Monday, March 14, 2011

Deja Ventures Into Quilting

Remember the friend who made the miraculous quilt? She's teaching me to quilt, too.  I thought I was just going to learn to use the sewing machine I got for Christmas, that maybe we'd make a skirt or something equally simple, but when we got to fabric store, E had a plan.  "A quilt," she said, "is the best way to learn to sew. All straight lines."  And so we picked out fabric, went back to my house, and while the husbands played guitars and talked about music, and sweet potatoes roasted in the oven, we cut out little squares and spread them out according to a chart that E drew up in about ten seconds.  This is what it looked like, spread out (with cat).

(This is the thing about cats: they seem to get quilts.  When you even suggest you might make one, they know we're dealing with a potential blanket right off, and commence utilizing it.)

I found something fascinating once I got the hang of putting those rows together and pressing my foot on the pedal: I couldn't stop.  I turned on a trashy movie (read: romantic comedy) and kept going long after Sam had gone to bed.  In the morning, I only wanted to get back to quilt time.  And within an easy 24 hours (with its share of distractions) I had finished the top.  We went back early in the week to get the border and back, and by week's end, I was done. 

I don't know what it is about quilting, and we'll see how future projects go (a quilt for Sam is nigh unto done), but I think I'm in love.  I love the purr of the machine, the press of the pedal.  I love that I feel like I'm improving something, making something, being homemake-y even, creating beauty, and I don't have to clear space in my brain for it like I do when I'm trying to write.  I have something at the end of the day that isn't undone, that lasts, that I can use for heaven's sake. 

And another thing I like, maybe what I like most about quilting: my quilt was full of mistakes, full full full of them.  My squares weren't perfect squares, my seams weren't perfect seams, there were folds where there shouldn't be folds, my attempt at binding was sort of a joke, and I once sewed an entire row to the wrong side of the next row.  I panicked about this at first, fretted and (I think) even apologized out of habit (I'm a chronic apologizer).  E stopped me, said, "Deja, listen, this thing, this sewing thing?  It's not the sort of activity you have to be perfect at.  Fabric is forgiving.  Your quilt will be beautiful, you'll see." 

[the finished product]
[the soft back]
 
If you'll forgive me for saying so, I think she was right. It turned out more beautifully than I could have dreamed. I take no real credit for it. Remember, I made all of the mistakes, and E was an insanely good teacher who walked me through every step. But I'm grateful to have something like this exist, something so full of mistakes, and yet beautiful. I'm thinking, I'm thinking that a quilt is a hopeful thing.

13 comments:

eden said...

so pretty! good job. my mom and faith are both great quilters and sewers. caitlin sews too, and bethany has as well. though maybe not as much.

notice how i didn't mention myself? (: i got a sewing machine for Christmas five years ago and have used it once. i have plans to change that. sometime...

Genevieve Beck said...

Love it! That is awesome you made the leap! If I ever start getting homemake-y with a sewing machine, I would love to start with quilts too now that I know they're the best way to learn.

By the way, also loved your Valentine's Day entry. I can only imagine how awesome that must have been for Sam. No one connects great literature quotes to people like you do!

David and Melanie said...

You're amazing! I also decided I like the mistakes my quilts contain. It makes it real and reminds me its not perfect but its still lovely, like each one of us! Love ya and I'm so glad you've found the joy of sewing :)

belann said...

I guess you just reinforce my thought that the sewing gene skipped my generation. Looks wonderful!

Amara said...

I can't sleep. I keep worrying about something that happened yesterday. This was just what I needed. Thank you. It really is beautiful --- the post and the quilt.

Jamie said...

Very pretty. It makes me want to make a quilt, too.

Launie said...

Look at you! That looks really great, good job you! I have been bit by the quilt bug as well this year. Currently working on my 6th, and can't really post any pics on my blog because they are all baby gifts for assorted moms-to-be.

Michael and Stephanie said...

Beautiful. I love it. I agree sewing is awesome because you get the end result so quickly...it's just so satisfying.

Emily said...

I love how you take everyday things and find such great meaning in them. The quilt is beautiful.

Terry Earley said...

Sewing -poetry. Art for art's sake. They are all related.

Beautiful.

kathy w. said...

A quilt is indeed the best way to learn. And I love that it's such a substantial project that once you're done, you feel like you've really done something. The something you've done is quite lovely.

Bryson and Tara said...

That looks beautiful, Deja! I have never gotten into quilting (or anything remotely crafty), nor do I intend to...but I'm very impressed by people who do. Good for you!

Fritzi Marie said...

Deja,
You are so very talented. I imagine that you will be a pro at quilting before long. OH, the dreamy quilts you will make. I recently bought a book about how to take old quotes and stitch poems and quotes on them. How lovely would that be. A vintage quilt with a Deja poem stitched into it. By the way, to celebrate National Poetry Month my friend Lindsey and I are having a fabulous giveaway. Would you please enter and tell your friends about it? I can't wait to see what poem you pick and what your photograph looks like. I adore you.
love,
Fritzi