Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dirt Trails

Today was a beautiful day, the perfect day to take Katelyn, my mini me, out for her first mountain bike ride.  She's been wanting to go, I've been wanting someone to ride with.  Perfect!

Katelyn (L), Me (R)
Me and Mini Me

I prepared my bike and pumped the tires, loaded all the gear in the car, and picked up a borrowed bike from my brother (thank goodness he never had that growth spurt mom promised him because his bike was perfect for Katelyn).

I gave her a few instructions, like "don't freak out and crank down that left brake (the front break) or you'll fly over your handle bars."  Little tid bits like that.  And we took off for our ride.  Truly it was a gorgeous day, a day to be outdoors, out in nature, out on a bike.

Lake Hodges

One of the things I love so much about Katelyn is her exuberance.  I wrote a whole blog post about her on my life coaching site if you want to get a feel about her personality.  But, she gets a kick out of life.  Little things excite her and it doesn't take much to make her scream (in fear or thrill).  There was a lot of that today.

For a bit of time we found ourselves in a fairly technical area.  I should mention that, although I've been road riding, I'm fairly new on the mountain bike and I'm inherently a huge chicken, so we spent an equal amount of time off the bike walking around the rocks and up and down scary hills as on the bike riding.  

At one point Katelyn decided to just go for it.  As she whizzed past, I yelled to her to put her body weight forward, gear down, and just pedal.  And she did it.  She made it up the hill, navigating around all the rocks.  I couldn't see her at the top, but I could hear her, "Wooohooo, I did it," laughing and so proud of herself.
Katelyn, always full of life

What does any of this have to do with quilting?  Oddly enough, there is a connection.

As I was riding up a hill gasping for air, yet making it to the top nonetheless, I was reflecting on how I've been feeling about quilting since returning to it after many years off.  It's a whole new ballgame out in quilt land now.  I'm in awe by what I see.  The talent is phenomenal.  I'm also intimidated by what I see.  I sometimes wonder if I'll ever measure up.  Will I ever be as good as….<fill in the blank>.  It's a weird mix with quilting just like on the bike today…my legs were burning, my heart was pounding, I was sweating, and yet the scenery was absolutely beautiful, I was feeling so blessed by the fact that my body works well enough to ride, I was in full appreciation of the moment.  None of this was about anyone else.  It was simply about what I was doing in that moment, what *I* was accomplishing.

Cruisin' and comtemplating

Isn't it the very same way with quilting?  It's about enjoying the process, doing things the way that work best for you, about creating, and pushing yourself to try new and different patterns and techniques and colors.

I know it's a weird analogy, but I think like this when I'm out riding.

Seam Ripper AND Magnifying glass
Whether on my bike or at my machine, it doesn't matter if I'm as good as, or as fast as, or as famous as.  It really doesn't.  What matters is that I'm plugging along at my own pace, pushing outside my comfort zone bits at a time, learning and teaching and creating a track that works the best for me.  I'll hit some rocky spots, but if I breath, relax, and don't over think things, I'll come through the other end exhilarated, proud, feeling successful.  If not, there's always a seam ripper.

Although I'm not new to quilting, I am new getting back into it and back into business.  I'm finding where I fit in, what my niche is, what direction I ultimately want to go in my business.  But here's something that has not changed…I'm still who I am.  I quilt because I care.  I quilt because I love.  I quilt because I want to make a difference.  I quilt because I'm passionate.  I quilt because I love where my mind goes when I'm creating.  I quilt because I am meant to.

Being out on the dirt paths today
reminded me, just like with machine quilting, I need to relax my hands and arms, I need to breath, and I need to trust the process.

Newest Large Lap Quilt for sale

When I complete a quilt, whether as a gift, as a commission, or up for sale on my Etsy site, I want to always remember to look back fondly at the process and give a big yelp, "Woohoo…I did it!"

Until next time...

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  1. Wonderful photos, Carrie. Looks like you had a great time! :)

    1. Yes, it was great fun. My daughter makes all outings fun quite honestly. She's very much full of life :).

  2. Oh my goodness! Those trails look so gorgeous, although I think I would be a little scared too on some of those hills:) You are so right Carrie! I totally do the same thing and am always comparing myself to others. I have to take a breather every now and then and just enjoy what i love<3 So many amazing quilters out there, glad to know you because you are one too!

    1. The trails are gorgeous but I do spend a good portion of the time on my bike scared out of my mind but listening to my daughter's screams took away some of my own jitters.

      And the whole comparison thing is so counter productive, isn't it? I think it's great to follow others to learn and become inspired by, but to compare…a big waste of time. And yet, the brain goes there often enough. And I'm glad to know you too!