Monday, February 1, 2010

Professional Longarm Quilter?

I swore I was buying this machine for my own personal use only.  I was going to quilt my own quilts... So I agreed to quilt a couple of charity quilts for practice.  I thought it would be good for me to experiment and practice on these quilts, as they don't need to be 'show quality' perfect.  I was quite pleased with my results, being they were the first real quilts I had done on the longarm.  (Up until now, I've just been practicing on waste muslin).  I took those charity quilts to my quilting class, mostly to return them to the classmate who made the tops.  She didn't attend class that day, but I showed them during show & tell time just because, well, I did DO the quilting, after all. 

Well, needless to say, another classmate liked them and asked me to do a quilt for her.  I don't know WHAT I was thinking, but I agreed to do it.  We didn't discuss a price - I figured I'd do this one for the practice too, but I should at least charge her for the thread... maybe $20?  This quilt is for her grandson, not an anonymous charity quilt.

I feel like I've abandoned a personal commitment to myself by agreeing to do this, but I couldn't say no.  It was something of a challenge too.  She had hand-basted the entire quilt with thick polyester batting.  The quilt had places where the blocks weren't even sewn together... and there was no extra backing or batting - they were both cut to the same size as the top.  Still - I managed to load it.  I stared at it for a good hour trying to get up the courage to start quilting.  What to put in the sashing and borders?  How to quilt the blocks?  But finally I started to quilt it... and now it's done!

Whether she actually pays me or we just call it a wash for my practice, I've done a quilt for someone else... I feel like a professional whether money changes hands or not.  I want to dance.. and cry...

I have so many tops of my own that I haven't started on yet.  Will I have the same courage to start those?  Will I care more (to the point of overwhelming fear?)  Or will I feel freer to let loose with creativity on my own quilts?

Today I am grateful for a body that even though it doesn't look the way I'd like, at least still does all the things I demand of it.  There are so many accidents and diseases and conditions that render people unable to control or move their bodies the way they'd like, or in some cases not at all.  The amazing network of interconnected systems that is the human body is a marvel.  I am thankful mine still works.

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