May I tell you all about my lovely Friday afternoon?
The lead up to it began a couple of weeks ago when I got an email from a FunQuilts fan from Germany who was coming to run in the Chicago Marathon. OK, I thought. You have my attention.
It turns out that this woman is a contemporary quilter who lives in a town with fabric shops that are way too traditional for her taste. Oh and by the way, she has four children and is a civil engineer. Oh yeah and there’s the marathon business. Anyway, as a woman who can only fit in one hour of exercise a day and can barely manage one child, I put my self-esteem issues aside in the name of compassion. Bill and I agreed that we would let her come to the studio to buy the fabric that she cannot get where she lives. From the sound of it, there aren’t even e-commerce sites for buying fabric. Can you imagine? She had bought a copy of the German version of our first book while traveling in Munich but her local resources are clearly really limited. She noticed that we were in Oak Park and amazingly lived a few short blocks away from her sister-in-law so she asked if she could come get fabric.
Before she arrived I was thinking about the fall of the Berlin Wall and how many people I’ve met since it fell 20 years ago that I never would have met had it not fallen and had the Soviet Union not broken up. Then there’s the internet and how that’s brought us all closer. I can’t count all of the languages of blogs that have linked to Craft Nectar.
So the lovely marathoner and her also-marathoning husband came to the studio. It was cold and rainy so I put on water for tea figuring I’d pour them each a cup of sorry-we-had-to bomb-the-heck-out-of-your-city-during-WWII tea and see if we could get her some inspiring fabric and patterns. She thoughtfully brought us a book about her city, some local chocolate and some German candy for our daughter, who was thrilled to receive it. By the way, be kind to my child and you will have my undying gratitude.
Although the marathoner kept apologizing about taking up our time, it was so great to have her in the studio. You could see the excitement on her face as we put some scrap fabric on the long-arm and let her have a quick turn seeing what the machine can do. In the midst of several deadlines and a book, it was great to be reminded that what we do is important to some people. At one point she commented that the marathon couldn’t compare with how excited she was to be in our studio. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe that a visit to our basement studio could hold that much magic for her.
She bought several kits and some Quilter’s Dream wool batting, which she’d never seen before. If you live in Germany, you need wool batting. We gave her a big stack of masculine plaid scraps and brown solids from our My Guy kits to make a quilt for her patient husband. As she was leaving I slipped a copy of The Modern Quilt Workshop, a book that she had never seen in Germany, into her bag telling her that it was a gift from me to encourage her to keep quilting. Then she gave me the look. She looked so appreciative and so excited to have all of the patterns and fabrics that she’s been missing for so long. As a mom of a young child I know so well how important it is to have a creative outlet and to have a sense of accomplishment when you make things. It just plain keep you going. For a moment there I forgot about every bad business or design decision I’ve made in the past 10 years and every time I’ve fallen short of reaching a goal I had set for myself. Turns out that the woman whose accomplishments I admired so much had some admiration to send my way too. After they left I just sat there for a bit, soaking it all up.