It started with the Road 2 California quilt show in Ontario, CA. I LOVE this quilt show (partly because my lovely daughter lives in the vicinity) but mostly because it is a larger show than most (with over 100 vendors) and the quilts entered for prizes are simply incredible. I found wonderful new patterns to buy and try and took photos of some of the more outstanding entries that peaked my interest. I was inspired everywhere I turned, sometimes by a small element of a particular quilt, or by an unusual combination of colors used in a quilt or even just by the subject matter of an entry. I even drooled over the clothing and soft-sculpture dolls that were entered and dream about maybe trying one of those some day.
I took two all-day classes at the show: one was Sharyn Craig's very last class. After teaching quilting for 30 years, this amazingly prolific and proficient quilter is retiring (yes, there were tears.) Without a doubt, Sharyn's books, classes and lectures have inspired me more than any other quilter. The class I took was a simple but wonderful quilt, (one I will teach when her book comes out in May--it's pictured here) but I just wanted to be in her presence once more--and I was not disappointed. Her philosophy about quilting is refreshingly simple but time and again, she turns out the most wonderful quilts, ones that really, most of us could actually make!
The other class was taught by Mary Kerr and was about dating quilts. I was in a room with 22 other antique quilt enthusiasts whose knowledge of history and the womanly art of quilting blew me away! As we scanned each of the quilts we'd brought to gauge, the constant tidbits of information tossed out by everyone at random about color fads, design, historical data, dye processes, etc., boggled my mind. I attended this class to better my understanding of fabric dating and came out after 6-hours knowing one thing more than any other: that there is so much to learn about the history of quilts and quilting as an American art form that I'm inspired to seek out every class I can on the subject to learn more.
Then I came back and gave both my lectures to two Bay Area quilt guilds. Every quilt guild I visit has similarities to others and yet, each is so different. The similarities begin with friendly, creative, cheerful women who love to share and they differ in the way they organize their blocks of the month, drawings and other creative entertainment. One guild I visited had recently lost a guild member who left instructions to donate her collection of quilt books to her guild upon her passing. The membership was collecting a dollar for each of her wonderful books which not only made money for her cherished guild but gave the members something of hers to inspire them. How very nice!
Yesterday, the last day of my busy January, I started the Block of the Month class for Beehive Quilts in Woodland which will go for 10 months. Peggy, the owner, put the bug in my ear to create this BOM several months ago and although I'd never designed a BOM myself, I was inspired to do so with her encouragement. As it turns out, I'm very happy with what I've come up with and the 72 (!) quilters who signed up for this BOM seemed quite happy when they saw my first block offerings. That will inspire me to look forward every month to these gatherings.
There is inspiration everywhere you look. Not only for quilt patterns and color palates but also for little attitude changes that allow you to see not only your potential as a quilter but also the potential in every corner of your life. You only have to open your eyes--and your heart--and let it in!