Over the few days in the car prior to the Trunk Show thoughts of what I’d say flew through my mind and often out of my mouth. Yes, I was practicing what I’d say. While there is a great delight in sharing the stories of the quilts, there is some stress about doing so. I wanted just the right words, but of course for the Trunk Show I wing it, and it’s never the same twice as the quilts all have more than one story.
I spent Tuesday morning gathering, and ironing some of the quilts. As I touched them memories filled my mind and heart. I can see Matt Smith as Dr. Who saying to Madge Arwell in The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe something along the lines that she’s a bit snippy with the kids because she’s remembering how sad the kids are going to be when they learn that their dad has passed away as his plane went down just days before Christmas. Memory is a powerful thing. In this episode Madge saves the trees, and brings her husband home. As it’s Christmas she also sends Dr. Who off to his family, his best friends and in-laws who he misses desperately.
When Alex and Jinny met in NY, Beauty Happened holds memories of learning to paper piece, figuring out what works for me, and making the same mistake over, and over, and over again. As I thought about this quilt I realized that while I’d paper pieced the NY beauty blocks the rest of the quilt is improv piecing, a unique, one-off design.
Then there’s Moon Over Manhattan that started on chartreuse and decided that it’s going to be something else earning the alt title of “Little Miss Sassy Pants” along the way. After the talk was over the other night a quilter asked how I planned the quilting. The honest answer is as a general rule I don’t plan the quilting. I used to call this short attention span quilting and now think of this as living in the moment quilting. I can see how the quilting on “When Alex and Jinny” led to what I do now. The other night that thread ran right through my mind and heart. While ironing this quilt I can see how things changed as I went along, I can see the major focus shift from piecer to machine quilter. I change motifs, thread color and weight as I go along because of the feel and texture.
One of the more hilarious quilting memories is getting so into quilting one day that the thread uptake lever hit me in the head because I was leaning in too close to the machine while stitching.
Twilight in the Bronx is a celebration of turning forty. In every single stitch and a reminder that the thing that we’re going to do in our life often takes a lot of time to figure out. That ripping out stitches and starting over is a good thing. I’m honored to be a quilter, grateful for finding that thing and letting quilting take me here where I’m working as a sales rep and writing a book.
The sense of memory was so strong the other day the thing that I’d been practicing for days went right out the window. I’d been thinking of things like, “we need reminders, not new teaching” and a story that one of my favorite teacher friends tells about having her kindergarten kids bring their chairs to the music room. She showed them how, telling them they can do it, then had them pick up the chairs and walk to the music room. We can all quilt in the ways we want to, for us as adults we get the added benefit of wandering through the fear of “what will other people think of me” when they see all the mitstakes I make. When I’m teaching and sharing the stories of the quilts I will point out things, the imperfections, things I wish I’d done differently.
What memories do your quilts hold for you?