Beginning a Hobby

Last night I went to my son’s stamp club Christmas meeting. He is the youngest member by about 50 years. Yep. They are all elderly and mostly men. The thing that always fascinates me about the meetings is the amount of information hidden inside of each person’s head – all about the most trivial of things regarding all things philatelic (that’s stamp collecting to you and me!)

For me a stamp is something we stick on our post; it sometimes has a pretty picture on it and can be from any country. But there is so much more to it than that. For example, one member can talk for hours about the size of perforation (that’s the wiggly bit on the side of the stamp) whilst someone else can put up a display of 100 plus stamps, that to me all look the same, but are actually all different by print machine, text size, date made and even minute differences in ink colour.

There is so much more to stamp collecting if you are fascinated and keen to do and learn more. These men are all obsessed, one way or another, with the minutia of stamps. And they are all willing to help each other out with stamp swaps and answering questions – although these can on occasion get a little bit heated!

The evening got me thinking about patchwork and quilting. In some ways, are hobby is similar to stamp collecting. We, too, have different areas of interest within the art. For example, some of us love sewing paper piece blocks, some prefer the quilting stage, some spend hours to get the perfect seams and points, some will get excited by perhaps one block pattern but sew it in a thousand different variations, etc. But wherever the hobby takes us, we all start from the same place. We all use similar skills and follow similar methods. But as we progress we get excited by different parts of the hobby – ohhh the fabrics and the colours.

I LOVE the design of the quilt and the trial and error in turning a block layout picture or photograph into an actual sewable quilt block. It really excites me. Weird? Definitely. But the trained draftsman / engineer in me will never be fully silent!

This addictive hobby of ours is vast, too big for one life time. And for a beginner it can all be a bit overwhelming.

Ben and I are beginners at stamp collecting. The men at the stamp club often explain to us about just having fun to start with. To not focus on anything in particular but just do what appeals until we find our ‘thing’ and to know that we can change our ‘thing’ as we go along. It’s a hobby. It’s not meant to be a chore but meant to be fun or relaxing. The same thing goes for patchwork.

My advice is this…

Enjoy learning. Enjoy sewing. Enjoy looking at others work. Enjoy chatting to those who are further ahead than you. Explore and most importantly have fun.

ps. Ever heard of a Postage Stamp quilt where the pieces of fabric you sew are only one and a half inch square. Now that’s a lifetime labour of love.

pps. If you have a block that you want to sew but can’t find a tutorial, check out my design service. Click HERE!



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