In my little corner of the world, UFO stands for “UnFinished Objects”. I am talking about quilts here, people.
I am once again, taking a break from hand quilting this morning. I have to walk away to have a coffee break. I am very, very close to finishing a queen size cream colored quilt, that I can not, repeat can not take a chance of drinking coffee near.
Eighteen, yes 18 years ago, I started a queen sized whole cloth quilt. That is where there is just one piece of fabric printed with the pattern on the top to be hand quilted. Hand quilted, I might add, in the exact same colored thread as the fabric. I started it the month we moved to Germany.
Our boys were beginning to go to public school. I thought I would have tons of time on my hands and would certainly finish it in no time.
Life got in the middle. I can easily tell, that life does indeed get in the way. You see, you cannot wash the quilt until it is finished or you will wash away the pattern. So I find a cat hair now and then…that was two cats ago that are now living in heaven. I find black dog hair. Our sweet dog Quincy who also lives on in heaven. Of course golden hair from our current companion, Sweet Liberty. I have had it in a quilting frame in the middle of different living rooms, bedrooms, sewing rooms. I most often use a lap hoop and have taken it to Mr. Right’s office while he works on weekends. I have schleped it to people’s homes, in cars, vans. I have used great lighting, poor lighting, sat in front of windows and even looked out airport windows (back in the day when you could take a tiny needle and tiny scissors on a plane). I have listened to music on the radio, to cassette tapes and onto CD’s, heck I have even quilted while listening to my ipod. Several folks have passed away in my life during this time. I have quilted through many a memory. Working through good memories and bad ones.
I have quilted out problems. I have quilted while on the phone. I have hand quilted while in waiting rooms and waiting to pick up kids. I have quilted through a couple of Mr. Right’s surgeries.
Somedays that were unique or special I quilted just so I could pause and have time to remember the day. I got out my quilt on the afternoon of 9/11. I had to listen to the television and my hands needed to be busy.
I quilted on the days that our boys told us they were going to move away to far away colleges. I quilted on the days that each boy called to tell us “she’s the one”.
I have quilted on this piece well over 350 hours. I have gone through several spools of thread.
Needles, don’t get me started. I usually thread 12 at a time. That way, once I am in the “groove” I can just continue quilting without stopping to fumble with threading the needle. I use quilting needles made in England. They seem to work the best and don’t bend easily for me. They are about 3/4″ long. To be honest with myself, they were just regular quilting needles when I began, now 18 years later, they are called “big eye” quilting needles. Just a touch easier for me to thread these days.
My thimble is way too big. I have extra padding inside it to make it fit my finger. I have used the same thimble for over 20 years. Sure I try out other “newer” models. There is comfort in going back to the same one.
Actually after writing all of this, it hits me, I guess this is my security blanket. I have found comfort in a couple of pieces of fabric and needle and thread. This time, I am not putting it away in the pale green pillow case that I keep it in between sessions. This time, I am near the finish line. This year 2011, I will complete my heirloom piece.
Working through this project has taught me several lessons. All the usual: patience, persistance, idol hands are the devil”s workshop, having quiet time,
good workmanship and on and on…..
This quilt unfolded a huge lesson. I made this quilt for me. Me to enjoy and be proud of. I expect no one will treasure and value it as much as I do. So in the future, it might be used to cushion a piece of furniture in the back of an old pick up truck (I gasp as I type that), or cover a guest room bed or give warmth to a couple of love birds… this piece of fabric will cover me in the grace of confidence that I can accomplish what I put my mind to.
I will take pictures. I want to show everyone what giving yourself a little grace looks like.