I want to introduce you to a very special, very interesting lady, named Carmen. She lives in Spain, and is a regular internet customer here at Stitchin’ Heaven. We always look forward to hearing from Carmen whether it is via phone or e-mail. She is a delightful person, she always has a kind word and an uplifting spirit. As I read her story, I was almost brought to tears to find that someone so far away, can be so close, and so dear to us simply through the art of quilting. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I did. Enjoy …
I really can’t tell what made me feel so attracted to patchwork, but it was love at first sight. In my country, Spain, there is no similar tradition and I was not exposed to patchwork until I was a young adult. I was never lucky enough to sleep under a quilt made by my grandmother, to fall asleep hearing my mother at the sewing machine or to be allowed to play with fabric leftovers … The first quilts I saw were in a book, and I bought it right away. I had to have that treasury of colors and shapes. There were just a few pictures in that book, and no instructions whatsoever. It sat in my library, fueling my dreams of sometime being able to accomplish something similar, for years. I never tired of looking at those pictures and wondering how something so beautiful could be put together. It was years before I could put my hands on a quilt and feel its soft cotton fabrics and batting and see the tiny stitches someone had used to quilt it.
Then one summer, a friend of mine asked me to help her … her parents had an American student staying in their house and she needed some help with the language. This girl was in college, about the same age my friend and I were, and when I asked if she knew anything related with patchwork, it worked out she was one of these lucky girls with sisters, mother, grandmother and aunts all quilters! So, we spent the summer making templates and tracing and cutting and sewing … and I haven’t stopped since!
I have a huge library of patchwork books now … and luckily enough they’re full of instructions, so I’ve slowly taught myself new techniques. We still fall far behind in terms of fabrics and notions, but more material is reaching us all the time. I can’t cease to wonder at all the brilliant sewing methods and all the new fabrics, notions and quilts constantly being produced. There is so much more to learn, and so many quilts I want to make! My husband says I will need four or five more lives to complete them all … he just doesn’t calculate how many more quilts I will feel the urge to make if I live more lives!
Apart from the more material aspects of patchwork, such as collecting a stash or producing beautiful quilts, I now know there is another part I love about all this … and its the wonderful fraternity and generosity among quilters. Of course, my quilts are far from perfect, but every time I’ve shown one, comments have always been sooooo kind. A patchwork colleague will always praise your work. There will always be something nice she can point out about your quilt, and if you show a corner that doesn’t match perfectly or a fabric choice that didn’t work out to be as great as you thought it would, she will always tell you it’s all right. Maybe feeling so easily contented sounds stupid, but in such a competitive and aggressive world as we find ourselves in sometimes … I just love this. Who needs a psychiatrist when you can spend time cutting and sewing and then show the result to a friend and receive the nicest comments on earth?? Ladies, we could spend ten times more on patchwork supplies, and still be saving money compared to visiting a doctor. My husband confesses he feels envy of this comradeship. He also has a hobby … he makes model airplanes, ships and tanks … He surfs the web and shows pictures of his beautiful works in discussion forums and … he receives so many trivial criticisms … it must be testosterone! Comments like “That shade of green you painted your tank with wasn’t used until Spring of 1944 and the battle you are recreating took place in the winter of 1943”, and I can assure you it’s the most beautiful model you’ve ever seen! I pat him on the back and tell him its all right and that his models are beautiful and that I love him … and I smile to myself and know how lucky I am to have such nice friends from patchwork.
So, my deepest gratitude and admiration go out for all of you. You are not only warming our naps with your extraordinary quilts … you also warm our hearts with your unpayable kindness. Thank you for making this world more colorful and warm.