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Have you ever been reading such a good book that you deliberately would read only a page or two because you just didn’t want it to end?  I think that subconsciously I did that with this quilt.  I loved pulling it out and laying the blocks together.  I would shuffle them like cards trying to decide how to put them together.  I love how the fabric feels in my hands.  Now because I did not finish the class, I never got the instructions for how to put all of the blocks together.  So, while I had all of the block patterns, I hadn’t a clue what to do with them.  My education was incomplete and I was afraid of ruining the blocks.  So they waited and waited while I quilted other quilts for family and friends; took classes, honed my skills, and became comfortable in my own ability to be free and quilt for me and me alone. 

Three years ago a wonderful thing happened to me.  I was among the thousands of Simply Quilts and Alex Anderson fans.  Alex always had interesting guests on her show, but while I enjoyed watching it, I never felt like I learned enough to actually try some of the techniques the guests demonstrated.  And as much as I would love to travel and attend live classes from these terrific quilters/artists, it was just not to be.  Then in 2007, Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims started an online quilting Mecca called The Quilt Show.  I joined before there were any classes simply because I believed in Alex Anderson.  After I joined, I learned more about the co-creator, Ricky Tims.  He has an amazing gift and he artistically shows the most incredible quilts.  Ricky also is very generous in his knowledge, which I truly appreciate.  Since 2007, I have been blown away by the talented individuals that they have brought to TQS and the honest sharing that Alex and Ricky give each and every day and show.  Last year was the first time ever that I quit worrying about a pattern and begun designing my own quilts.   I believe this is a direct result from having exposure to all these ‘greats’ of the quilt world.  I can’t begin to tell you how freeing this has been for me.  I can now step outside my box and no longer do I feel the need to have to have a pattern to follow.  Talk about releasing enormous amounts of creativity!  I’ve become more fearless and think my newer quilts are reflecting my growth and new attitude. 

During this same time, I was fortunate to attend a Janet Fogg class.  She is an incredible artist and quilter.  Janet lives in Oregon and I was so excited to learn that she offered classes in her studio.  Her one-day class taught me the basics of taking a picture and creating a quilt around the picture.  She also taught how to incorporate traditional blocks into the art quilt.  Another freeing moment and more freedom released to quilt in unexpected ways.  Her class directly influenced my ‘The Lady’ quilt. 

I attribute pulling out my PTTD quilt, hand piecing the final block, and designing the rest of the quilt to fit my blocks with where I am now in my life.  In a way, this quilt is my life.  Piece by piece it reflects not only where I was in my quilting journey but also in my life journey.  I smile when I look at the butterfly block because not only was I a brand new quilter, I was also brand new in my faith when I began this block.  The circles in the wings are not smooth and perfect and neither was I.  God was just beginning to mold me and teach me.  I’m still not a perfect circle, but through His grace and love, my edges are smoother.   There’s much joy in those blocks and equally there’s much sadness.  Life isn’t always perfect nor is this quilt.

Now that the top is done, I have a hard decision to make.  Should I attempt to free motion the top myself, which I’m really new at; hand quilt it, which will take me at least 6 months; or give my quilt to a longarm expert and have him or her add a new dimension to it.  It turned out to be a nice, big quilt which will keep us warm both in heat and memories.

As I sit here typing this and admiring the top, I can’t help but think of other people just starting their journey and hoping that they have as wonderful a time as I have had living their life and quilting. 

Thank you to all of the selfless teachers I’ve met during my journey.  Without your sharing of your talents, the world would definately be a less colorful and joyful place.

Introducing my complete top of Piecing through the Decades (1987 – 2010).

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And Dillan’s approval, of course.  :)

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