After decades of making all her children’s clothes, even the prom dresses and jeans, and doing other handwork – knitting, embroidery, cross-stitch, needlework, etc. – my mom starting quilting after I, the youngest, left home. I wasn’t surprised, when she, a detail-oriented woman and continual student, became quite proficient. Actually, an expert in every eye but her own. Her appliquéd quilts are works of art.
My two older sisters began quilting also. Although I, like them, had received a sewing machine on my twenty-first birthday, (did I mention sewing was big in our family?) I was at a different stage in life and the machine stayed buried in my closet.
By the time I got around to sewing, it was to make little girl dresses and Halloween outfits. By the time I got around to thinking about using the sewing machine for quilting, everyone in my family was a master.
And I was intimidated.
But I yearned to quilt. Not only because the rest of my family did it, but also because I think quilts are amazing. They bring joy in selecting the pattern and for me, particularly the materials, in creating the quilt piece by piece, and in using the final product. But I didn’t know about the joy at the time. All I knew was that I was too afraid to start because it wouldn’t be even close to the level of what my family could do. I was even too timid to cut the fabric because cutting a straight line seemed beyond me.
Enter my niece, who was visiting. She, also a quilter (see, it runs in the family), had a goal of buying fabric from every state. So we went looking for a local quilt shop and found a delightful one. The timing was great, because I was just beginning work on a story based in a quilt shop. (I’ve been in a lot of fabric shops with my family.)
Enter my husband, who with an engineering background, is very detail oriented. Very capable of cutting straight lines. And wonderfully willing to help me. We started a collaboration, using simple patterns, and lo and behold, they turned out! At least turned out enough that we gave all three of our daughters quilts for Christmas that year.
Our skill set is slowly growing. At least mine is, he’s always been good at his part of the arrangement. And though my quilts aren’t on the caliber of others in my family, and probably never will be, it’s okay. I’m just so glad I got beyond my intimidation to do something that I’ve really been enjoying.
Is there something out there that you’d like to try but are intimidated for whatever reasons? I hope you try it. It may not be all you think it is, and that’s okay. You may not be as good as others you know who are doing it – remember, they were once trying it for the first time as well – and that’s okay too. But it may be something that turns out to be an enjoyable part of your life. And that’s wonderful.