Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A Quilter's Welcome

Ten years I waited to join a quilting guild. The problem: I worked full time and the group met on a weekday. Suddenly I was retired.  After some inquiries I learned that guilds have a membership limit. Would there be a place for me? Were there requirements for membership like ability or experience?

I left a message for the guild president and waited for a call.  I had no idea what to expect and was a little apprehensive about joining a group activity. I can be a bit of a loner.

Within a day Llynda called me. Llynda represented the guild's Welcome Wagon. That sounded like good news!!!

My instructions: Bring two sandwiches and four squares to share at lunchtime, project fabric: two prints 5x7 and 2 plains of the same size, matching thread, a sewing kit, fusible interfacing (oh no, I don't have that. No worries, they like to share).

The big day arrived. I was warmly welcomed, helped out with setting up tables and chairs, and was invited to join a couple of longtime members one of whom promptly offered me a prepared project kit with interfacing!

A sister guild from a nearby region was visiting for the day so I got to meet twice as many regional quilters and enjoy their "show and tell".

What surprised me:

Most of the quilts the quilters shared were hand quilted. Some of them entirely hand sewn! No shortcuts for these ladies!

What I learned:

I am not alone, so many share my passion for quilting!
I am not an expert. I have lots to learn
I am not a good hand sewer. I'll have fun practising.
I love meeting new quilters
With the help of these new friends I will improve.

How about you? Have you joined a group lately? I'd love to hear about your experience.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tears and Frayed Edges

Spent some time this week repairing the first quilt I ever made. It was a Trip Around the World pattern and it wasn't perfect but I was hooked. I tried several different techniques with varying degrees of success but at least I finished it (unlike some later startups)

I made the quilt for my pre-teen daughter and wondered if she would like something so old fashioned. No need to worry, she loved that quilt and has made great use of it in the last 14 years even dragging it along on vacations. It even got stained with ink when she snuggled and wrote stories about princesses, high school book reports and college essays.

 When she left the nest it went along with her from one apartment to another. Finally it spent a year in storage and when it was delivered to its newest home we realized it needed some TLC. Open seams and ragged edges were apparent and all the ties had disappeared over the years.

So I repaired the torn seams, added a few new ties and bound the quilt with a completely new binding to hold it all together. I did my best to breathe a few more years of usefulness into it.

Repairing that quilt made me realize that quilts are made to be enjoyed. Those rare quilts that have survived several centuries are beautiful but they survived because they were hidden away and not subjected to daily wear and tear. Life is like that as well. To be enjoyed and well used. When tears or frayed edges appear and need mending help is always nearby. Wise friends and family who have already bound their frayed edges and mended their tears have the necessary tools and have developed techniques for dealing with life's surprises, good ones and bad.
Back with its rightful owner, the quilt isn't pristine but it is functional and useful. This quilt will be prized once again and give comfort to my little girl and perhaps to a new generation of snugglers.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Retirement - where'd my time go?

A new desk and some cabinets from Ikea, some assembly required! Quilting workshop is a Tetris puzzle. Every time I move a piece of furniture another one is in the way! Now off to son's house, sewing machine in tow for a day of curtain making. Haven't quilted yet! Lots of time for that later.

Retirement Day 1

Day 1: April 1st Is this a cruel April Fool's Day joke? It can't be. All the papers are signed, farewell parties attended, gifts and good wishes accepted. What nice friends and family I have!

 Sewing room is ready to go (note nice new chair: retirement gift)