Monday, July 04, 2005

All of This, Just to leave Melody a message!

Hello, My name is Teri. I live in Lorain, Ohio about 1/2 mile South of Lake Erie, west of Cleveland. I guess I will start my blog with the reason I quilt.

My Grandmother Reed taught me to stitch my first block. It was a lavender and white Nine Patch. It was made out of feedsack cloth. Under her direction, I went on to make a lavender and white Churndash quilt. My grandmother’s mother, my Great Grandmother Gibson, died when I was five, but some of the few vivid memories I have of my childhood come from my trips to visit her and my Great Grandfather. They lived far up in the mountains in West Virginia on a road called Straight Run, in a place called Vadis. I remember the dirt road, the big outhouse, the cool spring house that smelled like apples. But my fondest memory is of big quilting frame that would be lowered from the ceiling when all of the women had finished cleaning up from our big lunch. There was always lots of talking and laughter. My mother would participate, but, she was never a quilter. She preferred sewing garments. I have always done some kind of handwork. Even before I made that Nine Patch I did cross stitch or embroidery on fabric stamped with a blue patterns. But without the steady influence of quilting during my teen years, I didn’t have the urge to do it. I taught myself to knit and crochet, and I made many of my own clothes. In my early twenties, I felt the call of quilting. I did a few things, but not until I was expecting my first child did I really start quilting again. I even joined the guild back in the early to mid 80’s, but with 3 small children and a husband that worked evenings, my fun with the guild didn’t last long. I still continued with all of my other crafts, painting in oils and acrylics, smocking and heirloom garment sewing, cross-stitch, woodcarving. I actually have my own scroll saw that I used in my woodworking phase. Then around 10 years ago, I got really intent with quilting. I had consciously decided that I needed to pick one thing and devote my life to it. Quilting was what I chose. I went along making quilts from patterns, buying every book I could lay my hands on. Four years ago, after my brush with death from a heart infection, I couldn’t remember how to quilt. I would look at a pattern, and it was like looking at a language I did not know. I could not figure out how to do the simplest thing. This lasted a little over one frustrating month. Then it was like God switched on a light in my head, and flooded it with ideas. I started making the first quilt of my new life. It was my New York Beauty that I called Out of the Darkness into God’s Light. It is the only difficult quilt that I have made in less than 2 weeks. I have always said about this quilt that God inspired me and drove me to make it. On the label is a Psalm that says “You, O’ Lord keep my lamp burning; My God turns my darkness into Light.” The quilt will always mean more to me than any quilt I will ever make.
Since then I have become better at my craft, my obsession. Many times it is the last thing I think of when I am falling asleep, and the first thing I think of when I awake in the morning. In my busy rushed life, quilting calms me. There is nothing like going into a fabric store even if I am just browsing…nothing like looking at a quilt magazine as if I have all the time in the world. Nothing like cutting the fabric…the hum of the sewing machine… or watching my stitches as I am hand quilting pulling that needle and thread through the fabric. The soft feel of the fabric as I am working on it. I love the idea that I am making something that will last, even if only for a few years. I love the way I can make something original. I can manipulate the colors, the design. I can make a mistake and say, “That is what I planned to do.” If I want, I can say I’m a Fiber Artist, or a Quilter, or a Quiltmaker, whichever I prefer at the time. I can make something small or something large, a work of art or a utility quilt. Anything my heart desires. I can play with fabrics and thread; I have no boss looking over my shoulder. I can go into a fabric store or a book store, or a library and if another quilter is there, I can have a conversation as if we were old friends.
I have quilted during times of joy and times of sorrow, sometimes with tears in my eyes. It is my peace and my comfort. It is one of my joys in life. It completes me.
One of my favorite bible verses is Ecclesiastes 9:10 – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” That’s what quilting is to me, something I can do with all of my might. Why do I quilt? Because I can. And I am sure glad of that.

No comments: