Quilts For Keeps

My last post was about the scratchy desire to start letting go of my quilts.  And it hasn’t stopped itching.

I have a friend who makes quilts and gives them away like flowers cut from her garden.  I could give the flowers, but I didn’t make the flowers.  Fabric is expensive.  And quilts take time to make.  (These are the excuses running through my brain.)  Although, I will say, and not with criticism, that my friend makes beautiful quilts, but they are pretty simple designs, so she can throw one together in a day and send it off to her friend with a longarm quilting machine, and voila, quilt number 332 for her friend’s friend’s new grandchild!  I admire her for being so free with her creativity.

When I make quilts, I put my love into them.  I caress the fabric with my fingers and my heart.  I treasure the time i spend making them, and I try not to get too goal oriented.  I have a day job, so the time I get to spend time in my quilting studio is limited and treasured!  And quite honestly, there is nothing else I would rather do.

I have been working on a couple of quilts – one is a copy cat of Maureen Cracknell’s Diamond Strings, a quilt as you go quilt, that I am having lots of fun putting together, because it is a new technique for me.  It is colorful and scrappy, which I love, and it is the kind of pattern that reveals a wonderful transformation.

The other piece I am working on is one of those projects that you throw a block together here, and one there, and then suddenly you have a stack of blocks.  It’s made with the Courthouse Steps pattern (I work in a courthouse), and the center of each block is a four inch fussy cut block with different pictures.  I had originally started making these blocks when I wanted to make a quilt, but didn’t want to buy new fabric, so I had cut a bunch of one and a half inch strips from fabrics in my stash.

After I constructed the body using these blocks, my daughter saw it hanging on my design wall.  She oohed and ahhed a bit, then commented, “It’s like the story of your life.”  I liked that, and so, it is named, The Story of My Life.  I’m in the midst of hand quilting it using number 8 Perle cotton of different colors to “big stitch” it.  It’s a great project for working on while watching (listening to) television.  The texture and the transformation is amazing, and it thrills me to watch it coming to life.

Anyway, as I have been working on these two projects, I started pondering what I am going to do with these quilts when they are finished.  I usually have a destination in mind – this bed or that person.  But these two projects I started just for fun, just for something to do with my scraps and something to do with my creativity.  They have both been experiments in different techniques than I am accustomed to using.

I started thinking about possibly selling them.  As these ponderings meandered through my head, panic was drumming in my heart.  How could I part with The Story of My Life?  How much money would it take to say good-bye forever to this quilt that obviously depicts where I have been and how far I have come?  So, okay, I decided I wouldn’t sell it.  I’d sell the Diamond String quilt instead.

It’s funny the thoughts that come into your brain when you embark on the unknown.  There’s a lot of voices in there, each with an amazingly, convincing argument!

I talked to my guru about my emotional struggle.  To sum it up, he helped me realize that I am putting my love into the quilt, and therefore, I don’t want to part with it, but it’s really about the journey – not the end result.  Right?  (We really went a lot deeper than this, but I am trying to sum it up.)  So I am to love the journey with the knowing that the love that I have put into the quilt can go and be with another person.  And that feels really good, because I think there’s a lot of people that need love.  (Which is usually followed in my head by – but people who don’t know how to love or be loved might not appreciate the love in that quilt….)

Today I was reading one of the blogs that came in on my Bloglovin’ feed, and this woman, Lee of Freshly Pieced, was writing about making quilts, etc.  Here’s the link, in case you want to read it:  http://frame.bloglovin.com/?post=4437885236&blog=4408357

Lee was talking about how long it had been since she had made a quilt to just keep.  A quilt for her family to use and love.  She expressed how important that was to her, but how her work designing quilts and book writing had taken precedence.  As I read her thoughts, I realized that I want to keep my quilts for my family to love and use, but most importantly, I realized that it is the use that is not happening.

Lee also referred to her friend,  Amy Gibson’s new book, For Keeps: Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living.   I wouldn’t mind buying this book, and in fact, I think I might just get on Amazon and order it.  (Lee has a book, as well, that my sister, Carol, bought for my birthday – Vintage Quilt Revival – and I would recommend it!  Love, love, love it!!! )  Here’s a link to the book:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1620330547/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1620330547&linkCode=as2&tag=frespiec-20

Anyway, I am feeling better about keeping my quilts.  I can part with them if I want, but if I don’t want to, I can pile them in the corner of my living room to share with the people that I love.  So tonight, I am going to gather them up from their safe keeping in the far reaches of the spare bedroom, and find a place for them in my living room.  I may even have my brother, Dewayne, of Three Trees Woodworking, make me a cabinet to house them.


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