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.