I bet you thought I was going to show you my super messy laundry room, didn't you? Fooled you! I'm talking today about seasons (as in, the seasons of our lives) and my goals. So, here's a little piece of what I've been working on lately...
When I had my babies, I really wanted to make them baby quilts. And that's as far as I went. I made them quilts because that's just what you do -- at least, if you're in my family, you do. (Or you might buy a quilt or have one made by a family member - but you get the picture.) It's just something that happens when there's a baby, like getting a crib or a car seat. Right? :) I just didn't know any better, so that's what I did. And I enjoyed the process -- until it got to the quilting. I learned to quilt by hand, in a time when NOBODY quilted by machine, not even a longarm. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't cool, it was too expensive -- if you really cared about someone, you would quilt it by hand. If you were doing a quick project, you could tie it, but NOBODY quilted by machine. And I didn't even know there was another option with my first three children. So, I would find out the gender, make up a baby quilt, and at 8 1/2 months, hand quilt my baby's quilt. Let me tell you, it was NOT comfortable. But the baby needed that quilt! And I got all of them done on time. I think. You forget a lot of things after you have that baby, but I don't remember feeling guilty about it, so I must have been done, right?
After I had my fourth baby (his baby quilt was taken to a quilt shop and machine quilted -- and I loved it so so much!), we had our biggest gap ever between babies. I felt so liberated -- for a couple of months, we didn't have anyone in diapers! My hands had never been so smooth -- and I had a little more time on my hands, so I really started to catch that quilting bug. I wanted to join a quilt guild, or go to a quilt group, or something, but the only ones I could find were classes at the local quilt shop, and I couldn't afford classes AND fabric, so I started up my own little group. It is so so so much fun! The ladies who come are all fun and funny and we have a really fun time together.
I think part of the reason why quilting wasn't really my thing before I was almost done having kids was that it just wasn't the right season for it. I come from a long line of crafters -- we can all do pretty much anything we set our minds to, we just have that mindset -- and I really didn't have the time when my children were teeny tiny and running around biting ankles to focus on much more than that. Does that mean that a young mother who is also crazy about quilting can't be a good mother? No way -- that just means that I couldn't. I had other crafty things that I would do occasionally, but as a young mom I really couldn't do anything as long-term as quilting. And writing -- another of my passions -- was indefinitely set on the backburner. I really do want to write fiction -- but for me, that day will have to come later.
Right now, though, is my time and season for quilting on the side. Maybe it will last the rest of my life; maybe it will last for another couple of years. Who knows! That's what's so exciting about this life -- you just never know what's around the corner! I still can't go to every retreat I've ever wanted to attend (Oh, Quiltbliss, how I long for you!), for both financial and time reasons. In a couple of years, my baby goes to Kindergarten, and the next year is first grade, so I'm planning on doing more then, but until that happens, I just don't feel like I can. But what I can do -- that I've not been able to do until recently -- is go to a sewing day for a couple of hours. And blog (infrequently). And host a quilt group at my house. And sew at night after the kids are in bed. And every so often, I get a day or two off from my full-time mothering gig; Joel will take a day off work and let me go play with my quilty friends. It's so much fun! And I really use those days to recharge and relax from my day job -- and go back with a renewed spirit.
As for pattern design, I really really loved doing it for a year. And I'll love it again -- maybe sooner rather than later. I plan on submitting some ideas to places like Moda Bakeshop and American Patchwork and Quilting -- and maybe some others -- in the new year. I'm really not afraid of failing -- I'm afraid of succeeding too early, when I really need to devote more time to my stay-at-home children. :)
And... just because I KNOW you want to see it... here's my messy laundry room.