Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Comfort zones. We all have them. In restaurants, we tend to order the same things we know we like. Shopping for clothes, we lean toward our favorite color. We sit in the same pew in church. Gravitate toward our favorite spot in the break room at work. Routines are good. The "same old, same old" can be very comforting. It can also be down right boring! But we don't realize it until we've "stepped out of our comfort zone".
Stepping out of my comfort zone is NOT something that comes easy to me. But I've learned that when I do step out, (or more likely have been forced out) I discover something new about myself. I learn to appreciate something in a whole new way. One such "stepping out" (actually this was a force out) came about through a block exchange we had in our local quilt guild.
Have you ever participated in a block exchange? There are many ways to organize one. When our guild decided to have one, a couple of members chose the theme and block size, and chose a fabric that had to be incorporated in some way in each block. We could use a little or a lot in our block, but it HAD to be in there somewhere.
The first month we were given a block pattern and a yard of the fabric. In our exchange, the fabric was a bright, multicolored and black stripe. (For some reason, in the photo, left, the blue and green don't appear as bright as they actually are.)
Bright. Stripe. Those were two words that were not used to describe my fabric stash.
We were to bring our finished block the following month. We deposited our blocks into a large bag, which was then shaken and we would each reach in the bag and draw one out for ourselves to keep. We were given a new block pattern each month. There were twelve blocks to be made, so this exchange lasted one year.
The next month was the first "exchange". I drew out a block that had very bright, metallic yellow fabric.
Though it was well made, it was not a color I was expecting. Yellow? Bight? Metallic thread running through it? Sooooo not my style! The next month, the same thing happened. Later, I got some "more subdued" blocks. (More my style) After a few months, I thought "I'm not going to like the quilt that these blocks are going to make because they are all so totally different." I did choose another block made by the same woman that had the bright yellow metallic fabric in it, but other than that my blocks had nothing in common. NOTHING, except that multicolored stripe.
I decided to make a set of blocks using only fabrics that I already had and that coordinated. I really liked the fabrics that I had chosen for my personal quilt, so I just knew it was going to be lovely!
This is the same block pattern as the one in the photo above.
This was more "me".
After the finale month's block exchange, I laid all of the exchanged blocks out on the bed. (That was my design wall at the time.) I thought, "Oh, dear! How am I going to put these together and have it look good?" They were all made nicely, they just were so very different! I puzzled and puzzled, auditioning some neutrals as sashing strips. They only made the brights more glaring. I didn't want to use a bright color for the sashing, because, well, I just didn't want to. Finally, it dawned on me. There was one common element in all of the blocks. The multicolored and black stripe! There was the key right in front of me the entire time! Black. I laid a length of black fabric on the bed and placed the blocks about 2" apart to represent sashing. WOW! Suddenly, it didn't matter how different they were! The black allowed each block to stand on it's own and be beautiful in it's own right!
I was blown away by the fact that I could like a quilt with such bright colored fabrics in it!
Then, I laid out the blocks that I'd made from the coordinating fabrics. They looked nice, but since they were all coordinating, there was just no "Zing". Nothing to make me stand back and say, "WOW!"
I actually like the exchange quilt better! I think it's more interesting!
I still haven't sewn the coordinated blocks into a top yet, because I can't decide on which fabric to use for the sashing! Nothing seams to work. There has not been an "Ah ha" moment yet like I had with the exchange quilt. Perhaps some day.
Sometimes a "lovely" quilt is just what I want. And now, since the block exchange, sometimes I want a little "Wow!"
I hope this helps you to step out of your comfort zone. No, don't just "step" out. JUMP out!
Like me, you might just be surprised at the colors you just might like!
I'd love to hear how you've "stepped out" of your comfort zone.
What surprised you the most? What did you discover that you never thought you'd like?
Leave a comment and tell me your story.