Groucho Marx said, “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.”
For several years I’ve chosen a “word of the year,” intending to use the word to focus my attention, or at least frame my experiences. In 2018 I chose the word “FUN!” My hope was to add more whimsy, more play into my making.
Did I succeed? Sure, probably. Somewhat, at least! I made a bunch of quilts, some that inspired and delighted me, and others that felt less engaging. I’ve already showed you pix of three for which I enjoyed both process and outcome, and I’ll add in the table runner I finished early this month. Click any photo to open the gallery and see more detail.
In some ways these four are quite different from each other. The Old Schoolhouse uses muted colors and simple piecing. I added hand-embroidery to the center block, used orphan flying geese in the middle border, and custom-quilted it. It has an old-fashioned vibe that pleases me. Hands and Hearts went from concept to finished quilt in about three weeks. It is my first all-appliqué quilt and required the help of Jim and 18 other people to pull it off. The untitled quilt top shows a flower vase surrounded by both organic and geometric shapes. Its classic medallion quilt styling is made current by an explosion of color. And the Christmas table runner? Slightly reminiscent of the Old Schoolhouse, isn’t it? But it’s modified from a pattern (by Monique Jacobs,) in colors and size of my choosing. The pattern was well-written, giving me a fast and attractive project.
What they have in common was that each was made purely to please me. Okay, yeah. Hands and Hearts was a wedding gift for my son and his bride — I hope they like it, too. And the Amish Houses is a sample for an upcoming guild workshop. But what I did and how I did it was just for me.
Most of all, they were fun. FUN! Fun to see them develop. Fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Now, reader warning: the rest of my post is more like one of those deadly Christmas letters from someone who brags too much about how smart their toddler is — all the honors, all the awards!! But because I use this blog both to share things I hope will be interesting and/or useful to you, and as a journal of sorts for me, I’m going to indulge myself.
Aside from quilting, my year was fun, interesting, and rewarding. I had two bucket-list opportunities that satisfied me deep in my soul. One was the recent trip to Peru, and one was viewing the satellite launch in March from Cape Canaveral. From ancient land to futuristic technology, Jim and I experienced several thousand years of human advancement. Add to that the chance to visit Mt. St. Helen’s in southern Washington state, and we can include millions of years of geologic time.
Our son got married in July to a wonderful woman and we couldn’t be more pleased. They are expecting their first baby next year, adding to the love in our family. Being together with them and our daughters’ families for the celebration was a really special time.
Two more noteworthy family occasions were granddaughters’ graduations, one from high school on the east coast and one from middle school closer to us. We were fortunate to be able to be with both of them.
On the way back from the east coast, at the beginning of June, we made a stop that took us back almost four decades. One summer while Jim was in graduate school and I was an undergrad working for the university, we met in a residence hall cafeteria. Though the building was empty when we stopped on campus this year, a door was left unlocked by accident. We were able to go in and revisit the place we met. During a long-ago hot summer, while I visited with a friend over lunch, I asked my friend Dan, “Who is that guy?” Dan hollered down the table to Jim to introduce us. ❤
The same stop reconnected me to more friends from those days, and gave the chance to relive happy memories of my best friend in college. Val, I loved her so. She passed away a few years ago, long before her time.
I had other opportunities to revisit my past, including a high school reunion and a mini-reunion of some grade school mates. My high school class was large, around 450 people. I didn’t know many very well and hadn’t been to previous reunions. But there were a few people I wanted to see and figured this could be my last chance to do so. We never know how much time we’ll have, do we? It was gratifying to revisit my home town and some of the places I spent so much time, as well as see some special people again. As much as I didn’t want to go to earlier gatherings, I’m so very glad I went to this one.
My grade school class, in contrast, was quite small. We’ve been getting together as able for several years. In August five of us met at Mark’s house in northern Illinois. We cooked, we laughed, we celebrated and told stories. Being able to see these people, so much a part of who I became, always does me good.
On top of all that were some decisions I’ve made about quilting’s place in my life. Most of all, my priority is on quilting and writing for pleasure. My minimal interest in designing patterns, either for sale or for magazine publication, has dissipated completely. My intention to write my book about medallion quilting has gone, for specific reasons, and it’s very improbable that I’ll resurrect that project.
What I will do is keep quilting and writing for pleasure. For fun. If I do that, I have no need for any future “word of the year.” As long as I’m having fun, I’m doing it right.
Thank you as always for reading. I wish you many blessings in the new year.