Friday, March 20, 2009

Have vs Want

I’ve had several family, friends and customers comment on the fact that I am planning a virtual sewing retreat here on the blog next week. They all find it very funny that I will be coming to work, blogging about sewing (which is what I try to do everyday) and I am calling it a “retreat”. There is no way I am going to make them understand the difference between “have to sew” and “want to sew”.

If you have ever been talked into “helping” with a project (and we all know what “help” means to the non-sewing public) then you understand “have to sew”. Requests for those projects usually come from people that have no clue what they are asking. They start with “I hate to ask, BUT, could you ……… fill in the blank. In my experience that blank has been filled with “make a queen size quilt for our raffle”, “make a canopy for our daughter to get married under (using silk squares decorated by our non-sewing friends)”, "Fix my daughter's wedding dress", “Help the 1st grade make a quilt”, “Sew this button on my pants”…. Oh, wait, that last one was a request from my husband. I’m pretty sure I accomplished that while the pants were still in style.

In preparation for my week of “want to sew” I decided to finish up a “have to sew” project. An old friend asked me to add borders to a quilt top that her grandmother had started to make it fit her king size bed. The request was made last summer with a “No hurry” comment. (A word to the wise: Never say “no hurry” to me. My life runs on deadlines, no deadline… probably not going to happen).

Amy and I have been friends since Middle School. I knew Grandma Kinter, she was a wonderful farm wife with a kind and generous heart who created hand pieced and hand quilted projects for all of her kids, grandkids and I’m sure a few great grandkids before she died. This green and white Drunkards Path project would require 20 inches of border on all 4 sides to come close to fitting her granddaughter’s bed.

When I am asked to finish an old project I can’t help but wonder what the original quilt maker would think about the process. Do you think Grandma K. was looking down on me, marveling at my new fangled computerized sewing machine attaching borders to her quilt bocks that she assembled with tiny hand stitches? Maybe she was wondering why her quilt top couldn’t be finished as is, without a border to fit a bed? I know I would like to ask her how the blocks came to be set in such a unique pattern. It is symmetrical, it works, but it isn’t something I’ve seen done before. Do you think it is possible that she never finished this project because she considered the setting a mistake? Is she laughing at the fact that her granddaughter is investing hundreds of dollars finishing a “goof” to decorate her bedroom?

No matter what Grandma had originally intended, her green and white Drunkards Path quilt now has 20 inches of border added to each side made up of 3 different fabrics, 4 strips and mitered corners. I hope both she and Amy are happy. I know I am, because now I can check that off my list!

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