Fast forward to 1993 when I began quilting--and here's a timeline on the evolution of this quilter:
1993 - 1995: I want to learn how to quilt! Buy a book and fabric from Joann's. Cut out everything using cardboard templates and the good Gingher shears and piece by hand. Find the guild--get blown away with what other people do and learn about local quilt shops, quality fabric and rotary cutters! And you can use your sewing machine to quilt! Take classes from excellent teachers and mentors. Buy a top-of-the-line sewing machine with embroidery attachment. I WANT TO LEARN IT ALL AND DO IT ALL.
1996 - 1997: Quilting takes a back seat when I remarry my husband, renovate and sell a house, buy and move into another house, and take in my two stepsons to rear in addition to our son and have my mother along to boot. Spend the majority of evenings and weekends in my minivan carting the kids from one activity to another.
1998 - 2001: I absorb everything I can about quilting, I master Electric Quilt, I serve as a chat host in the AOL quilting community, take classes, and attend the shows in Houston four times and Paducah twice--and still, I WANT TO DO IT ALL. Mom passes away and 4 months later, 9/11. Start reflecting on what it is I really want to do because so far, in 8 years, I've only completed 5 quilts. Most of the fabric in my stash is either Christmas-oriented or has Christmas colors--the same colors that dominate our living room.
2003: Open up a quilt shop with friends. Teach classes, mentor customers, buy lots of fabric, have a ball. Manage to piece a couple of tops, but I'm so busy with shop paperwork in addition to working full-time away from the shop that there's no time to quilt.
2007: Purchase a longarm machine to use at the quilt shop. Never have time to use it.
2009-2010: Make the decision to close the brick and mortar shop and go exclusively online. Move the shop to our basement. Set up the longarm. Still no time to quilt. Middle son gets married; no time to make them a wedding quilt. End of 2010: Make the decision to close the shop. In my stash, the majority of the fabric is reproductions and muddy tones, but on a trip to California in the summer of 2010, I purchase only brights.
2011-2012: Purchase an Accuquilt Studio die cutter to help me with the thing I dislike the most about quilting--all that cutting. Manage to do some piecing and take on a large applique project. Take down the longarm to complete renovations; finally get it back up mid-2012. Family events take over as our empty nest days end with the revolving of our front door. Take a class with Mary Lou Weidman in Tulsa and get inspired by lots of bright fabrics. Don't purchase fabric again until December for a baby quilt. Spare time is spent making pajamas for all of the kids and their significant others for Christmas.
First half of 2013: Make the decision to make quilting a major focus of my life. Reorganize my studio and find a dozen tops that need to be quilted. Purge a plethora of books, patterns and fabric that I no longer want. Have not bought an inch of fabric so far this year. Complete two quilts as gifts, and finally tackle the quilting of two tops made to celebrate our two younger sons' graduations from high school in 2002 and 2006. FEELING GOOD ABOUT MY QUILTING. Working on the longarm with Ross' quilt and seeing the saturated colors come alive with the interplay of quilting thread gives me a feeling of completeness.
NOW: It has taken me 20 years to get to the place where I want to be with my quilting. The last 20 years have been cluttered with all the other things I had to do. While I'm still committed to finishing most of the projects that have been lying in wait in The Bins for several years, I'm ready to tackle projects that are in my head instead of someone else's design or pattern. My studio is reorganized and functional, and I am both stimulated and soothed the moment I step into it. It will always be a work in progress, but I'm happy to work with what I have now.
I no longer want to do it all, and it feels good.
I'll have an update on progress very soon.