Dear Europe: What I’m Saying is that I’m Available

posted in: Day In The Life, Work 13
I will blog from INSIDE the Liberty department store! This, I solemnly swear! Image: Wikipedia.
I will blog from INSIDE the Liberty department store! This, I solemnly swear! Image: Wikipedia.


To the generous, gifted, and winsome quilters I spent Friday and Saturday with in Pennsylvania: Thank you.

Not only were you fun to hang with, you were particularly fearless in your workings of the patch (patchwork) and you geeked out right along with me with the quilt history stuff. Really, thank you for being so Good.

I’ve been thinking about my Pennsylvania experience since I left, but right before I sat down to write, something I said the other night suddenly hit me as being true in another respect: I told you that even though much of my time is spent writing about quilts, talking to quilters, teaching patchwork, lecturing on quilt history, reading and thinking about quilts in America, etc. — after all that, when I get home in the evening, what do I want to do? Sew.

Of course, it isn’t always the case; sometimes I’m so pooped when I get home, “sewing” looks more like “eatin’ chips”. But it’s generally true that making quilts is still, always something I want to do; indeed, if I didn’t have pages to turn in for workshop tomorrow, articles to write for the paper, and TV wardrobe to select, I’d be sewing right now.

I thought about that sentiment when I sat down because I have been writing all day. I worked on an essay; I edited an article; I drafted a number of delicate emails; I wrote up pitches; I researched things and made notes — and that was just the four hours between 5:30 and 9:30 a.m. I left the house a little after that and the rest of the day had me writing, too, just in different locations.

And what do I do when I get home? Exactly. Because it never fails me. Now, I fail at writing, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t fail me, just as needles and thread don’t fail me or anyone else.

“Mary,” you ask me, and you cock your head to the side. (You look adorable when you do that.)

“Yes?” I reply, reclining in my patchwork kimono, eatin’ chips. “What can I do ya for?” I say, and I think this is hysterical, so I laugh, which causes me to inhale some chip dust. I’m good, though.

“You gave this post a title that, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with anything.”

“Au contraire,” I say, and I wipe my chippy fingers on my sock.

“When I get home from a long day of quilts, I want to sew. When I get home from a long day of writing, I want to write. Well,” I say, licking a tiny chip from the corner of my mouth, “I have been traveling and lot and will continue to in the next months, but I still want more trips.”

“Ohhhh,” you say, ” — and you want to go to Europe.”

I tell you yes, that’s it, exactly: I would be so excited if I could visit quilting people across the pond. Maybe I have to put it out there to move the ball forward; I am definitely not too proud to beg.

And that’s it. That’s what I wanted to say.


13 Responses

  1. Ruth Q
    | Reply

    If you go to Liberty of London, allow several hours. I bought a shirt and some beautiful fabric there.

  2. Jennifer Reinke
    | Reply

    Put it out there! You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain if it goes further. 🙂

  3. Kerry Leach
    | Reply

    My tips are work, take a break and sew for 20 minutes – or cut some pieces up. Put the timer on and go back to work for about an hour or so – depending on how exhausting it is and if you are at home – a little difficult for those in the middle of a conference. Although wouldn’t it be fun if several people said “excuse me for 20 minutes, please” and get out some vintage machine and sew!
    For me nowadays it’s cleaning the house which takes less time now that the children have finally fledged – somewhat later in life than I envisaged – but the boy’s room is my sewing room. Hah! And who wants to carry on cleaning after having their head down a couple of loos when you can nip across the landing for a bit of fabric fun. It also becomes a reward in that sense.
    Then again when you are on a roll mentally and with all these words flying around and fighting to get down on paper, I quite understand you have to go with it.

    And please do come!!!

  4. Loretta Ricci
    | Reply

    I began my quilting journey when my now 40 year old son was 4, in part-time nursery school. Now and then, Fons & Porter was on our NY TV stations, and I couldn’t get enough. And now, as our “next” generation of quilters, we’re again blessed with you! Thanks so much, and give your Momhugs from me! And, one more thing … if I could ask … Have you considered visiting and writing about the wonderful quilters in Gees Bend? May your sewing needles always be sharp!

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Loretta! You are kind. And you betcher’ buttons I’m onto Gee’s Bend… I’m working on a project that will cover those incredible women and their quilts and much more, besides. Stay tuned… 🙂 xoxo mary

  5. Mary Spriet
    | Reply

    I too have always thought I’d love to visit other countries Quilt shops. Not just the shops, visit with the quilters. …at their homes (see their sewing rooms), at their guilds, and just hang out to see how quilting has changed for them through the years. I am a long time longarm quilter & have seen so many changes in the industry as I’m sure your predecessors have. When I tell people what I do for a living, they say ” Do people still do that (quilt)?” I say YES!!! Thanks to technology it has grown & changed in so many ways. Yet, the basic concept of quilting is always there & is universal. So heh, if you’re ever in need of a travel buddy, I’m game. By the way, wouldn’t that be a great TV program. Visiting all those quilters & quilt shops in other countries? …….. just sayin`……..

    • jen
      | Reply

      Mary can be the Anthony Bourdain of Quilting! 🙂

  6. Georgeanna Couldry
    | Reply

    If you ever get a chance to go to Spain and want a traveling buddy, I’m your girl. Went there 30some years ago. Now I’m showing my age. Still, want to go back but haven’t made it yet. I think we’d be great traveling buddies.

  7. Esther
    | Reply

    Girl, you are more than welcome to come amd stay with me here in the south of the Netherlands! I would be honored to show you all the sights and talk quilt!

  8. Marianne ten Kate
    | Reply

    A Grand Tour! I’ll gladly move my quilts off the spare bed and offer you a place to stay in glorious London, and I’ll talk to my guild – the London Modern Quilt Guild – about our calendar for 2018. Maybe you can stop by en route to the Netherlands and Germany, perhaps?!

    • Mary
      | Reply


      :: zooms around the house :: crosses fingers ::

      You rock!!!!

  9. Sharon Hatton
    | Reply

    I think it would be a wonderful idea to do a tour, or maybe a cruise? And that Liberty of London fabric is just so lovely, I have a jelly roll and some fat 1/8th that I take out and look at often, okay maybe I pet it too!! Anyway checkout Craftours,. Maybe you could even make it mother/daughter teaching vacation, wouldn’t that be fun. I would love to go!
    Also want to tell you much I enjoyed your class on Friday in Pa, the paper pieced log cabin, just such a pleasure meeting you and next time I will be sure to take all the classes and lectures. Maybe you could stay an extra day next time, Lancaster county is only about 1 hour drive from where you were in Pa and the rich quilt history of the Amish and Mennonite , and fabric stores galore!!. I would love to be your guide. And keep us update on that puppy search!

  10. Uli
    | Reply

    how are your plans for Europe? It’s the 20th anniversary of our LQS in Munich this year and that would be a great thing to have you with us to celebrate and make this special
    I can offer you a bed including a quilt made with small wonders fabric and it’s a 5h train ride to Berlin 😉

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