Thursday, August 21, 2008

I couldn't have said it better myself...and, Quilt Class Part 1

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening
That is translated through you into action,
And because there is only one of you in all of time
This expression is unique.
And if you block it,
It will never exist through any other medium,
And be lost.
The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is,
Nor how valuable, or how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly,
to stay open and aware to the urges that motivate you.”

Martha Graham

Hazel and Henna had this quote posted on her blog, and I had to have it! I am a huge fan of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his quotes always 'speak' to me. However, this one by Martha Graham just blows everything out of the water. This IS my belief. It is what I believe in. It is exactly what I try to make others understand. This quote combined with 'The Golden Rule' pretty much sums up my entire belief system and how I try to live every day. I may not always be successful; I certainly am not perfect, make plenty of mistakes and do end up doing things that probably are not the best choice, but I do try.

This quote probably hits home so hard for me right now because of the class I taught last week. Way back, sometime in July, my local quilt shop owner called ME, completely out of the blue, and asked if I could teach a beginning quilt class for kids the week of August 11-15. I was all over that, baby! I was so excited I could barely contain myself. I went to the quilt shop and met with the owner and we discussed our options...of course, it had to be something easy, should we try a simple 9-Patch? I also showed her a picture of Denyse Schmidt's red and white 'Hop, Skip, Jump' quilt, out of her book, "Denyse Schmidt Quilts". (I can't believe there is no 'underline' option here on Blogger=it's going to drive me crazy that I have to leave a book title out there without being underlined!)

She thought a quilt of that sort would be perfect because there were no points that had to be matched and it's pretty random looking, so mistakes wouldn't really show.

So off I go, making a quilt inspired by Denyse, but making some changes to make it a little more my own, including making all of the seams straight. Denyse's design has at least one curvy seam on at least one side of every stip, so it's pretty important to place all strips in a certain pattern. I made all of my strips with straight edges: 1) to make it easier to sew and, 2) to make it possible to put any strip anywhere in the quilt in any order you/they want. I got my quilt made, then, hit with scholarly inspiration (lol!) started in on it with the seam ripper, taking it apart, replacing some things, leaving others out, etc.... My big idea was that I wanted the kids to see the inside of the quilt-basically the back of my top.

I wanted them to know that it was ok to not be perfect. It would be ok if their seams were not exactly 1/4 of an inch. It would be ok if, while they were sewing rows together some of their seams got pushed into the other direction and sewn down facing the opposite way. "Will anyone ever see that?", I asked. "No", they all responded. "When you are all cuddled up on the couch with it, will you feel it?", I asked. "No", they all said. I explained that the first quilting class I ever took, if our seams weren't perfect, or if our points didn't match up exactly, the teacher made us rip it all out and do it over until it was perfect. (That is when the Seam Ripper became my BFF! lol!) I told them about and showed them how to sew 1/4" seams, but, I also told them if they didn't feel comfortable sewing a seam that small to go ahead and sew a 1/2" seam, or a 5/8" seam...whatever they felt most comfortable with. I told them that this was the first quilt they had ever made, and the decisions were their's. It was their quilt...not mine.

This one is actually mine. Just the top...not finished.

You can sort of see that on the far right, down toward the bottom, some scribbly stuff in one of the strips. I decided to embroider my name.

I first went over it with the curved/'S' stitch from left to right. Then, I started couching it all down, from right to left. Not quite finished in this picture.

After that first lesson, 6 kids and I went out into the shop, where they all decided, on their own, what fabrics they were going to make their quilts out of.

To be continued...


Lori said...

Lauri I can't believe it but I am actually enjoying this story about your first class! LOL I can't wait for Part 2. :)

As far as your quote and the way you try to live life...I feel so uninspired. Why can't there be someone like you here?

MichelleB said...

Love hearing about the class. And I love the quilt. How great to teach them that is doesn't have to be perfect on the inside. Looking forward to part two.

Kate said...

Love that quilt - perfect colours!! Happy Birthday for last week.

Kim said...

Thanks for sharing this writing by Martha Graham. Really makes sense! I love all quilts and learning new techniques. Nice to hear about class, too.