When I was in high school, like a million years ago, I took a home ec class. I know what you’re thinking, this girl who talks about being a girl boss and equality in the work place and women’s rights–took a class that revolved around the idea that the woman’s place in the home? First, yes I did. Second, home ec was honestly one of the most interesting and fun classes that I’ve ever taken. Whereas many saw home ec as a regressive concept to the feminism movement, for me it was all about empowering every piece of who I was/am. In fact, if you look back at the history of home ec, it is often attributed to Ellen Swallow Richards who was a boss in and of herself as a chemist and instructor at MIT. I also decided to take the class because my mom, who is the best human being on this planet, decided to focus her life on her kids and her career. When she wasn’t taking us on adventures or carting us around to the 50 different sports that we tried, she was working–saving the lives of other less fortunate kids as a social worker. I would not have asked her to be anyone else–she was the perfect mom. However, some of the things that traditionally a girl learns from her mom, my mom let the grandmas handle–aka the cooking, baking, sewing, etc., many of the things that was taught in home ec.
I looked at it as an opportunity to learn some of these things that I had very little understanding of how to do. We cooked (which I’m still pretty terrible at), baked (which I love to do, but it’s a struggle) and learned to sew (this was where I excelled). The sewing that we did, sparked that creative side of me. For this portion of the class we worked on making a quilt from scratch. I loved being able to take all of these pieces of fabric, any colors or styles that I wanted, sew them together, and be left with an incredible patchwork of squares that eventually made a quilt. I am a creator–I love any activity in which I can use my hands to make something, and sewing/quilting, it turned out, was no different.
I still use that quilt to this day (and I made it in 2005–13 years later) the colors are out of control and it is slightly tacky looking–but I love it so much. In fact, my fiancé said recently (unprompted) that it was his favorite blanket that we owned (even over the super expensive pottery barn throw) and it’s the one that he constantly grabs when we snuggle up to watch a movie.
I had aspirations after I made that quilt back in the day to make my own clothes–especially pants since it’s tough to find a 37″ inseam. But without a sewing machine and heading off to college, that was a pipe dream that fell way behind. Now that I’m a bit older and have been encouraging myself to try “new” things, I decided that it was time to try my hand at sewing again. For Amazon Prime day, I decided that the one purchase I was going to make was a sewing machine. I have all of these old T-shirts from college that I can’t bring myself to throw away, so I figured that was the perfect project–a T-shirt quilt–something that wasn’t super difficult to make, but also that I have been wanting for a long time.
So friends, that’s where I am–I’m beginning the quilting process again, 13 years later. I was surprised at how much came back to me about how the process works and not surprised at the same frustrations that surfaced when things weren’t working. Honestly, my life has been kind of a whirlwind lately. I adore event planning and my new role, it is the perfect combination of challenging, fulfilling (working for a non-profit), and fun. But there are often moments that the amount of time with people and attending events is exhausting to someone who is, by nature, an introvert. So I value the times that I can take some time to be by myself and create. I’ve also found it to be pretty relaxing–the monotonous hum of the machine and the continuous stitch of the needle is somewhat meditative. I’m thrilled that I have re-found another way to create as well as experience a different way to relax.
For any of you interested in trying your hand, here is the link that I have been using as a guide (T-shirt Quilt Pattern) I use this quite loosely– I like to create my own and tend to go off script often, but it’s always good to have something to come back to.
Hope you all are finding ways to push yourselves outside your box but also respect who you are as a person–all of the different yous– and finding ways to let those sides shine.