Over the years I have found that quilters love to visit with other quilters. Maybe it goes back to the quilting bees of older generations. Women of many ages hand quilting a quilt, children playing under the table. A tleast that is the picture I have seen.
Thirty years or so ago, my husband made a giant job location change. I was plucked from my teaching job, mid year and sent across the country to Florida. Our kids were grown and out of the nest. There I was in an alien land, no job, no friends. But I was a quilter. I had started making quilts when the kids were small. My plan was to make each one a bed quilt that went from end to end, and side to side, right to the floor, so they could make their beds by pulling up the quilt. No one would know if the bed was made, or what had been shoved under the bed to make the room look “picked up.”
I made these quilts on the sewing machine and managed to quilt them by machine as well. I recall one pattern which was more complex than just squares, where I laid the pieces on the floor and had Sia, then age 8, pick up the pieces and hand them to me. I would sew them together, and she would hand me the next and take the just sewn one and put it back in order.
Well, there I was in Florida. I spent my mornings scanning the phone book and local maps. Every day I drove to a new place, scouring for yarn stores and quilt shops. Once I found what I wanted, I took a quilt class. I don’t recall what it was, but I do know it was not something new to me. I was looking for fellow quilters. And I found them. I joined a quilt guild. I met new friends and continued to sew by machine, much to the horror of some guild members. (I also found a teaching job.)
The guild put on a quilt show every year and awarded prizes. In a drawer in my basement are three hand made rewards….a first,a second and a third prize. My husband calls them attendance prizes. The guild rewarded prizes for the best quilts, but back then, quilts made by machine and quilted by machine could not be rewarded with the more traditional hand quilted and pieced quilts. My three were the only three in the show that were all made by machine. What a different world today.
Seven years in Florida and another dramatic move but not to alien territory. We moved to Cape Cod to my grandmothers old beach cottage, revamped to hold the two of us, visiting kids and grand kids, and my quilt and yarn hobbies. Once again I looked for and found a quilt guild. Since I was no longer teaching, I invited a small group of quilters to meet at my house every Wednesday. We called ourselves, “the way outs”… or “the far outs” group since the guild we belonged to met at the other end of the Cape. As the years went by we forgot just what we were called, so we became the Way Far Outs and I am told they still are meeting today.
Moving back to Bellingham, it was important to me to have such a group meet here. Once again I joined a guild, I found fellow quilters, and now every Wednesday some come to meet here and quilt. Well I have to amend that. Today two us were knitting, one was crocheting, one was doing sashiko, one mending a jacket….
And the chatter took a bend into another direction…. How do you tackle sudoko….. and before we knew it three gathered on the couch to share strategies.
Which led to all the crazy games you can play on a computer…. monsters and vampires, angry birds and the list goes on. This is a wonderful “quilting” group, as you can tell. and next week, maybe someone will bring a project and need advice, or a quilt will be finished and we will need to hang it up and admire it and take pictures…or maybe a knitting project will be finished, or maybe we will hear good news of a sick relative or……..