On a recent foray to Goodwill, I came across a zip lock stuffed with bits and pieces of a quilt someone had started, but never finished. A bargain at $14.99, I bought it and was excited to get home and see what all was in the bag. I found about 25 finished blocks, and enough pieced sections for about 25 more blocks. The fabric appeared to be vintage, and the hand stitching well executed. This quilt had been started by an excellent quilter, and I wondered what had happened that the quilt was never finished. “This will make a good summer project." I told myself, but after about 20 minutes of rearranging the squares, and marveling at the interesting colors and designs of the fabric I lost my resolve and stuffed everything back in the bag. “This would take so long to finish.” I decided. I didn’t really feel I’d have the time and that was that. Perhaps my dear mom, an excellent quilter, would be able to do something with it.
Last week, as I watched footage of the massive BP oil spill, and thought about the way the world is now-so fast and complicated and full of staggering problems-I thought about simpler, slower times. And I began to appreciate the making of a quilt. I know you can buy mass produced quilts-but I don’t mean those. I mean the kind that I found at Goodwill-the kind that someone had planned to sew herself. I thought about the reasons why I love objects that are handmade, including those I make myself-- they are crafted by a person, an artist who puts heart and soul into into his or her work, and they are usually made to last for a long time. And I realized one more reason, too. That those handmade items take time to make. They require a commitment of hours and attention and an understanding that things of beauty don’t always happen overnight. This is a tough concept in our hurried world where we are used to instant gratification. I was guilty of this myself.
The quilt is once again on my list of summer projects-I want to see it finished because it will be really pretty when it is done. I’m also going to see if both my mom and my daughter want to help me. I know that patience is something I need to learn, but I’d like to have some company while I do.