I learned to sew when I was young. My mother is an amazing seamstress and excels at complicated patterns and tailoring. She made all the clothes for our family and I spent many afternoons on the floor of her closet watching her sew.
The first item I sewed was a beanbag toy shaped like a turtle. I moved on to sewing doll clothes and then my own. I continued making my own clothes whenever I could steal time on mom’s machine or during the summer when I visited the grandparents. Unfortunately by the time I inherited my grandmother’s machine, I was well entrenched in a career that required long hours and travel and left no time for creative pursuits.
Decades later, my mother-in-law showed me quilt after beautiful quilt to entice me to learn her craft. There were traditional log cabin quilts, hand appliqued marvels and quilts with dizzying piecing of colorful half square triangles. Her passion and skill were so evident, it was hard not to succumb. My love of sewing overwhelmed my lack of desire and I plunged into quilting head first.
From this I learned: if you want to make someone a quilter, show them your quilts. I also learned I love piecing! What I realized quickly after, however, is that I don’t like repetition.
My mother-in-law gave me a traditional round and round kit for my birthday that year and I barely completed half the blocks. I just couldn’t bring myself to continue doing the same thing over and over again. As a result, I erroneously equated tradition with boredom.
On one hand, I’m thankful, because disdain for tradition led me to discover art quilting. And yet, I have this lingering sense of loss. I have never made a log cabin quilt! I have never hand quilted or hand appliqued anything. Embroidery scares me. I have never attempted those very things from Anna’s quilts that stunned and captivated me in the beginning.
Thank goodness for the grace of aging! I’m more mature now and I welcome the opportunity to explore the unknown. What is old, is new to me. Thank you Misik for a chance to reflect and to reclaim the roots of this splendid art form.