Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Love My Textile Life

This past weekend I attended to a sewing day in the country town of Pinjarra.  It was hosted by the WA Chapter of the Southern Cross Quilters in what used to be a one room schoolhouse that now houses the local quilters guild and accommodates a small shop as well to sell items created by the group.  It’s a lovely building with high ceiling, wood burning fireplaces, and jarrah wood floors throughout.  The building just screams nostalgia and was a wonderful place to spend the day quilting.  
In attendance were about 30-35 women all laden down with sewing machines and the like.  You know – the usual sewing group accumulation of stuff.  I met some lovely ladies I had previously only spoken to on-line through the groups Yahoo Group site.  A few of the ladies drove over two hours to attend.  If you have any familiarity with Western Australia at all, two hours isn’t that far away for country people to attend an event.  Perth, the capital of WA, has the interesting honour of being the most isolated capital city in the world, so those outside of the boundaries of the suburbs really do live in the country with large amounts of no-man’s-land in-between.  Until my conversation with these ladies I thought my little group of four drove a ways to get there and that was only an hour.  Though I’ve lived here in Australia for over 12 years now, its little things like this that my brain still has a hard time getting itself around. 
My goal for the day was to finish cutting out my newest project.  Yes, I know.  I can’t believe I’m beginning another project when I have so many already in progress.  I really have to put a stop on this behaviour.  I can’t have that much of an ADD quilting personality that I can’t at least get a few things finished before starting another.  I wonder if Ritalin can be prescribed for this?
I did get my fabric cut by mid-morning and then proceeded to hand piece.  The ladies next to me were very interested in my project as they do almost all their piecing on the machine – accept for what they brought with them that day which was exquisite appliqué.  It always surprises me when people wonder at hand work.  Often I’m asked how do I find the time to do it - which is really funny because I wonder how women who do almost all their piecing by machine find the dedicated time to sit in front of their machines to the exclusion of everything else to work.  As I always explain to the asking, my piecing can, and does, go everywhere with me.  Whenever I have stolen moments, waiting in the car, lunch time at work,  or waiting for appointments, I can pull out my little travel packet of piecing and time just fly’s by.  I actually get really cross with myself if I don’t plan ahead and make sure my travel kit is well stocked.  I hate it when I finish what I have available to sew.  I feel like I’m then wasting my time just waiting!
I think most of these women who are dedicated machine piecers believe it’s the fastest way to get the job done.  And for them perhaps it is.  But I’m not really a speed demon.   Yes, I want to finish a project before the fabric disintegrates from age.  But I’m pretty confident I’ll always meet my 10 year maximum on any one quilt. 
I love my textile life.  I love cutting the fabric.  I love piecing the fabric.  I love living with the fabric from room to room or under a tree or in the waiting room before it turns into a cherished bed quilt or throw or work of art.  Thank you Dad for giving me those years in my childhood to play among the test fabrics you would bring home.  That started - and continues - the longest love affair in my life.

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