So I’m starting a new quilt. I am going to be completing a quilt that I started working on in 1986. Not only are the pieces for this quilt 20 years old, I haven’t even had them in my possession for 12 years. No, I am not kidding.
Years ago, when I was just starting college, I got a job in a fabric store. A lovely older woman there gave me my first quilting lesson, and I started on a blue-and-white rail fence quilt. I started cutting the rails with scissors and hand-piecing, but quickly graduated to machine piecing and then strip piecing. I made about 125 squares or so before I set the project down to work on some big college project.
I got busy with school, then my first job, then my twenties. Along with my 125 rail fence units I had collected various other quilting tools and fabrics, and they were all in a box. I was hiking, biking, rafting, diving. I didn’t have time for sewing. And then my career took over, working in the dot com industry through the ’90’s. About 1996, after having lugged the box of quilting stuff from house to house for ten years, I finally gave up. I reassured myself that I would get back to it eventually, but I didn’t have the space or time to keep that box. My Mom’s neighbor was just getting into quilting, so I gave it all to her. Fabric, notions, templates, tools, thread… and the 125 rail fence units.
Time passed. I moved another couple of times and my parents moved too, to another town. In 2001 I met the man that would be my husband, and in 2002 we got married. In 2003 my we had our son. And this year (2006) I decided to start quilting again. I certainly did enjoy collecting fabric, notions, fabric, templates, tools, fabric, patterns, books…and did I mention fabric? I started about a dozen projects, collected the parts for a dozen more, but couldn’t quite get things off the ground. I kept thinking of those old rail fence blocks.
Those years, so long ago, had been such a time of optimism and faith for me. A time when I believed anything was possible. I’ve been trying to recapture that in my life this year, and I kept thinking….what if I could make that quilt? Dare I track down my Mom’s neighbor and ask for the squares back? What were the odds she’d even still have them, 12 years later.
Amazingly, I was able to find her e-mail and talk to her. She still had the squares, had never really been able to spend time quilting. She found them in her attic and coincidentally was going to see my parents the following week. Within 10 days of my e-mail, I had the squares in my hands. That was about April.
So now, in the midst of the holiday season, with my heart filled with possibilities and optimism, I’m starting. Again.
I guess some things really are meant to be.