Happiness is a handmade quilt*

I finished sewing my first quilt last week.  I feel like the word should have an asterisk…  It is a rag rug, officially a ‘quilt as you go’ project, rather than a proper quilt.  A bunch of pairs of fabric squares, each sewn through in an X with a piece of slightly smaller batting in between to make a ‘quilt sandwich’, and then all of those sandwiches joined in rows, and finally the rows joined to make a rectangle, and bound.  It was pleasing to make – not technically difficult, which means I felt free to enjoy the cutting and the sewing and the playing with colour.

I realised in the making of this quilt* that one of the reasons I hate shopping (and I do, in general) is because I don’t like any of the options available for sale.  The sheer amount of pleasure this quilt* has brought me, in the making alone, is far greater than probably all the non-book shopping experiences of my life.  I know I would walk into any shop here in Brisbane selling only quilts, and struggle to find something I want in my house.  THIS quilt*, on the other hand, is, in my humble opinion, so colourful and wonderful that I can’t believe I made it.

A confession needs to be made, perhaps, that I haven’t even officially finished it – although the sewing is all done, the rag rug side of it needs to be snipped in approximately a million places, to make it chenille-y and raggy, but those plans will have to wait…

An old thumb injury is back to haunt me, after carrying things that were too heavy a couple of weeks ago.  I have a definite hot, sore lump where my wrist joins my hand that I’m trying to rest, and watch dispassionately rather than imagining that I’ll never have full use of my dominant hand again.  I’ll let you know how I go with that.

I did bind it yesterday, sewing a strip of blue fabric all around the edges.  I machine sewed the binding on both front and back – hand sewing would be another option, and one I think I’ll explore next time I’m binding something.  While the first side of stitches looks perfect (as it should) the other side is anything but:  I had a terrible time aligning things, so there is visible stitching all over the place.  No close ups, please.

But who needs close ups?  I have this on my couch, and I’m happy, asterisks and all.  Any unsuspecting visitors in the next few weeks may or may not be asked to do a little snipping.  You’ve been warned.


*not actually  a proper quilt.


It feels scary, starting something new like this, but scary in a good way.  I like the feeling of being a beginner at something interesting.  There is so much to learn, and I don’t even really know WHAT there is to learn, yet!  How delicious.

I can’t say for sure what I’m doing here.  On one hand, I feel like the last thing the world needs is another person adding their two cents’ worth to the general overload of two cents’ worths.  And on the other hand, I don’t care if anybody reads this besides me:  I can’t wait to dive into the things I want to think about, and write about.

I’m at a point in my life where I don’t know what happens next.  And rather than freaking out (always such an enticing option) I am trying to stop, breathe, and take a look around.  I’m trying to work out what it is that I want.

Of the things I think I know, I am sure of these:  I want to make things.  I want to write.  I want to raise my children, and be someone my husband and friends want to be around.  I want to grow things in the ground.  I want to cook healthy and delicious meals at home without that becoming a burden or a stress.  I want to have interesting conversations with people.  I want to travel.  I want to read.  If anybody wants to learn, I’d consider it an honour to teach.

It’s the bit about making things that brings me here.  In a world where bad and scary news threatens to overwhelm (I’m looking at you, Donald Trump), the act of making things with my hands seems like something good, and true, and beautiful, and sturdy.  Something reliable, that can be leant on, without giving out.  And I want more of that in my life.

The ‘maker’ part of me is curious, and sleepless, and downright relentless in a way:  How did they do that?  What happens if I join these things together?  Could I draw this like this?  What would it look like if I…?  I want to let this maker part out to play, and I’m going to do that here.

If I had a glass of something – cold rosé?  Why not! – in my hand, I’d raise it to you now:  “Here’s to beginnings!”  I can’t wait to get started.