Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Fabric of Life

Quilt Fabric

Step One:  Find Fabric 
Guest Room Where Quilt Will Reside  

I'm off to a good start in 2013 with my goal of making a quilt as a metaphor for life.  Incorporating more patience and seeing life as a step-by-step process has already made me feel more calm and centered.  Ommmmm.

I found a darling quilting shop in the quaint village of Chardon, on the edge of the Amish Country here in Ohio.  Tons of beautiful, colorful prints on thin bolts, lining the walls of the shop, ready to be rolled out by the yard, measured to cut.  Glancing through the hundreds of choices, I was transported back to my childhood when my mother would let me choose a Simplicity pattern out of the huge catalogs and then go to the filing cabinet drawers to find my size.  We'd choose a pretty fabric in my favorite shade and Mom would sew me a cute new summer dress, or a cotton wrap-around skirt, in mini, midi or maxi length or maybe even a Halloween costume (she sewed a pirate costume for me in the fifth grade).  With a simple hemline change, I later re-purposed the knickers for culottes which were all the rage in the early 70's, as were hot pants (even shorter culottes) which I wore with my white go-go boots (my father didn't approve, but Mom somehow explained they were in-style and okay).

I found a basket of discontinued fabrics and end-of-the-bolt fragments--right on top were four designs that were perfect for what I had in mind, for a foot-of-the-bed styled quilt in one of our guest rooms.  Now I just need to come up with a design, so I can begin the cutting and piecing process for the celadon green and salmon pink cotton textiles.  I'm excited to add a pop of color to an otherwise quiet palette in this peaceful room over the garage.

Just visiting the fabric shop took me back to a simpler time.  A time when bridesmaids dresses were always hand-sewn by a favorite aunt and a visit to Grandma's house meant cuddling up on the sofa with a handmade quilt.  I took a sewing class in 7th grade, an easy 'A' since I'd been sewing since I was little, thanks to my mom and grandmother teaching me this timeless skill.  I often made myself clothes when I was in junior high and high school, even bikinis for the beach growing up in California.  When I was expecting my daughter, I spent most of the pregnancy piecing together and sewing a quilt and bumper pad, with a matching valance for the window.  Several friends and relatives made small blankets and quilts to add to the nursery.  It was a nice way to prepare and stay calm for my first baby.  I still love looking at photos of my sweet little girl playing on a quilt spread out on the living room floor or outside at a grassy park or under an umbrella on the beach in Newport.  Sewing was once a wonderful part of my life, a way to customize a room or create a favorite-color creation for a friend or loved one.  

I hope I remember how to make that first stitch...I just need to find my thimble.

My Life on the Lane is all about pinking shears, thread and measuring tapes for new projects made the old-fashioned way...with love and patience.       

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