Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, difficulty, or annoyance without getting angry, anxious or upset.
I've come far in my Dear Jane quilt journey and when I stop to think about it I'm always amazed at how much patience I've gained in regard to my sewing. Life too, perhaps. Nineteen more blocks to go and then I will be finished with the center part of the quilt. Then, 56 triangles and "kites." Plus sashing, scalloped border, quilting. Oh my goodness, when I think about all I still have left to do I fear I will never finish. Then it's time to draw on the patience that I've learned throughout this journey.
Some blocks require more patience than I used to think I had. Others take much longer to complete than I expected. But I'm not in a race to get my quilt finished just yet and reminding myself of this makes it all seem okay. At times I don't really care if it takes me all day to make one silly (but beautiful) block. The movement is still forward. I've definitely developed patience and I think it's carried over into other areas of life.
Learning to paper piece has taught me patience.
Curved piecing has taught me patience.
Patience, patience and more patience with each and every block.
I've learned recently that being patient with myself is a way of treating myself with compassion. Compassion means reaching out to others when they are suffering but how often do we extend this to include ourselves? Sometimes it's hard to remember to treat ourselves with caring and kindness. Whenever I'm sick I find myself becoming impatient with myself because I simply cannot do all the things I want to do or am used to doing. I have to slow down. It's very frustrating for me to see things that need to get done and not being able to do it all or ask for help. I cannot push push push myself or I become irritable, exhausted and stressed. Why is it so much easier to be patient with others than it is to be patient with ourselves? I'm learning that practicing patience with myself is a way of taking care of myself and is truly an act of self-compassion. Working on my Dear Jane blocks has helped me with this.
Looking at Jane's actual blocks always gives me a boost. There's a wealth of patience in this quilt.
(Photos I took of the Jane Stickle Quilt at the Bennington Museum)
Often, I hear people say that they don't have patience for sewing or quilting. I don't believe we are born with the patience gene. It's definitely learned. You learn it by being patient, practicing patience, over and over. Living in the present. And, as far as quilting goes, when you find something that you truly enjoy making, that makes your heart full of joy, then sometimes patience comes right along. Above all, be kind to yourself.