3 Quilting decisions that improved my life

Tonight is our blogapalooza challenge which allows an hour to write a publish a blog on an assigned topic. Here is tonight's:

“Write about a decision you made that changed the course of your life for better or worse.”

I've made lots of decisions over the course of my lifetime. Most of them I don't even remember and others have been momentous. I think I've covered lots of those. I wanted to talk about quilting decisions tonight.

You're rolling your eyes, worrying this will be about which fabric or thread I've decided to use. Although that would be tons of fun and I reserve the right to describe that one day, this will be a tad more scintillating.

I have found that when one thing changes in your life, others follow suit. It's like you have more courage because life on earth didn't end, might as well change things up a bit more. One of these moments came for me in 2010 when I retired from full time teaching and subsequently made 3 quilting decisions that improved my life.

I decided to buy a Gammill longarm quilting machine and it pretty much scared me to death. My husband really encouraged me

My first quilt

My first quilt

to take the plunge and I got a bonus for retiring early. I screwed up my courage and selected a machine is one day at International Quilt Festival in Chicago, April of 2010.

Up until this point I had been sewing and quilting pretty much the same way since Home Ec in 1967 and my first quilt class in 1983. I found solace in the repetition and following patterns. There was predictability and a sameness that leveled out my teaching and parenting life.

I would sew a top in the summer and quilt it at night in the fall. I would make another one over winter break and quilt that over the spring. I would buy new patterns and fabric each summer and I was

Summer of 2010, learning to use this huge machine

Summer of 2010, learning to use this huge machine

content.

After decades of that, my wrist was worn out! Grading thousands of papers by hand had also contributed to the wear and tear. Buying and learning how to use my Gammill has given me my arm back, no more pain! One major decision had worked out, how about another one?

I chose to go online and see what others were doing and discovered modern quilting.  I was so intrigued to see such different looking quilts and bright colors. I had to check this out!

About this same time my dependable and favorite quilt store went out of business. I had to

One of my first modern quilts - a baby quilt for Zara

One of my first modern quilts - a baby quilt for Zara

seek out new shops and saw that there were lots of classes out there. I learned new things and new ways of looking at quilts.

I researched guilds and joined a modern one plus I subscribed to new magazines, not just the one I had been reading for 30 years. I met new people and saw what they were making. I bought books and fabrics and my head was exploding. I had to process all of this!

I began writing a quilt blog and then moved it to ChicagoNow. All of my life I have processed by reading and writing and now I had more time to do both. I met all kinds of quilters who wrote other blogs, read my blogs, tweeted or Facebooked about quilting.

I also met other bloggers and learned so much about the ins and outs of writing a blog and

One of my very first memes I created for my Facebook page

One of my very first memes I created for my Facebook page

creating a Facebook page. In my teaching career I had always written grants, letters, newsletters and hand outs so writing fluidly was now expanded in a whole new direction.

I learned so much from all these new digital relationships. I went to Quilt shows all over the country that I had never heard of before. Then I got to blog about them like I used to travel and then teach about where I had gone.

Only writing a blog was a way better outlet, I didn't have to grade any projects or settle any classroom issues. Had I decided to keep teaching I would be seeking new stimulation and ideas that way. Instead I choose to retire and expand my mind, skills and friendships in a whole different arena.

I am thrilled that I learned how to Longarm, incorporated modern techniques and decided to share it all in written fashion. If I hadn't I wouldn't have a darn thing to write about now and you'd be reading someone else's thoughts. Instead we're all here together.

Isn't the quilting life just grand?

Sew happy!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at QuiltingSewingCreating@gmail.com

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