hours. You don't need to kill yourself working to prove yourself. Just be you!

  23. This is sooooo beautifull - I love your work.
    I'm making a quilt with a fishingman in the sea/waves, what would you recomend for the quilting in the sea?
    Have a great week end.

  24. I think your guys need you to spend some time with them. You're a wise lady. A lot of times you need to walk away from a project and rest. It give you time to rest and find solutions. I think your quilt looks beautiful!

  25. I agree that you should take this weekend off and just enjoy life! Don't sneak in to peek at Hot Cast and by Tuesday, she will look completely different to you. I often call my mistakes "opportunities for embellishment" but last week I learned about Improvisational Quilting. Perfect!

  26. Dear Leah,

    I am listening to your words, validating you as a human being....I hear you.

    You matter.


  27. All I can say is good for you.
    Dont feel that we will judge you in any way for taking time off.
    Make sure you do what you need to do xxx

  28. A little story some-one told me was: my life was a quilt, but it had stacks of holes in it and just didn't look right at all, and infact looked total rubbish. That was becaause the real work was going on the other side..and when at the end of my life was revealed it was the most amazing sight intricate and beautiful and the holes were the lace. I love that story. I loved hearing yours too, thanks for being so transparent and keep being real kind to you, Sister Masterpiece.

  29. Let me start by saying she looks great, at least in a photo. The maker always sees way more flaws than anyone else can possibly detect. When you said that she is saying to you, "You want to love yourself? Face your own inadequacy." I nearly fell out of my chair. Because I think that is exactly what she means to say! You are inadequate because you are human. Nobody is perfect. Nobody is superwoman. But love is blind. It doesn't care that you aren't perfect. Love yourself for who you are - inadequacies, warts, hopes, dreams, strengths, and all. Anyway. A break will do you good and I hope this week is finding you living within your line in the sand. :)

  30. I'm sure it looks different in person than in the picture, and evidentally it looks different than you had originally wanted it to look, But I like the variation of color in the left column. In the pic it gives it depth, and interest.
    I also find it hard to focus on one project and follow it through to the end before running off on another. Very different than who I was at your age...Then I was Ms OCD, unable to do anything that was not actually demanded of me until I finished what ever I started. I'd feed my child and furry children, potty and bathe as required. My house work and gardening would go undone, along with most anything else.
    You'll get there, just be kind to yourself and have faith.


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