Saturday, November 20, 2010

The only way

to eat an entire elephant is one bite at a time.

I'll back up a bit first. About a year or so ago my friend Tori started making a Baltimore Album quilt. (Obviously that's not her quilt - it's just a sample of what I'm talking about, in case you don't know. And if you're not a quilter there really isn't any reason why you would know.) She was taking a class once a month to learn how to make the blocks. From my vantage point as a beginning quilter I thought it looked hard. It looked to me like the kind of thing that would take you your whole life to make. Like it would be your life's work, you know? Like at the end of your life, God would ask you, "What did you do with your life?" And you would say something like, "Take a look at my quilt!" And God would say, "Oh, yes. I see. Well done!"

I'm serious.

Also, taking a class to learn how to make a particular kind of quilt was something I couldn't really get my mind around. It's seemed like something you would do only if you were a really hard-core, talented, dedicated, accomplished, experienced, real artist-quilter. Like some sort of cabal of inner-circle quilters who take classes. It sounds ridiculous now, and I'm not sure why I thought I could never take a quilt class. But I did think that.

Today I'm starting a Baltimore Album quilt class. I've purchased and prepared all my fabric and I'm going to give it a try. I got permission from my mother who said to me, "You could take a class" in a very casual way while we were at the quilt show and I was admiring a Baltimore Album-style pattern. She said it like that is something regular people do. Really? I had already seen that she had done it, and her quilt turned out beautifully. So I bought the pattern and thought about it. The pattern was only a few dollars and I figured I could sell it at a yard sale if I never figured it out.

Well, I took myself up to the quilt shop and signed myself up for lessons. That's my lesson book and fabric in the picture. (My mom's quilt is beautiful rich jewel tones, and Tori's fabrics are a little different but also lovely deep purples and reds and greens. I decided to go with Autumn colors so they won't think I'm copying them.) The class meets once a month for a year and the theory goes that at the end of the year I will have enough skills to make 12 basic blocks. It might take me my whole life to make this thing, and I really hope I enjoy hand-applique because a whole life is a long time to spend on something you don't like doing. I don't know that it will turn out to be some epic thing that I did in my life. But it feels that way today this morning as I get ready to start. I'm nervous and excited. I also feel like a poser. And a bit little ridiculous as well - it IS only a sewing class!

You know?


  1. Yep, I absolutely do know. When I started my Baltimore classI had no intention of making a quilt. I was just going to learn how to do hand applique--that's it--learn some things. I had already done some machine applique and it wasn't too hard, so I figured how hard could it be?


    Very hard, as it turns out. As I wrote in my blog, however, the process was somehow a ittle hypnotic and addictive. I could sit down to start and soon I could see something beautiful happening under my fingers.

    You'll love it, Honey. Your colors are going to work out beautifully.

  2. I think you will do great. And your quilt will be epic.

  3. Well, if it truly is a free ticket to heaven, it will have been worth it.