I Quilt for Love or, I Love to Quilt!

I’ve been quilting since 1998. It all started when my sister dragged me to this class at a quilt shop in Buford (GA), because she didn’t want to go by herself. I must admit I wasn’t too keen on it, mainly because I didn’t know the first thing about sewing, didn’t have a decent sewing machine (I had one from pre-historic times, and it showed!), didn’t own a single piece of fabric–and didn’t want to spend the money on stuff that I KNEW I wouldn’t have any use for in the future–nor did I feel I had the wherewithal to sit down and CREATE something (myself being not much of a creative type).

Little did I know, however, that by that single act of sisterly solidarity, my life would change in so many wonderful ways. All it took was that one class, that one Saturday morning, for the quilting bug to sting me with the vengeance of a tropical disease carrier. I was hooked! Not only was I hooked with the quilting process, but I’ve since become a fabric-a-holic (a common “side effect”).

I love fabric!

Suddenly I found myself loving, longing for, and swooning over beautiful cottons, wools, batiks, flannels, etc. I so love my fabric “stash” (a term very well known and frequently used by fellow quilterFabrics), that I have quite a hard time, (a) parting with some of my favorite pieces, and (b) cutting it up to use in a project.  It’s a sickness I tell you. It used to be that I couldn’t pass a shoe store without buying something; now I absolutely CANNOT pass a fabric store without buying yet MORE fabric. I buy fabric not because I have a project in mind; I buy it because I like it; it beckons me; it winks at me from its corner in the display rack. I am powerless to resist it. I used to say to myself –and to others–that I needed this or that piece of fabric for a project; now however, I have abandoned every pretense of practicality, and I can honestly say that I buy fabric for its sake only; whether or not I’ll ever use it in a project is totally irrelevant. I suspect that someday, when the day is done and I’m summoned to the Big Fabric Store in the Sky, my passage through this life will be measured not by the amount of things I accomplished, but by how many yards of absolutely gorgeous fabric I’ve left behind. People will be scratching their heads.

I love quilting!

I have spent many hours working on quilts, hours which otherwise would probably have been wasted. I have also learned much through quilting. I’ve learned patience, method, color and design.

9/11 Quilt

9/11 United in Memory Quilt Project

Quilting is an art form, it’s a craft, it’s practical, it’s lucrative, it’s creative, it’s FUN. It’s also therapeutic; it is healing. It is also social. I have met wonderful friends thanks to quilting. Quilting can be generous; how many times have you seen fund-raising campaigns tied to quilting? There are raffles with proceeds going to a specific cause, there are quilts put together to commemorate a special event (September 11th, or the AIDS quilts come to mind); there are quilts made to warm victims of accidents, or illness; and then there are quilts one makes just to say “I love you.” A small group of ladies from my former quilt guild (Cotton Boll, in Covington, GA), got together one day and decided we wanted to make a difference with our quilts. Thus Healing Hugs was born; this is a group that meets once a month at a local church in Covington to… you guessed it: quilt! We quilt for charity. All quilts created thus are given away to cancer victims. So far we’ve donated close to 100 quilts to these patients, male and female, young and old, with the hopes of bringing some comfort to them: healing hugs.

I cannot say enough about the actual process of quilting. I love all phases of it: (a) Selecting a design, (b) selecting the fabric (one of my faves), (c) cutting the fabric cut, (d) piecing the top (sewing the little pieces together to come up with the design), (e) adding the border(s), (f) putting the “sandwich” together (top, batting, and backing–my least fave part of the process), (g) actually “quilting” the sandwich (sewing through all three layers in some form or design), (h) binding it (sewing a strip all around the quilt to finish it), and (j) attaching a label, which usually contains the name of the quilter, date, sometimes the technique(s) used, or the occasion it was made for, etc.–a most important part of the process, because one can only hope that the quilt that we’ve so lovingly put together will outlast us for many years and through several generations, for which a proper label will be much appreciated if someone way out into the future is trying to find out the provenance of your once humble quilt.label

And did I mention quilting can be therapeutic? The whole process is so intense, and so elaborate, that one cannot think about anything else while working on a project; your mind is totally concentrated on every single detail that makes up the project, leaving no room “upstairs” to think about anything else. Gone are the stressors, the worries, the preoccupations, the negative thoughts, etc. What better therapy than that? Seriously, between paying $150 an hour for counseling, I’d much rather be quilting. Try it, you’ll like it!

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2 thoughts on “I Quilt for Love or, I Love to Quilt!

  1. I agree with everything you said. I have a very stressful job and in the evenings when I find myself surrounded by my 300+ yards of fabric looking through potential designs an incredible calm just flows through me, I sigh out my stress and can be lost for hours in a fabric enduced bliss.

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