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I love all things sewing!  It's all about the creative journey.  All my blog posts are letters to my sewing alter-ego - Lola!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How do you know you're a quilter?

Dear Lola,

How do you know you're a quilter?  Is there an official moment a person becomes a quilter?  Or is it a metaphorical status?  While I believe I became a quilter in my heart before I finished my first quilt, there might be some purists who would argue you are not an "official" quilter until you have completed your first quilt, as they say, "from soup to nuts."  By the way, I looked up "from soup to nuts" and it's derived from the description of a full course dinner which historically was comprised of all the courses - beginning with soup and ending with nuts!  

I also suspect that some folks like to add some qualifiers, like "beginning", "novice", "intermediate" or "dabbling" in front of the word "quilter".  There are other descriptive words that can be attached to quilter like "traditional", "modern", "next-gen", "art", and my favorite, "totally-completely-utterly addicted"!

Just like in most things in life, we don't always think of ourselves in a context.  For example, I didn't think of myself as old until I received my first AARP advertisement.  The day that postcard arrived congratulating me on my invitation to join felt a little like the moment your kid heads to college.  You are happy you made it this far, but unsure of how to celebrate.  

As I travel through my quilting journey, I feel fairly certain, I won't be receiving any postcards announcing my arrival at quilting milestones.  Yet, many quilters can and do receive notice along the way.  Some quilters enter shows and find their work judged.  This process helps them grow and often results in accolades.  We can also share our work with other quilters in organized groups like bees and guilds.  This is another wonderful way to receive feedback and feel recognition from our community. It's an affirmation of our "quilter-status".

I personally love my quilt bee, they are wonderful, creative women who share so much with each other.  I love the local guild I belong to as well.  It's a place where I can view the work of many women within my community and there are often great educational opportunities folded into the monthly meetings.  It's just plain fun to be part of these groups.

In spite of all the things that I do to identify myself as a quilter, it took a funny experience today to make me realize, "oh yeah, no postcard required, YOU ARE A QUILTER!"  I was in the kitchen cooking dinner with the television on for background company.  I heard bits and pieces of the report and heard the announcer say, "a great way to get ripped" and I immediately looked up  thinking I would see a seam ripper.  Instead, it was a hollywood hunk who was "ripped" in a completely different way!

So Lola, I think we can safely say, there is no doubt, I know I'm a quilter.  

Hugs and stitches,


Monday, March 16, 2015

Don't you hate making the same mistake over and over?

Dear Lola,

There is nothing worse than making the same mistake over and over.  I've been burning the candle at both ends and I just needed a little face time with my machine.  I have a block of the month that I have been working on forever!  Did I say forever?  I meant it - the blocks are 4 years old.

I have the fabrics cut out, so it seemed only natural to try to stitch together one block for a little therapy.  I literally sewed the block together wrong 3 times and was ultimately able to bond with my seam ripper instead of my machine.  I felt like the comic book character above - "These flying geese are killing me."

I have been doing a lot of volunteer work for my son's school and I love being around the kids.  They are all awesome.   The parents - not so much!  The parent group hasn't been very cohesive or very nice for that matter, so putting something together like one quilt block seemed like the perfect artistic therapy for me.

After the third failed attempt, I realized that the process was a metaphor for the frustrations I have been dealing with and even though I really like to avoid the seam ripper, I was able to control the outcome.  With life, we don't always have a seam ripper at our disposal.  We have to make do with uneven people and experiences.  We don't get do overs like we do with quilting.

So once again, my sewing space gives me the lessons and meditations that I need at just the right moment.  In hindsight, it's just fine that I didn't finish the block - ripping is just what this girl needed to do to let off a little steam!

Hugs and stitches,


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Share with Love

Dear Lola,

Quilters are the most amazing people and I'm not saying that because I'm a quilter.  In fact, maybe I became a quilter hoping to become amazing!  Each opportunity I am given to be around other quilters reminds me how enthusiastic, energetic and optimistic quilters are.  They are always so happy to learn, share, grow and encourage.

The minute I meet another quilter, I feel a kindred connection.  I'm inspired to ask about current projects, favorite fabrics and colors.  I love hearing about success stories and quilting horror stories - we all have them!  I recently met a wonderful lady who shared the story of a quilt she made for a Wounded Warrior.  She was honored to have met the recipient and had tears in her eyes on the retelling of the experience.  She said the experience was one of the proudest moments of her life. After hearing that - I had tears in my eyes too.

Over the past 7+ years, I have heard so many stories from quilters who were honored to share their quilts with others.  Each quilt we make is a labor of hope, grace, dreams, laughter and love.  Having a hobby like quilting enriches my life every day and I feel blessed because of it.

Hugs and stitches,