I’m working myself into fits and I need to stop. I feel like I’m spinning in circles, rushing from one room of my house to another tidying this, straightening that, dusting this bit off, putting this thing away at last, only to to see a thousand more of these items to do. It’s productive, to a degree, but it’s making my anxiety level climb, so here I sit. Breathing. Good.
Why all this nervous rushing about? Because after living in this house for four years my friend is finally coming over to see it. My friend, whose beautiful new(ish) home I saw for the first time a couple of weeks ago. My friend, whose home is perfect.
I know, I know…
I’m NOT comparing my home to hers. They are different. We are different people at different stages. I have a dog (yep, blame it on the dog… she won’t mind), my friend doesn’t. I have a college kid here for the summer, she doesn’t. I have a blended household, she doesn’t. I work full-time (except in the summer, but shh), she doesn’t. Still, her house is CLEAN, and mine? Well, it isn’t.
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to post this (yep, warts and all) then drag out the vacuum cleaner, see if I can find some Windex, and call it done. Oh wait, I’m supposed to meet her in half an hour and I haven’t brushed my teeth yet. Yeah, maybe the other stuff just won’t happen. She’ll love me anyway, won’t she? I hope so. And exhale…
It’s been ages since I’ve been to a quilt show, which is entirely my fault.
I’m lucky to live in a state where quilt makers are doing exciting work, and quilt shows, large and small, are held regularly. The largest of these is the show put on by the state quilter’s guild, of which I used to be an active member. In fact, that guild brought me my first friends in my adopted home state.
Quilt groups vary in size, focus, and time commitment. I think there’s a group for everyone, from the most traditional hand piecer and quilter to the digital age modern quilter who does things without regard for “traditional” techniques or “rules.” There are those who get together for the dedicated purpose of producing quilts to be donated to charities, and there are those who are committed to recreating quilts from particular eras. Most groups, however, are simply gatherings of people who share a love of quilting and enjoy one another’s company.
I was lucky to find a group like that in the early 1990’s when I moved out west with no job and no friends. Quilting was my creative outlet, and the quilt group I found was full of interesting and innovative women, who welcomed me into their circle. It was a branch of the state guild, and through that I started traveling to other groups to teach classes. I loved it!
The more active I was with the guild and our chapter, the more fun I had. I volunteered to head up a statewide charity small quilt auction one year that raised several thousand dollars, and I spent another year as our group’s chapter chairperson. Both of these experiences were positive and rewarding, mostly because of the wonderful people I was able to work with along the way.
Time marches on, though, and motherhood took more of my psychic energy than I could have imagined. I still quilted from time to time, but scrapbooking our lives became my main creative outlet, and I let my guild membership lapse, mainly from a lack of time for meetings. Add to that some of my closest quilting buddies moving away, and, well, you know…
The good news it that they didn’t all move, and then Facebook was invented. Through it I keep in touch with some of my quilty friends, and when I needed some professional quilting done on a top I made long ago, I knew just who to call. Well, that lovely lady did the job expertly, and we had a fantastic time reconnecting in the process. We made a date for the quilt show, and here it is, quilt show day!
I’m excited to see my friend, I’m excited to see the quilts and vendors, and mostly I’m excited to go back to the show. The show where I once earned an honorable mention ribbon for a quilt that I now cherish as a memory of my dad. The show that celebrates every corner of my beautiful state and every type of creative expression that could be classified as a quilt. The show that takes me back decades, but will no doubt fire a creative spark for the future.
Of course those words aren’t mine, but I was reminded of them the other day when I was lamenting my current creativity slump. I was talking to an old friend (not that she’s old, the friendship is, as friendships go) and I told her that I hadn’t done anything creative in a while.
We are long-time quilt buddies. Years ago we met in a local quilting group and we clicked. A small group of us became good friends and took on a few fun projects together. We met at each other’s homes, visited with each other outside of our regular quilt group meetings, and planned outings. It was a fun time that unfortunately came to a close when I had a kid and several of the girls moved away. Things change.
My friend and I (and several of the others) kept up on Facebook, but we hadn’t actually spoken in years. I wanted to have one of my old quilt tops finished and she does them professionally, so I gave her a call. It was wonderful.
So silly, I thought making a phone call would be a big deal, but it wasn’t. It was easy. We talked and laughed and made plans to get together, which we did. I regret not calling her sooner, but I won’t beat myself up about it. Gotta keep moving forward, after all.
Back to her wisdom, though. She said something that stuck with me; something I found comforting (was I in need of comfort? maybe). She said that it’s okay to be in a fallow season. Nothing grows all the time. Of course. In nature there’s an ebb and flow, so it stands to reason that a person has those types of cycles as well.
So maybe I’m in a fallow season, but I think it might be drawing to a close. I’m starting to feel the desire to create again, and I’m glad. I LIKE creating, just for the sake of the doing. Having a nice finished product is a bonus, as far as I’m concerned.
Yes, I love the quilts I’ve made (most of them, anyway) and the scrapbooks I’ve completed put a smile on my face, but the doing is what I enjoy the most, or as least I have, in the past. I hope to recapture some of that feeling, after all it would justify at least some of the goodies I’ve collected over the years. In the meantime, I can be satisfied with the knowledge that nothing grows all the time, and for that I thank my friend.