For me, quilting has always been about connections – connecting pieces of fabric with other fabric and trying to make it perfectly square again.
I’m kidding. The absurdity, however, of cutting fabric into pieces, then being upset when they aren’t square after being sewn together with a kind-of-quarter-inch seam is not lost on me.
What is truly not absurd, however, are the very real, emotional connections that quilting has brought to my life.
My mom and I started quilting about the same time – 15 years ago. And for us, quilting has been something to talk about, get excited about and complain about. It’s kept the 500 mile distance between us seem shorter than it is.
My mother-in-law has even gotten into the act. And, honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that – it’s my thing, with my mom. But her generous spirit – she’s given quilts to kids at a Mexican orphanage – is something from which I can learn. She’s even moved away from the novelty prints, that’s progress in my book.
It’s the connections that I’ve made with people in my neighborhood, my community and my state. I was lucky enough to fall in with quilters who fit into all three of those areas when my husband and I moved to Michigan, a dozen years ago.
Although I was a rookie quilter at the time, they invited me to participate in a block exchange – where we each make the other’s block and you end up with enough blocks for a quilt. Or, in my case, enough blocks to fill up a pizza box or plastic storage bag (no excuse really sounds good here, so I’ll just say it: I’m a procrastinator and extremely distracted – never a good combination).
Ruth’s Block Exchange (Ruth has the meetings at her house, organizes it and figures out who’s making who’s block at what time ergo it’s hers) has served as an opportunity for me to learn more about quilting and to hone my skills. More than that though, it’s given me a glimpse into the lives of women I wouldn’t know otherwise. (To check out our block exchange – see the following blogs: http://lavender-pie.blogspot.com/; http://kuhlquilter.blogspot.com/; http://rdukelow.blogspot.com/; or http://lisabquilter.blogspot.com/.)
I’ve seen them meet the challenges that face all of us with a grace and poise that I only hope to have in similar situations. Each one of them, in her (I’m not stereotyping, there aren’t any men in this group) own way, has offered me a lesson. They’ve met challenges with the usual tears but more often, they greet their challenges with a great sense of humor.
Without a doubt, for me, quilting has filled in gaps, given me a creative outlet and been the bridge to connections that will last my whole life.
My name is Eileen Casey Gianiodis. I’m a Western New York native, living in mid-Michigan. I’m married to a fabric-tolerant guy. We have three children. Quilting is something I do so that I can have an excuse to purchase fabric at regular intervals. Check out my blog at http://beanieg.blogspot.com/.