Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Life is what happens when you're making other plans.

If you haven't watched Mr. Holland's Opus, you should.  He wants to create a masterpiece, but is always finding himself derailed by something unexpected along the way.  I don't think there's a person alive who hasn't found himself in that same boat at one time or another.  I've always wanted to be a master quilter.  Not just a "quilt maker", but the person who does the drop dead gorgeous quilting, whose sewing machine stitches beauty into every quilt top.  Piecing and Applique are arts in and of themselves; but the quilting makes or breaks the quilt.  I found years ago I lacked the patience to hand quilt, my mind raced so much faster than my fingers could go.  Then I learned to machine quilt, and dreamed of having a long arm machine. But first ....

There was so much to learn, about piecing, which is where I started.  Then someone exposed me to applique, and I vowed never to do any of that ... unless it involved nails and a hot glue gun.  Next I found myself teaching beginning quilt making.  My students were funny, pleasant women, some of them timid, some bold enough to try anything. I found that in order to give them a good foundation, I'd have to learn (gasp) applique.  Margo helped with that, and soon I found myself at the feet of the late Laurene Sinema, for whom applique was a passion. Life changed again, and I found myself remarried, to a man who doesn't particularly like quilts, he'd just as soon have a blanket, thank-you-very-much, so my quilts became gifts to children, and people's pets.  And life changed again.
One of the gals in my block of the month group developed cancer, and almost on her deathbed said she wanted to be my fairy godmother, and give me that first step toward my dream of longarm quilting.  She sent me her tabletop quilt frame, designed for machine quilting.  I couldn't bear to deal with it, so I boxed it up and ignored it.  Until now. And I think "now" is the right time, because now I appreciate the gift for what it was, and am ready to carry out her wish for me.  I'm sure some of my initial efforts will be less than stellar, but they will not be wasted, as they'll go to folks who need the warmth of a quilt.  I doubt I'll ever be one to create a "competition quality" quilt, but I've found that that's not a goal that will keep me warm at night.  Instead, I want my quilts to be loved, used, slept on, slept under, slept with, in short, USED.

And like Mr. Holland, when I've run my race to its end, I want to see that my real "masterpieces" were the quilts that were loved by cherished pets, or by children, or that warmed the hearts of the elders.  What will be your opus?

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