Liberated Quilting

from 2013, the tree across the street

It’s 5:22 AM and it’s dark outside.  Just a few weeks ago this was not so. Just a few weeks ago it was bright. The light change signifies that Autumn is clearly on its way; with glorious color adorning trees and ground alike. This quilter is ready!

In a recent email I wrote, “make your favorite block, about 12 inches and send it to me.” It’s one of those things for a special project that the reveal will be later. Not one of those super secret things, a surprise for a well loved person. I’ll come back to this.

At Church yesterday I reread this one chapter of the Ragamuffin Gospel. I needed to read it from several points-of-view. First, as a well loved child of God who desperately needs to embrace that Love and the freedom, no, the peace that Love brings. Second, as a quilt teacher/leader, for how I bring people into living the freedom we have to do what we want in quilting. Thirdly, as a reminder that it is so easy to remain bound by things, that I willingly give up freedom and personal responsibility.

For as long as I can remember embracing that Love and the Peace dwells therein is just around the corner, when this happens, or that happens then I’ll be assured of God’s Love and be at Peace. This, That, and the Other Thing are the things, those moments, that I long to hold God to, those things that will show me His Love and His Mercy. And yet, in all Reality I know that God’s Love and Mercy just are. I have no control over them. I can choose to walk through to Love and dwell there, or not. This is my choice. I know when I live in that Love there is Peace, a consistent Peace.

The one area of my life where it shows that I live there or at least have an apartment and pay rent, is in the creativity of quilting. I find freedom there like no other component of life. And in rereading yesterday I understood something that a couple of people have pointed out, and I’ve experienced. Back to the quilt block. One of the people on that email wrote back and asked, “no other guidelines?”. Nope, I said. And in that moment I realized how my teaching style freaks people out. By giving quilters permission to do whatever they want with blocks, colors of thread, different types of quilting, whatever it is, instead of feeling free to make their favorite nine-patch and stitch it in the ditch, because right now that’s what they like and love, fear takes over and they don’t know what to do because the internal, personal expectation has set the bar so high they’re not sure they can make the leap. (That is an intentional run-on sentence.)

It is in that moment when fear, and uncertainty take over, that is so difficult to move through. Believe me, I know. I’m there with my book. I’m not sure I can do this. I’m not sure I have what it takes to move forward, let alone finish it. One of the niggling questions in my head is, “how do I give a framework, a process to, the way I quilt and use color?” It’s not easy to do that. A friend suggested that I’ve forgotten how difficult it is to be a student, in that moment of learning, and completely freaked out. While she’s right in one way. The memory of walking away from my machine in sheer frustration lives right here (finger pointing to brain) I can see moments where I wanted to bang my head against the nearest wall, when I left the sewing room for days because I just could not take one more fn stitch.

Then there were the, “aha! moments” like slowing down, and tuning life and people out. Having my sweetie walk into the sewing room and being completely freaked out that he was there, because I hadn’t heard him walk in because I was so in that quilting zone I couldn’t hear anything but the machine. There were the breakthrough quilts, like when I learned to feather.

Or the other day watching a friends episode of The Quilt Show and understanding why she is and will be so very good as a quilting teacher and I’ll struggle a bit…she gives a very clear framework. Outside of my beginner class, I don’t (I’m changing that! Working on new handouts with a lot more details).  The one thing I realized in this is that our styles as quilt makers are vastly different. Hers is very controlled and there’s a clear process from beginning to end. Mine is not so much controlled with not so much of a clear process from beginning to end. Don’t get me wrong, there are quilts where I agonize over color choices, and stitches and that all elusive moment of perfection.

(And as I sat in Church reading and listening, the idea for a new class came to mind – Liberated Free Motion Quilting – Bringing the “free” into free motion – once I have a full on description I’ll post it on TerifiCreations.)

In quilting, as in life, we’re meant to be creative and explore, free and joy-filled. We’re human beings oft filled with angst and fear. As a person I long to live in God’s Love/Mercy/Peace/Freedom, as a quilter and teacher I long to share that Freedom to do whatever with you because I think it leads to embracing God’s love more fully.

God bless!



8 thoughts on “Liberated Quilting

  1. When did you ask for 12″ blocks? Do you still need a few?

    Love…”putting the ‘free’ in free motion quilting. As a bit of an uptight quilter, I need to hear that a little more often and I need to do it a lot more often.

  2. Liberated FM quilting . . love the title! As far as writing the book goes. . .it is hard! During my professional career, I’ve rewritten a couple class manuals. I had a framework to use a beginning. When I was finished, all that was left of the old product was the cover! Write a chapter; if that isn’t working write several pages; if that isn’t working, write several paragraphs; if that isn’t working, write several sentences; if that isn’t working, write several words; if that isn’t working, draw your concept. Just keep at it. The more you write, the easier it becomes. You are probably trying to edit. . .don’t. There will be time for that as well as the rewrites later! You can do it! 🙂

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