Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Quilting Year

One of my secret ambitions is to join a quilting club.

Now I have told the entire Internet, so please, if you're part of a quilting club, feel free to invite me.

(Sidebar: Is there a certain age requirement to join a quilting club?  Oh, I know there's no rule, but I need to know the unspoken social mores.)

As a little girl, I would beg my mom to let me sew on her machine.  It was set up in a little nook in her bedroom, and I spent hours (or what felt like hours to my 9 year old mind) squirreled away there, sewing little scraps together.  Mom didn't hover over me worried that I might sew through my finger or bust a part on her machine.   Alone in her room, I created.  Beautiful, scrappy little messes.

There's a magic in making pretty things out of small beginning bits.  It's the magic of creating.   "Creativity," Madeleine L'Engle says, "is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living."  I like that, the thought of creativity being a rhythm of life, and it's true for me, at least - when I'm not creating in some way, I feel a bit withered up.   It's taken form over the years in decorating our house with garage sale finds or pasting together cards out of magazine pages.  This year, I quilted.

In February, my sister asked me to help her bind a t-shirt quilt she had just finished.  It inspired me.  I wanted to make a quilt and finish it through to the bitter end: piecing, quilting the layers, and binding. I would make Anna a baby quilt!  So I went to JoAnn's and wandered the aisles.  Spent way too long pulling bolts off, holding up pattern next to pattern.  I chose a simple design that didn't have a lot of corners to match up, and my Brother EX 660 and I got cozy at the dining room table.  You can actually see me working on that quilt in the last picture in this post.  

After that, I was hooked.  A friend was due to have a baby in the summer, and so I decided to make her a baby quilt.  Then another friend was due in October, and obviously she needed a quilt too.  Then a friend told us of a hard family time he was walking through, and a quilt seemed the perfect tangible expression of all the love we were praying to wrap round him.  

I am not an expert at this.  Let's remember that my auspicious career as a quilter began as a nine-year-old, and since then, I've had no formal training other than YouTube videos.  (Now you begin to understand my quilting club dream.)  But believe me - this is not about perfection.   Look at these pictures.  Can you really see my puckery stitches or the places I veered off the edge of the binding? 

The hardest part of a project is sometimes just starting.  But then once you begin, you soon have a different problem.  I told Aaron I won't make any more quilts for a while.  You know, so I can fit making dinner and showering back into my schedule.  

But if I began this post with a confession, I'll end it with another...

I really don't shower that often anyway.  

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