I was a quilt maker at one time. I enjoyed piecing together fabric and made several crib-sized blankets for new babies. Since I’m not a great rule follower–which means I need to modify any and all patterns/directions that I read–I quickly tired of it. Then I found art quilts.
In art quilting you can do whatever you want with whatever you want. I made several of these also.
I look at quilting as my gateway craft. Because it led to everything else.
I started quilting and then tried rubber stamping. That led to paper crafts. Then there was fiber–knitting, crocheting, and cross stitch. Which all led to my love of glass.
Glass, I don’t think I can quite communicate how much I love it. I love the way it feels–so smooth! It’s shiny (I’m partial to shiny). The colors are glorious. I started with fusing–melting glass in my kiln. Which led to lampworking, aka bead making.
Sitting behind the torch, listening to my iPod, making glass beads was pure meditation for me. I used the colors I loved and made the beads I loved. Using a powerful flaming instrument is empowering! If I can control fire, I can control anything!
Sure, there were accidents. Glass gets hot and stays hot for a long time. There was a time when I had no fingerprints left because I had scorched them away. Many pairs of pants had pin holes where shards of glass had flown and burned through the fabric. I’m not complaining though. Those injuries, scars, and burn holes are the bead maker’s uniform. It’s how we relate to one another. It’s how we know we are fearless.
Alas, my bead making days have taken a backseat since I have inflammatory arthritis in my hands. I have an autoimmune disease and this is one side effect. Think of it as rheumatoid arthritis without the eventual deformities. I can’t use my hands to make the spinning motion needed to apply and form the glass on the steel mandrel.
So I’ve stepped out of my studio and am quietly mourning my bead making days. I sold my big girl torch this spring, but kept my little Hot Head torch. One of these days I will make beads. I just know it won’t be done for hours on end like it was a few years ago.
Now I am knitting. Knitting needles require a completely different motion than the mandrels do. Knitting is portable–in fact, I started a pair of socks while waiting for the twins’ discus event at the state track meet! Knitting patterns can be modified to fit my whims of the moment.
Of course, the best part of any hobby is the accumulation phase. Tools must be gathered and creative materials hunted. My glass collection and my yarn collection are quite similar in their colors. I think your stash personality is as individual as your finger prints (if you still have any!). Right now I am in yarn accumulation mode. I have more projects on the needles than I care to admit. But I love all three projects I have going and don’t want to stop any of them!
Yes, quilting has been quite the gateway craft…