17 July 2006

On Women and Fabric

Quilting is more than a hobby for me. It has become part of my dreams. When I look at scenery, or paintings, or anything of beauty, I see quilts. I see color and fabric and ponder how to best use fabric to represent that. Perhaps some would say it is a sickness.

Saturday several women from my guild gathered together to sew quilts for our community service projects. We make quilts for babies at our local hospital who's mothers have nothing, and for the local Medicare nursing home, for children taken from their parents under stressful circumstances and for soldiers in the amputee unit at Walter Reed Army hospital. I have custody of the community service fabric and with the help of a friend made up kits to sew on Saturday. I loved the design process. Some of the fabric was, well, ugly would be kind. But in the right setting, it became lovely. I'm learning to design outside my box. I love that.

This morning I went to a bee. A gathering of quilters to sit and sew for a couple of hours and chat about everything and nothing. The conversation wandered down many paths. At a certain point we had to inquire as to the whereabouts of our hostess' husband because the conversation had wandered into a canyon where only the bravest man might dare to go. The group involved many different women from all walks and times of life. Most of us have known one another for a long time. There is something about holding fabric and thread that breaks down walls and allows talk to flow. The masks come off. Stories get told and the atmosphere is one of acceptance. Gifts and experiences are shared with little thought of rejection. I realized this morning that it is a true joy to me that I share in this art of my foremothers and in so doing, I am participating in this dance of relationships that women have shared throughout the ages. That quilting uses fabric, but it also weaves the fabric of society. That I could not do this alone, and that my life is so much richer for it.


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