Quarantine quilting

I have been on hold for a while.  I felt a bit like an airplane that was put in a holding pattern because of bad weather and told not to land yet.  So around and around the city I fly wondering when I can touch down.  I think I let social media and the news get to me.  People can be so quick to judge, and they can only judge from where they stand.  I don’t stand where anyone else does, nor does anyone stand in my place.  I was feeling low.  I was feeling like I was not allowed to have the feelings I have.  So, I switched off.

When Covid-19 first hit, I was in a minor panic stage.  I didn’t know what this virus was, how one gets it, and how dangerous it might be to go anywhere, especially since I am considered that “old” person who might die from it.  When we were told we were going to have to shelter in place, I decided I needed a project to keep me busy—to keep my mind off the scary stuff, and to keep me productive.  I chose making a quilt.

I was in Arizona at the time, and I diligently worked on the quilt top.  The week we were ready to leave for Missouri, I shipped the quilt top off to the long arm quilting lady who was from my Missouri town, but had since moved to Florida.  (For those of you who don’t quilt—she doesn’t have one arm that is super long—her quilting machine has a long arm. (Just wanted to clear that up from the image of a “long-armed quilting lady”).  Rather than finding a new person locally, I sent it to her, and told her to return it to my Missouri address.  The quilt will be a gift, and will be delivered to the recipient in just a few weeks.

Now I am in Missouri and things have not changed a lot.  In fact, the first month in Missouri Dennis got terribly sick.  He couldn’t breathe.  No, he didn’t have Covid, but he couldn’t breathe.  He is almost completely better, and we still do not know the exact reason for his respiratory distress, but we are taking the most caution in our lives.  We go the store, masked properly and properly spaced.  We avoid crowds.  We do our hiking in our neighborhood, and we pretty much stay home.  It was time to do another quilt.  I purchased some charm packs I saw online, so I found a pattern that I really loved and decided to make a lap quilt. For non-quilters a charm pack is a pack of fabric cut into five inch squares.  I ordered the fabric for the background color, and lo and behold, the same place that only took three days to deliver my order, took almost two weeks.  My project was on hold.  

While the project was on hold, I decided to visit my sister who lives in West Virginia, near the Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia border.  I was a bit wary of flying, but was assured that all precautions were being taken by the airlines.  The airport in St. Louis was busy but nothing like it was in previous flights I have taken.  The Dulles Washington D.C. airport was like being in Twilight Zone.  It was, for all intents and purposes, empty.  Changing planes in Atlanta found the busiest of all three airports.  I spent my week with my sister, and her granddaughters.  It was a great week to just kick back and relax.

Coming back home I had all my materials ready to start my quilt top, when I realized I was out of thread.  Dennis and I drove in to Columbia to one of their quilting stores to pick up a spool of thread.  This was going to be a quick visit.  When I got out of the car to run into the store, Dennis told me to take a look at their sewing machines because I have been talking about upgrading.  I laugh that I just bought the most expensive spool of thread on the planet—it came with a sewing machine!  I went from a Volkswagen of a sewing machine to a Lamborghini.  Didn’t even go with the mid size car—jumped immediately to the fancy sports car with all the bells and whistles.  Part of the reason was that I found a used machine that had only 80 hours sewing time (yes, it has an internal clock), it has wifi, and it does everything except make my lunch.  This Lamborghini of a sewing machine was one half the price of buying it new.  The store offers four three-hour classes to learn how to do all the things this machine can do.  I haven’t finished the classes yet, so maybe I will find the button where it makes my lunch!

I came home with thread and a new sewing machine.  As I was putting the top together, I realized I didn’t quite cut the pieces properly.  It was going together, but not as well as it should have.  I was thinking of scrapping the whole project when Dennis came in the room to look at the work.  He said he loved it, and would really like me to make it for him.  I asked why he liked it so much, and he said, “because it is really you.”  So my perfectly imperfect quilt is going to my husband when complete.  

The top is completed, I have bought the fabric for the back which I think will be perfect for it.  I am now moving on to my other quilt top.  I still love the pattern I used, and now that I am very familiar with its construction, this is the pattern I will be using.  When I was in St. Louis coming back from my West Virginia trip, I stopped at a quilt store and bought the most fabulous fabric.  It was not in charm pack, but I am perfectly capable of cutting a lot of 5” squares.  I have more control of my fabric choices this way.  When you buy a charm pack, you get what they give you.  This way I purchased 1/2 yards of many different fabrics that I thought would go great together.

Lesson learned–using directional fabric made putting this quilt together like working a crossword puzzle!

I have come to realize that I don’t make quilts just to make quilts.  The pattern has to speak to me, and the fabrics also have to speak to me.  For me a quilt is a work of art.  It’s a step above paint by number.  If I bought a quilt kit with the pattern and the fabric selected for me, I would feel like I was doing a paint by number.  Other people in the world have also made this identical quilt with the identical fabric.  That is not me.  I want some input into my projects that are part of me and no one else.

My fabrics for my next 2 lap quilts. One will have the dark purple background, and the other the light purple.

I’m revving up my Lamborghini, and I’m getting ready for another run around the track.  I’m still cutting 5” squares.  I need a total of 144 squares before I can start sewing.  This will take a little bit of time.  It’s the part I like least about quilting—all the cutting.  I could buy charm packs, but for me it takes aways my creativity.  Maybe sometime later, after I am ready to let go of my choosing everything to the time saver of precut fabric.  I’m just not there yet.

This has kept me in a positive mood.  I think about each project and who potentially I want to gift it to.  I hope they will cherish it knowing I made it especially with them in mind.  I cannot give names, but I have several people who will be receiving them.  

What are you doing during this stressful time to keep yourself going?  How do you fill your time when things feel tough?  Please share your thoughts.  I want to learn from you also.

 I will try to be more consistent with my posting.  I just couldn’t find words I felt worthy to share for a few weeks.  I love and appreciate each one of you who stop for a few minutes to read what I write.  I hope I can encourage you to find something to give you joy.

10 comments

  1. I went to a concert on March 10th in Tampa, Fla. by Andre Rieu! My daughter went with me and treated me to the whole event. I fell madly in love with his humor and style and Dutch accent and of course his music ( he is the King of the Walz) I now follow him via you tube videos from his 100 concerts per year. This has given me a lot of joy during my time of quarantine. I also could not go on my annual mission trip to Hong Kong, but did join 40 volunteers in doing VBS lessons via zoom! My first time! It was hard but grateful to maintain my connection with the school and church staff there. We taught 1000 students each week for 2 weeks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you seen “How to Make an American Quilt?” It’s a film from the ’90s (I think) with Winona Ryder and an impressive back-up cast. I think you’d enjoy it.
    I have been reading a lot: five of Jane Austen’s novels, “Anna Karenina,” other stuff that I have on hand. When you major in literature and you don’t throw anything away, you have a lot on hand. Currently, I’m bogged down in “Madam Bovary,” which I’m finding incredibly dull. A book about a woman who is bored out of her skull is really boring. I wish I had your compulsion to get things done, because there’s plenty around here that needs doing. My tendency is to think, “I need to dust. Oh, wait, there’s a book.”
    Stay healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to chuckle at your response because today it really hit me that I have neglected the house cleaning! That’s my next task before I start sewing again.

      Like

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