It’s Time to PLAY!

People who know me know I tend to be very serious. Though I laugh easily and often, I seem to hold all the characteristics of a “Serious Person” except the first one below:

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 7.50.42 AM

(Of course, I may be flattering myself with this description, too.)

My personality also runs through my approach to quilting. I am pretty intentional in my art, and when a piece is done, I analyze what worked and what didn’t. Intention and analysis have helped me become a better quilter.

For more than two years, that intention and process have led me to study design principles, considering especially how they apply to medallion quilts. I’ve also developed strong understanding of construction techniques, since medallions do have some quirks that can create challenges.

And for the last two years, I’ve been guided by my “word of the year,” EXPERIMENT! For me, that has meant that in quilting and other parts of my life, I would try things without expectations about the outcome. My intention to experiment has been a success, leading me to do things I might not have tried otherwise. Some of my adventures? Submitting items for publication, trying new uses of space and color and pattern in my quilts, hiking at 11,000 feet, snowshoeing, traveling to Cuba and blogging on it.

But you can see, can’t you, how deliberate this has been also? I wouldn’t give up any of these experiences. But now it’s time to try a different approach. It’s time to PLAY.

“Play” might sound the same as “experiment.” Both are means of learning that require openness and flexibility. But experimenting is methodical, and typically takes a process from beginning to end, including appropriate analysis. Playing is not necessarily methodical and it doesn’t require completion to end. How many messes have you seen in living rooms and playrooms and classrooms, as children abandon their play to do something else? Playing is no less important than experimenting, but it is approached less seriously.

In 2016, I will try to guide my quilting and other parts of my life with PLAY. I will try to take a light-hearted and compassionate approach, for my quilts, my relationships, and myself. I want to be unafraid of abandoning things that don’t interest me. I want to learn to tell stories in a playful way. I want to read with more pleasure and less feeling of obligation. I’ll try to see and hear with a beginner’s mind, open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

Yes, it’s time to PLAY. Would you like to play with me?




26 thoughts on “It’s Time to PLAY!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I always have… no, I don’t really always have fun. BUT quilting is always satisfying for me. Hoping to have a little MORE fun this coming year. Thanks for taking a look.

  1. Shasta

    I like it! My word this year was Clarity. I was successful in cleaning up clutter in my home, and did my best to communicate more clearly. I really enjoyed my quilting this year, and even though I didn’t realize it, “play” is a good description of what I did quilting-wise.I did what I felt like doing when I felt like doing it. I do like the word “experiment”, and maybe I should try it for 2016. Not so much to be more methodical, but to try different things and see where they take me.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Oh CLARITY! Yes, lovely. Good for you. I also do what I want when I want. I’d just like to feel a little freer and less deliberate, if you know what I mean. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Tammy

    Play – as a teacher I advocated for years about the importance of it in all subject areas. Why didn’t I think of my messy forays into quilting as play? I will from now on-thank you, Melanie!
    and I agree with shoreacres-this year for the first time really, I’ve abandoned a book that didn’t live up to my hopes. Yay! There are so many more.

  3. shoreacres

    I still remember the first time I thought to myself, “This is the most boring book, ever,” and simply stopped reading. The sense of freedom was remarkable. “Finish what you started” is a good rule, but it doesn’t have to be a universal rule.

      1. katechiconi

        Perhaps because I’m not very analytical… everything is instinctive/reactive… Also because I have a remarkable amount of freedom to work on my creative projects; without many constraints, it feels like play!


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