Mark My Word Sep/Oct 2008
It was 2005 before I realized that I had super powers. There might have been times when they had surfaced before, but it was definitely just three years ago when my powers moved into high gear.
2005 was the year Evan turned 13. His “You don’t understand, Dad” attitude reached critical mass, and his bedroom was a chaos that you could barely walk through.
I knew one of us would eventually end up on Eyewitness News for mud wrestling over the state of his room, so I took the sage advice of my quilt guild buddies who had learned from parenting their own teens. “Pick your battles,” they’d say. “Just close the door.”
I did. And that’s when I realized that I could see through doors. I had super powers! Every time I walked past Evan’s room, I could literally see the nightmare of dirty clothes, half-eaten sandwiches, and empty soda cans that lay behind the white six-paneled door.
Lately, my super powers have heightened and re-focused on my quilting universe. You see, my friends and family don’t understand that when I look at the piles of fabric I have stashed around the house, I don’t see yardage anymore. I see finished quilts. Yup, just like Haley Joel Osment saw dead people.
When I look at my drawers stuffed full of fat quarters or the bolts of uncut material teetering in stacks, I know exactly how I would arrange them into a perfect piece o’patchwork. I can see the appliqué and I can feel the feathered quilting without ever picking up a rotary cutter or standing at my APQS.
Now when I go to my local quilt shop, I buy freely and without guilt. I don’t just come home with yards of great fabric; I come home with The Dream. I never have to put a single stitch in any of it if I don’t want to because my powers allow me to see finished quilts.
When I buy books or patterns that I know I’ll never use but simply must have, I let myself off the shamehook because I know I’m buying The Dream. For that matter, when people buy my patterns or take my classes, I don’t care if they ever actually finish the project—I don’t think I’ve ever finished a quilt class project myself— because they bought their own dream. As creative mortals and quilters, we have the right (and the super powers) to dream and buy and never sew a thing and still proudly call ourselves quilters.
When I’m having a rotten day, I only have to riffle through a few of my fabric piles to get in touch with the ghosts of my future quilts, and I immediately feel better, grounded, and at peace with the world. If I want to cut, piece, and create a quilt with what I have, then great! If not, that’s OK, too. Nobody but a fellow quilter could ever understand this fine print in the Quilter’s Code.
So stop beating yourself up for buying more fabric than you’ll ever use. Get rid of the guilt that comes with UFOs and scads of unopened patterns, books, and magazines. Tune out your critics and the quiltzillas who use you as an example of having too much quilting stuff and doing too little with it. It’s none of their business, nor do their wallets foot the bill.
Get in touch with your own super powers, then design, cut, sew— or not—to your heart’s content!
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