Thursday, February 4, 2010

On Learning and Growing

Today I delivered my first 'paid' commission for a quilt.  She loved it.  I asked for $20 to cover the cost of thread and chalked the rest up to my practice on the machine.  She tried to convince me to take more, but I refused.  It's not that I think my time isn't worth more, simply that I am still learning so much about 'the Monster' (that's what I call my machine- a whole other story).  We agreed on $20, and she has more quilts for me (haha), and others in the class want me to 'practice' on theirs too!

I also delivered the two charity quilts I did for practice today.  I'm happy that I did them, got a chance to practice and develop my skills.  I know the quilts will be loved without anyone being critical of my quilting.

I tried to work on one of my own quilts as well, but wasn't so happy with the results on that one.  I'm not sure if I'm more critical of my own, or just didn't like the little design I was doing.  I will finish that one my Bernina I think.  It's one that simply needs me to quilt differently, smaller, slower... I'm not sure how to describe it, but it just wasn't working for me on the longarm. 

I am so happy that I'm not too old to learn new things, to grow in my artistic sensibilities.  I am learning, too, to be able to turn a critical eye on my own work without being consumed with perfectionism - a difficult balancing act.

I am grateful for modern dentistry - not that I'm exactly looking forward to tomorrow's appointment, but I know the results will be amazing once the pain subsides.  Just a hundred years ago, abcessed or badly decayed teeth were simply pulled, and replacements were crude.  So, hooray for root canals (I can't believe I'm saying that lol).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To My Sister:

An Open Letter to My Sister:

Terry - Please talk to me.  I know you're upset about something not to take or return my calls, but we are sisters.  We, each other, are all we have left of direct connection to mom and dad.  This is not what they wanted for us.  It's not what I want.  If I did something to upset you, I'm sorry.  I can remember times when we did have fun together when we were young and shared a room.  I can remember, too, that both of us couldn't wait til we had our own rooms.  It seems like ever since then, we've done nothing but grow further apart.  I know we haven't always gotten along well, and we aren't close like it would be nice to be.  Still and all, we are sisters, and I love you.  Life is too short to hold so much anger, and though both of us have sisters of the heart we can turn to, neither of us has any other sisters.  Please don't turn me away any more.  I love you, and I love my nieces... I miss all of you. - Your sister, Sandie

Today I am grateful for the chance to make amends and make peace.  I hope it gets reciprocated.  I could sure use a hug from my big sister.

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.