Ode to the Time-Consuming Project

The average sewist is looking for a project that can be completed in 3 hours or less–a weekend afternoon, an evening.  It’s not a function of laziness or lack of commitment.  It’s lack of time.  It’s lack of time coupled with a need for instant gratification.  There’s no doubt, we’re a society that wants to accomplish and create wonderful, beautiful things.  We just want to do it in the sliver of time that’s free on our calendar.

So I started thinking about the types of things that CANNOT be accomplished in 3 hours:

–We cannot grow a healthy baby (or child, for that matter) in 3 hours.

–We cannot grow a garden in 3 hours.

–We cannot learn and become proficient at a musical instrument in 3 hours.

–We cannot become experts at embroidery software in 3 hours.

–We cannot get over a 24 hour stomach virus in 3 hours.

–We cannot grow up in 3 hours.

–And finally, we cannot complete a decent quilt in 3 hours.

And that’s OK.  It’s OK because there are plenty of things we CAN do in 3 hours (cook a meal, paint a picture, meet with friends, spend time with our children, get a jump on the laundry.  Nah, let’s not get into laundry.  Let ‘s not get into cleaning our houses and the guilt that piles on us.  That’s a whole other blog post.)

Back to quilting.

After Hurricane Sandy, I heard about a number of east coast quilt shops who began collecting clean, new quilts to distribute to those who had lost everything.

I resolved to make a quilt.  No problem, I thought.  I’ll dip into my stash of lovely fabrics, I’ll whip up something simple and send it out.

Right.

I spent at least an hour or two sifting through various fabrics, finding fabrics that complemented one another.  Do these go together?  Do I have enough of that? What will I do for backing?  Will this pattern work?  Am I short some of that color?  Many of you are quilters.  You know the process:  the cutting, organizing, piecing, pressing.

The funny thing is, I never once stopped to think, “Gee, this is taking a long time.”  I’d begin in the evening after work, continue on days off, after grocery shopping. I’d pick up again on a Sunday afternoon, an hour or two before bed.

For a few days, the pieced front was spread out on our bedroom floor.  My husband obligingly stepped around it on the way to the bathroom, while I decided how to piece the back (I ran low on one fabric).  The quilt then moved to our front hallway, the only space large enough to lay it out and create the quilt sandwich and pin baste it.   Again, my family dutifully stepped around it while I was working.

Like reading a book, the process of quilting is something we squeeze into those moments when we’re not overloaded with something else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If every time I started a project, I thought long and hard about the hours I would be required to devote to it, I would never start a thing.  But the beauty of a quilt is that the process itself is relaxing, often repetitive.  And, as rewarding as instant gratification may be, there’s a calm peacefulness to slow and steady progress.  A finished quilt represents a season.  Yet, as each step of progress was made, I thought about where this quilt was going.  I thought about the people affected by the hurricane and I thought about how maybe this quilt could bring some comfort.  Maybe. It’s a bit like prayer.

And 3 hours just isn’t enough time to pray for the world.

 

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

I’m sending some snowflakes to CT.

The PTA there is collecting them in order to decorate the new school for the kids when they return after the holidays. This much I can do.  I can send snowflakes.

And while I will be advocating for many other things after this event–mainly gun control, mental health awareness and the toning down of a culture of violence–the main thing I can do RIGHT NOW happens to be something I would gladly do any day.

And so I will make snowflakes.  Big ones, small ones, doesn’t matter.  And if you would like to contribute, you can make some too.

Here’s the address:

Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT  06514

And here’s the website for more information:

http://www.ctpta.org/SANDY-HOOK-FUND.html

 

The Anti-Nightmare Blanket and Other Tales

Once upon a time a little boy was 3 years old when his grandfather died.  He didn’t understand much at the time, but he knew something sad had occurred.  Not much later, a friend of his family’s passed away.  By that time the little boy was 4 years old and was just beginning to understand the enormity of the loss.  He thought about it and thought about it, and one night he woke up crying.  “Mommy, mommy, I had a nightmare.  It was so scary.”  He told her he dreamt about people dying and about things chasing him. And the mom listened.

Even though she was not sure what to do,  she spent a long time talking with her little boy.  Then, together, they went to a big chain store and bought a cheesy, gaudy  fleece blanket kit, which the little boy picked out.  He sat on her lap while she sewed it together, and they continued to talk about life and death and cookies and puppies and Christmas and games and grandparents and birds in the backyard.  All the while, he watched her sew the blanket stitch by stitch. Then, together, they signed it using thread.

When night came, she tucked the little boy into bed and surrounded him with the blanket. “This is your anti-nightmare blanket. When you sleep under this blanket, you will not have any nightmares, only sweet dreams.”  And from that day forward, he did not have another nightmare. Well, at least no more than you or I ever have.

The End.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Once upon a time an elderly woman walked into a sewing store.  She looked around a bit, and started a conversation with the salesperson. “Sewing saved my life, you know,” she began.  “When I was young I was home alone very often with 4 young children.  I thought I would go crazy, I really did.  Instead, I sewed.  It saved my sanity. It saved my life.  It gave me a reason to carry on.”  The sales person listened.

“I’m 80 years old now.  My children are all grown with lives of their own.  And sewing is still giving me meaning.  When you’re 80 years old, you wonder if there’s anything you can do, when your abilities are limited.  But there is something I can do.  I can sew.  I can sew quilts for kids in the cancer wards.  I can sew for homeless shelters and for maternity wards.  I can sew.”  She smiled.

The End.

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Once upon another time another woman walked into  a sewing store.  After shopping for a bit she began to speak to the sales person.  “I thought last year was rough, what with my surgery and all.  But it didn’t compare to this year. ”  And the sales person listened.

“Three weeks ago, I buried my 40 year old daughter.  She died of breast cancer, and it was a long struggle.  She left behind a husband and 3 children.”

The sales person, heart breaking, wished she had an anti-nightmare blanket for the woman.

We all need one sooner or later.

If your sewing needs meaning, here’s a place to start

Who will make the anti-nightmare blankets if we don’t make them for one another?

The End.