March 18, 2009

Happy Place

Just like Peter Pan had his Happy Thought Place, I have mine, but on the web. I go there when I'm sick and tired of lesson prep, grading, entering said grades. I sit. I click. I wipe the drool off the keyboard. You have your own Happy Place. This is mine:

(Heather Bailey's online shop. Click to enter.)

For I'm a quilter, you see, and we collect fabrics. We don't collect them necessarily to do anything with them (a corollary would be a workbench full of screws, nails, power tools) but we always PLAN to do something with them. Sometimes this planning takes place as we are stroking the folded fabric in our local quilt shop, or clicking-clicking online. Many times it is in the abstract, as the shopkeeper slices off a yard or two of an especially exquisite piece of yardage.

It's for the Double-Four Patch, we'll say when she asks us. Or--we add,tilting our head to the side--this piece might also coordinate with that group of greens I've been saving for the guest bedroom quilt. She nods knowingly, as she's seen this disease before, wields her rolling cutter, and slice! Another folded piece for our stash.

Yes, the technical name is "stash." I have a fairly comprehensive stash, some fabrics dating back to when I first learned to quilt, some thirty years ago. At that time I took one class and learned how to make a nine-inch square quilt. The second class taught me how to bind it and quilt it. Then, feeling ready, I made a queen-sized quilt out of fabric and sheets. This was in the days before rotary cutters, rulers and mats. I painstakingly traced around a cardboard template for all of the patches, then sewed them together on my little sewing machine, then quilted it all by hand. I only had one baby and no job, so within a year I had that quilt on my bed. That seemed all rather quick, actually.

Now we slice, sew on machines that cost as much as a car did then (you know, back when we churned our own butter). Now I take it over to the quilter to get the quilting done. A slow machine quilter will take about a month, rotating my quilt into the line-up (I think the actual quilting only takes a day or two) and within 6 weeks, if I'm diligent and am not grading papers or doing lesson prep, I could have a quilt start-to-finish.

Today I'm dreaming of summertime, of days when I can quilt and sew and cut and listen to music and NPR radio shows and not think about dangling participles, run-on sentences, cranky students and wierd emails. Today I'm in my Happy Place.

(Anna Marie Horner's shop, online. Click to go there.)


  1. My mom is a quilter and she had filled the closets in three bedrooms of her house with fabrics. I love this slice!

  2. I have gotten quite hooked on quilting in the past year or so. I love my fabric stash and I always want to add to it, even without a project in mind! I just bought a new sewing machine so I can do the quilting part myself. :)

    In my fabric shop there is a sign that says "She who dies with the most fabric wins!"

  3. I don't even sew and find myself collecting fabrics too. They are just so pretty!! Maybe one of these days I'll put a quilt together.

  4. I am thinking of my spring break when I don't have any plans to go anywhere this year but do plan to spend an enormous amount of time at my sewing machine. I am a quilter too!