BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Quilt Show, Here I Come!

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.19676732-5056-a36a-09e605c3f52c90e2_0eef4bd5-5056-a36a-0955fa3b9f7b852c.jpg

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.

 


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The Itch to Stitch

Taking out my autumn quilts has awoken in me a desire to sew. I know, I know… I have enough going on right now, what with blogging everyday for NaBloPoMo and working on a novel for NaNoWriMo, but I really want to stitch!

The table I write at is also the table I sew at. It’s situated perfectly for both activities. I can easily see who’s coming in the room since the table sticks out from the wall. That was a requirement so the fabric has somewhere to do once it’s gone through the sewing machine. Sewing at a table pushed against a wall is impractical and frustrating.

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I made this several years ago from my fabric stash.

Behind my table is my stash of fabric. Most of it, anyway. I have  a low wall of cubbies under the window (so sunlight can’t fade the fabric) and it is full of flat-folds of fabric. They’re sorted primarily by color, but also to a smaller extent by type. The hand-dyed fabrics are together as are the plaids, for example. This colorful assortment greets me each time I enter the room, and it makes me happy.

Long ago I was a cross-stitcher. I created many lovely projects, and I had some of them professionally framed at a small cross-stitch shop that I loved dearly. Each time I was in the shop I would pick up more patterns, knowing full well that I already had more than I would ever stitch in a dozen lifetimes. I lamented this fact one day as I was paying, and the kindly woman who owned the shop said, “It’s as much about collecting as it is about stitching.” How wise she was. Permission granted to keep on collecting.

I’m a collector of fabrics, of patterns, and books. I may never use them all. In fact I’m sure I won’t, but it doesn’t matter. I enjoy my collection, and adding to it from time to time. But really, I’d like to dust off my machine and take a few stitches. Maybe come December.


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My Midnight Affair

Midnight and I have this on again, off again relationship. No matter how hard I try to tear myself away, I find myself coming back over and over again. I know it isn’t necessarily a healthy relationship, after all, I often regret my visits with Midnight by the light of day. Still, I can’t seem to stay away.

Midnight and I first became acquainted when I was quite young. There was a certain New Year’s Eve party hosted by my parents that went on well past, you guessed it, Midnight. Nobody was paying much attention to what I was doing, so I stayed up and enjoyed the party. Midnight was exciting!

Later on I revisited my friend Midnight, but in a much quieter way. I would lose myself in my bedtime reading, and before I would know it, Midnight would arrive on tiptoe. I never actually invited Midnight into my world, but there it was.

The more I saw of Midnight, the more I enjoyed it, until the craziness of my college years. Midnight was when things were just getting going during those years. Midnight and I were in full swing, and we had nothing to hide.big-ben-midnight_2539032 So I slept in the next morning, big deal. I was in college. Who cared? Certainly not my professors. They gave the lectures whether I was in my seat or not. It took me a very short time to realize that scheduling early morning classes wasn’t a particularly good idea for me. After all, I was up with Midnight most every night.

After college Midnight and I continued our relationship. I worked late hours and stayed up late. For a while at least. Then things changed. I got a new job. A real job. One that required me to not only be at work early, but to be on the ball. Reluctantly I said goodbye to Midnight, at least during the work week. On the weekends we picked up where we left off, but it wasn’t the same.

I got older and became a mother. Now Midnight had a whole new meaning. Midnight and I weren’t hanging out anymore, I was way too exhausted for that. We would only see each other when the baby needed something.. Midnight and I kind of nodded at each other, but we didn’t speak much during those years.

As my son grew, so did my longing for my old friend Midnight. I began to stay up late to read or sew or work on scrapbooks. Sure, I still had to get up early, but I wasn’t working at the kind of job that needed 100% brainpower from the minute I walked in the door. I could do it. I could work all day, be a mom and wife in the evening, and hang out with Midnight after everyone else went to bed. No problem. Until I went back to teaching.

Teaching is unlike other jobs. There is a ton of homework for the teacher, and it never seems to all get done. It also requires mental sharpness from the minute you walk in the door (which is long before the students arrive) to the minute you leave (which is long after the students leave). There’s no zoning out. Ever.

Midnight doesn’t care about all that. Midnight still wants to hang out with me. It doesn’t care if we party or read quietly or mess around with crafts or work on lesson plans. Midnight just likes my company. Frankly, I like being around Midnight, but it’s getting more and more difficult as I get older. I find that my mornings after Midnight are rough, and that I’m not on my game. I have to pull away. I have to force myself to go to bed and leave Midnight alone, without my company.

Still, I don’t always succeed. I find my way back to Midnight on a regular basis, tonight included. I just can’t quite seem to leave it alone. I know I’ll pay for it tomorrow, but for now I’m enjoying my time with Midnight.