Learning to Make a Quilt


When I was young I made my first attempt at making a quilt.  I had received some instruction, thought I'd listened and learned well, but the quilt just never really worked out.  Oh, I finished it anyway.  I was taught better than to not finish what you start.  Still, I was very disappointed in it and really never looked at it again once I put it down.

Not one to be kept down for long, however, I soon made a second quilt.  This poor quilt was a disaster from the get-go; but I would not admit it.  I worked on this quilt for a very, very long time.  Like the first quilt, it did have a few pieces that weren't bad, but eventually I had to just call it what it was - another failed attempt. I had tried so hard too.  I think that, along with the time I put into it, is what made it so frustrating and heart-wrenching when I finally had to face defeat.

Long ago, when I was still a girl, I had seen the beginning of a very beautiful quilt.  One day I came across the pieces again and my heart was so excited.  I decided to make a third quilt - believing that this time it would be different. I carefully started putting the pieces I'd found together and, for awhile, it seemed like this quilt was going to be my masterpiece.  Finally!  But, alas - the pieces were too old, too fragile, time had caused the pieces to depreciate and they just could not hold up anymore and fell apart in my hands. This truly devastated me.  I had never wanted a quilt so much in my life as I had wanted this one.  Even after I had given up, I would still look longingly at the pieces every day.  It was torture.   I decided I never wanted to make another quilt for the rest of my life.

I was extremely depressed.  I could not understand why others could make such beautiful quilts with seemingly little effort; yet I had struggled ... been persistent .... tried so much harder than they .... and my reward had still been failure.  It didn't seem fair.

Then, I saw this movie.  "How To Make An American Quilt".  The quilt turns out beatifully.  Every square seemingly so perfect; until you start to learn the meanings behind each square.  Every one of them tells a story of relationships that had ups and downs; success and failure.  Some of the stories are actually quite sad - what I would have called failures - what I DID call failures in my own life.  Suddenly I realized that nothing is perfect.  All of our lives are like that quilt.  Some squares tell pretty stories and some tell of sadness and failure.  But when you put them all together they make a wonderful statement about us.  I think the movie puts it this way; "follow your intuition and be brave". 

When I look at the three quilts I've attempted I realize that even following your intuition doesn't gaurantee success - but being brave will keep you going until the quilt it done.  I have deffinately been brave.  And honestly, because of my failures, my intuition is better than it has ever been.

Right now I am salvaging pieces from my first three quilts.  I'm going to start a fourth quilt.  This time I KNOW I'm going to get it right. Of course "right" is subjective, isn't it?  lol ...

I suppose all that is really important is that "I" like my quilt.  It may be taking me longer to learn how to make a quilt than it does some - but I have a feeling that the stories told in the squares of my quilt just might be more interesting in the long run.


A beautiful and touching movie that both opened my eyes and inspired me.  I would recommend this movie for anyone who feels like their lives are in pieces and are trying to put themselves back together again.  We all have our stories to tell, don't we.  ... one quilt square at a time until we get it right.....

JuliaLeann JuliaLeann
46-50, M
Aug 4, 2009