Monday, June 7, 2010

The Virtue of Patience

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.


  1. How often our to do is what we really do want to do even when the time it takes is costly. Doing this with 3 generations would certainly make it a family keepsake.

  2. If I were near you, I would be more than happy to help with the summer quilt project. I love what you found and, as Gail as already said, this will be a treasured keepsake and represent good times with your family.

  3. In a world of cheap knockoffs, it is nice to know that there is still some value in things done well.

  4. Great find! Many hands make light work. It is good to have company while you are creating. I need to remember that this Summer while my kids are home from school.

  5. Hello my friend! I am sure you will enjoy it immensely when you get going. You are so right, there is so much time, love and thought which goes into something handmade. I always give mind to all those thoughts that pass through our minds as we busy ourselve, all the problems solved and unsolved, all the serious thoughts and the moments of laughter and smiles. I believe that to be the specialness that gets born into a handmade treasure. Lovely post Valerie! Hugs and love to you, Suzie xxxx

  6. It will take time, but imagine the gratification you will feel when it is FINISHED! And if your daughter and mom help out (even just a little) it will make it all the more special.

    How funny it would be if the person who started this quilt came across your blog!!!