Saturday, October 27, 2018

Starting Small

Thursday after Bible study--we're studying the women in the lineage of Jesus if anyone's interested--I was drawn to the fabric store, our local JoAnn's. I've just finished a couple of large projects and I needed something smaller. Yes, smaller would be a good thing. The star at right is a "small" version of an old quilt block pattern called the Lonestar. Except for the gold corners and the pale background fabric, which also has gold flecks, it's made from 2 1/2 inch strips. Even though I tried to  starch the stretch out of it, I still had some, ah, challenges to overcome. A seasoned quilter might be able to tell you just from looking what they might be, but I'm going to leave it to your imagination.

Yes, I needed a small project. A couple of weeks ago I decided I needed to practice a technique before using it on another project--more about that later. I'm glad I did, for I learned a lot. It's hard not to learn a lot with every project because I'm what's called a confident beginner. This was my practice project. I'm seriously thrilled with the table runner.

On Thursday, though, I was drawn to fall colors, and usually this time of year when winter is near, I'm more apt to cling to my white pants and bright colors until well into November.

On my first couple of trips up and down the back wall that held the quilter's cottons, nothing caught my eye. On my third trip, the red with gold sparkled fabric and the brown print, both luscious, didn't just speak to me, they sang. I'd noticed them before, but they didn't really lend themselves to clothing. They were, after all, quilter's cotton. As I stacked them into my cart, I wasn't optimistic that I'd find just the right prints that would go together for the project I had in mind. Remember, I'm a baby boomer. I was raised in the era when we were told never to wear two prints together. Though my mom had been a quilter, it was more out of necessity. During the depression you used what materials were available. But I digress.

Humble beginnings
They look beautiful spread out on my cutting table, but if I never took a blade to them, they'd be useless. Unrealized potential. Looking back over my sixty-something years, I shake my head over the opportunities I've missed. What would have happened if I'd gone back to work when we first moved to South Carolina? I thought I was applying for a secretarial position, but they offered me a position with much more responsibility, but I turned it down. Or after my youngest left the nest? Certainly I wouldn't have become an author.  I learned the craft of writing the hard way. By writing. I made every newbie mistake several times over. And eventually--three times--I received the e-mail that told me a publisher not only felt my book had promise, but that they definitely wanted to publish it, and the sequel.  I've heard from readers who've said it came to them at a time when they  needed its message. I'm more grateful than I can say that she shared a bit of her story with me, and humbled that God used my book to help her in some small way. And I digress, again.
I've always had trouble starting small. In school, I shunned study hall because an extra year of math and a third year of French sounded
interesting. Result: I was loaded down, shown by the stack of books I lugged home every day. While my employer was paying for my night school, I decided that I might as well take an additional class--three nights at school couldn't be too much harder than two, right?  I thought I'd outgrown that tendency, but apparently not. My first book wasn't small. I wrote and re-wrote it--from scratch--three times. Then I revised. Again and again and again. The first time I submitted it, it was close to four hundred pages.

My first quilt project began as a table runner and became a king-sized bed quilt. Yesterday I decided that while I was making one set of mug rugs, I might as well cut out the fabric and make two sets while I was at it. I'll be kind to myself and say my reach sometimes exceeds my grasp. Apparently I still have a problem starting small.  Then, this afternoon, after I finished the first two mug rugs, there was still time before my date with my husband, so I started two more. Yep. I did it again. But, looking at this morning's small project gives me great satisfaction.

Small things have potential to be a big blessing. Whether a smile given to a checker at the grocery store or a few yards of fabric. These strips turned into something larger and more useful.

Ready for quilting
But, would my time last night and this morning have been wasted if I'd chosen to sit down and read? I don't believe so. Perhaps I'm finally learning the lesson. I'm always in training. Perhaps something I read or write--something so small as a sometimes rambling blog post might make a difference. I may never know. So, my friend. Join me on this journey. I'm not going to wait to post until I have something witty or profound to share. I'll try to be concise, but I'm not going to guarantee anything.

If you'd like a chance to win a set of these mug rugs--just large enough for a cup of your favorite beverage and a plate of cookies or a sandwich,  check back in soon. There are exciting things coming up very soon. I hope you'll come back. I'll try to be concise, but I can't guarantee I'll succeed.


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing Teresa. I love to hear how God uses the ordinary things in our lives to teach us profound truths. One small beginning can truly make a difference.

Unknown said...

Thanks Teresa. I enjoyed you sharing a part of your life and the lessons you have learned.

Pam Adamson said...

Thank you Teresa for everything you do. You are so talented and sometimes I think you don't see how talented you are. I loved reading your books! I also love seeing your creations. You are truly an inspiration to me.