So while I’m here enjoying my summer, I have a chance to continue indulging in my newest, latest, greatest hobby – quilting.
On the one hand, someone may think that it’s likely perfectly normal that a “chick lit” and romance author (no, they’re not synonymous) has fallen in love with such a hobby, but that’s not necessarily the case. As a matter of fact, although quilting is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, it’s still not exactly what every other 30-something year old is itching to get into.
That’s okay; more fabric for me. 🙂
Just to recap, I started machine sewing and quilting just six months ago in January 2018. Since then, I’ve actually successfully completed 14 projects, ranging from a 6-piece set of reversible quilted placemats to a king-sized quilt. It’s so exciting to try new techniques, and with every project, I create an entirely new pattern and/or throw a new, unique twist on the classics (like making a 3-D Dresden quilt for my mom).
Quilting is as therapeutic as it is addictive. Don’t believe me? Just think about the impact that the AIDS Memorial Quilt Project has made on the world. Before that, people were actually able to tuck the tragedy of the epidemic in the backs of their minds. Yet, when one sees something, and can touch it, it becomes a tangible link to the heart. To me, that’s exactly what a quilt is.
As a writer, quilting is an extension of my innate need to communicate. Quilts tell stories. Every single block represents something to the quilter, and historians and anthropologists alike drool over such fantastic discoveries with chopped up fabric that has been stitched back together in seemingly arbitrary patterns. There’s always an element of romance attached to them, even in tragedy. Love is what really binds a quilt together, not just thread.
To be honest, I think that today’s quilters get a bad wrap. Sure, you’ll encounter cliquish snobs, but as in anything else, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to subject yourself to that kind of environment. Thankfully for me, I have two amazing local quilt shops that are friendly, welcoming, and seem to want to add some “fresh blood” to their stock. I’ll be the first admit that I haven’t yet taken the plunge and joined some kind of quilt retreat, but then again, I haven’t yet done that with any writing conventions, either.
Despite this, I’ve been learning so much from the Internet, stories and tips shared on various social media platforms, and of course, from the sweet and sassy ladies at my local quilt shops in San Diego. I’ve created love presents for my family, and I even made two quilts for the daughters of one of the mothers in my online mom’s group who is really going through some very hard and scary times. I don’t know this woman, and she doesn’t know me, but I was so grateful to reach out to her in this way, just to remind her that she is loved and though of, even by strangers.
When she sent me a picture of her darling babies wrapped up in the quilts that I’d made, smiling such beautiful, full and appreciative grins – well, I can’t even begin to tell you how fulfilling that moment was for me. I think that only a quilter can truly understand. Meh, maybe that’s not true. It isn’t some exclusive club that knows the location of the Holy Grail; the feeling is something like this; whenever you create something out of the pit of your gut, from the recesses of your heart, and you give it away with the calm expectation of receiving absolutely nothing in return, and then someone genuinely thanks you for what you have done, showing you that they feel the love you put into the work you’ve done, and they appreciate its value and worth, then you know what I mean.
This is exactly the same thing that any writer goes through when they present a new novel or work to you. It’s a part of them, even when it’s not even remotely about them. It’s a pitiful attempt to share some form of expression with you, and with one little response, a nudge, a nod – it totally becomes both worthwhile and rewarding.
What hobby do you have that brings you immense satisfaction (besides reading, of course)? I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave your comments! I’d love to hear from you.
©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time
– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow Atina on Twitter!