I love my children so much it hurts, which explains why I and my husband were bouncing along at 4:30 in the morning on a mission to procure some steal-of-a-deal sod for our son who was renovating his backyard. Just thrilled to death that, despite being 66-year-old fuddy duddies, we were being included on this adventure.
We were driving a "centuries-old," borrowed, stick-shift Econoline van that has seen better days. It was belching smoke from both front and back compartments, asphyxiating all the people who were just out for a stroll, walking dogs, riding bikes, pushing strollers, or carrying two cans of paint along the sidewalk. (Who carries cans of paint at 4:30 in the morning for a stroll on the sidewalk?)
Bouncing along caused me to reminisce with my husband, who was driving said stick shift, about an ancient and venerable pickup truck that my father had for his little farm in Northern California. As a teenager, I took it out into the middle of nowhere by myself and got stuck. I repeatedly took runs at a hill that the truck just could not handle and was reaching desperation when I remembered something my father had told me. He'd said that the old Model A's used to have to back up hills if they were steep, so I turned the truck around and, sure enough, was able to back up that hill and get home safely.
My daddy used to love to tell stories around the dinner table. There were always words of wisdom mixed in with them that I would remember years after he was gone. He had a kick-in-the-pants kind of common sense that was uncanny. He definitely was a problem solver.
Quilting is an activity that teaches you a lot about problem solving. As our new friend Barb told us, there are no perfect quilts, and fabric is organic. The combination of human limitation and fabric instability will give you many hours of practice at learning this skill. Barb also said to not be afraid to experiment and to try out our new long-arm machine. She said we couldn't break it. (We'll see about that.)
Being somewhat timid, it took me a month to get up the courage to try it. Oh the joy and fascination of watching that incredible machine follow the X & Y axis plots to lay down perfect circles in a string of pearls.
Hundreds of quilts later, I still love to stand and watch it make intricate patterns and create the art that I'm unable to do, being seriously challenged at drawing or painting. Fabric has become my canvas sketch book. My sister-in-law taught me that quilting can be an incredible form of art. If you yearn to create something beautiful, quilting may be for you. Don't be afraid to just jump in and try it.
One of my dreams has been to have a room where I could assemble as many quilters as possible around tables, swapping stories, sharing problem-solving tips, quilting by committee, and picking out patterns and colors. Thanks to my sister, who is lending me two rooms in her house, I have seen that dream come true.
Quilters tend to be very friendly and unselfish in sharing what they know. It's so much fun to get together and share problems and solutions. Don't be afraid to ask veteran quilters what they think of your project and whether they have any suggestions. More often than not, they will be delighted to share with you.
Community quilting is great therapy. It can help with empty nest syndrome, loneliness, loss, boredom, and unrequited creativity. It also fosters a sense of family. Drop by our shop sometime and see for yourself!