In this show, we explore how to replenish your energy, creativity, and happiness during times of stress. We also chat with the talented designer, author, and podcast host Wendy Chow of The Weekend Quilter.
Episode 505

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Recharge Your Creative Energy

A few months ago, our host Lindsay saw a Ted Talk with Saundra Dalton-Smith, who is an internal medicine physician and author of the book Sacred Rest.  The focus of the book is how to replenish your energy, creativity, and happiness during times of stress. Sacred Rest operates on the idea that most of us a "rest deficit". Through her research, Dr. Dalton-Smith has identified seven types of rest that we all require. Luckily for us quilters, our hobby helps with almost all seven types of rest we need.

1. Creative: The type that inspires and motivates you.

Creative type of rest is the most obvious when it comes to quilting. But if you're in a creative rut, you may have a hard time feeling inspired and motivated. If you're feeling this way, spend time doing something that inspires you outside of your sewing room. This could be taking a walk in nature, visiting an art museum, or even visiting a local quilt store to look at fabric with no projects in mind. Taking the pressure off creating yourself and just enjoying the beautiful works of others can help fill up your creative energy.

2. Mental: When you quiet your mind and focus on what's really important

When your mind is feeling overwhelmed with information or to-do list items, try taking a 15 minute break in your sewing space to do something repetitive and relaxing – nothing that takes a lot of brain power. Many of us don't prioritize our mental health, so give yourself the gift of sewing time each week as a form of meditation and rest.

3. Physical: The rest that relieves your body of muscle aches and tension and helps improve your sleep

This is the type of rest that quilting doesn't directly give you. Quilting is sometimes a workout, so make sure that you're taking care of your body while sewing and getting some of that physical rest that's needed.

We have a great video with tips to make your sewing space more ergonomic here.

4. Social: You spend time on relationship you cherish and with people who enhance your life

This is one of the great joys of being a quilter – connecting with others who share a similar love and learning from them. Many people belong to quilt guilds, go on quilt retreats, take classes at your local quilt shop, or even belong to online quilting groups, such as on Facebook.

To connect with quilters, join our Virtual Quilt Retreat on March 20, 2021. Details here.

5. Emotional: The ability to express your deepest feelings and be your genuine self

If you find that your sewing isn't bring you joy, you may need to fill up on emotional rest and more closely examine why you're not having fun in your sewing space. Maybe you finally need to say "no" to a project, make a quilt in colors that make you happy, or make a small project that helps you work through negative feelings.

6. Sensory: Gives you a respite from background noise, including negative self-talk and digital devices

So much of our lives now seems to be happening on a screen – work, school, chats with family and friends, shopping, social media. It's a blessing to be able to unplug from the screen time each day and sew. And while you're at it, shut down the negative self-talk, too -- give yourself a pat on the back and tell yourself that your work is worthy and beautiful.

7. Spiritual: You feel that you are part of something bigger, as well as a sense of belonging and fitting in.

Whether you come from a long line of quilters or are the first in your family to sew, the connection of quilting history unites us all. And don't forget the charitable aspect. There are a lot of quilting charity organizations out there, and finding one that holds a special place in your heart can help you feel like you're part of something bigger while sewing.

Getting Sewcial

Wendy Chow

Lindsay then chats with Wendy Chow of The Weekend Quilter, a New-York based designer, podcast host, modern quilter, and author. Wendy shares how she started quilting, her new book Urban Quilting (which was written and photographed entirely during the pandemic), and her podcast Quilt Buzz which she co-hosts with Amanda Carye and Anna Brown. Wendy also discusses how her sewing space has evolved over the years, shares an amazing tip for basting and marking quilt tops, and some of her favorite supplies and fabric stores.