Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quilting Adventures in Texas

Howdy!  That's how I talk now, since I have been spending so much time in Texas.  Let me take my boots  off and sit a while so I can tell you about the great time I had with my posse at the T&M Bar Ranch. 
The round up started after a BBQ in the chuck wagon dining hall. Then my posse and I had a meet and greet in our room called, of course,  the Bluebonnet. I could tell right away that this was a great group of woman as they circled there sewing machines around the room.  

I studied the room.  They all looked a little scared.  I saw big eyes and tight lips with nervous smiles.  That is a normal look for the first night and I promised them that I had their back and I would help them all along the way.  I don’t think they really believed me yet.

Then we went around the room introducing ourselves, sharing where we came from and what we would like to create in class this week.  There was a big silence as we met Kathy. She and her friend Lynn drove to Texas, from Ohio.  That's a 24 hours drive if you are keeping track.

Kathy kind of did a nervous little laugh, as she informed me and the class, that she is new to sewing. In fact, she just did her first stitches, ever (!), 2 days ago, on her new sewing machine, which she doesn’t really know how to use yet!   I heard a gasp from around the room. We have a true green horn here I said to myself as I swallowed hard. This is going to be tricky.

The next morning, after some delicious and hardy vittles, we all got started. The week seemed to fly by.  The most exciting part, to me, was to watch Kathy, the green horn. She may have been scared, and I know she was, but she pushed right through it.  She assembled her flower and now it was time for the free motion thread play. How were we going to do this? The only way I know is to practice, practice, practice. So we made a quilt sandwich for her to play on. The first stitches where about 4 inches long, then 3inches, then 1. By the end of that day she was able to write her name in cursive. She stayed up late that night practicing all kinds of shapes.  

In the morning she had made another sample and was now making the veins in flower petals and leaves.  She practiced for 2 days and then felt confident to start her flower.  On that day, she left the room for a while and I didn’t know where she went.  Later,  I found out she was in the lobby outside our classroom  having a tearful moment of joy.  She was proud of herself and so was I.  We all clapped and cheered for her and each other as each student made progress in battling their fears of trying something new.  I was the proud teacher of all my girls.  Each was trying something new and harder than they would normally do and all were having great success.

That night at dinner, I sat with a table of new people I hadn't been with before. I like to mix it up and meet new people.  At the head of the table was a lady pontificating about how you need to have some experience as a quilter to truly enjoy this kind of venue.  I politely stopped her and pointed to Kathy across the room and asked You see that girl over there smiling from ear to ear?  The whole table turned and looked at her. She had never sewn a stitch in her life until yesterday. She came to my class full of fear, not only of sewing but of life in general. I also know she has overcome some big and difficult things in her life and now she is free motion quilting her flower and having a ball.  I looked back at my table mates and saw 2 girls had tears rolling down their cheeks.  I then said I don’t think you need to know anything to be here. You only need an open heart to want to learn.  I never saw that lady again but I know that my girls in class learned a lot and so did I.  

Here is our new star's work! You go Kathy, the sewing world is at you feet.
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