“Be careful and watch me closely…ok?” my mother said as she gently placed the needle and thread into my small, inept five year old hands. A sense of pride came over me as I grasp the small needle laced with white thread. That pride quickly turned to amazement as I watched my mother’s needle go down and up through the huge blanket forming beautiful designs.
“Wow mommy, this quilting thing is like drawing on blankets!” I exclaimed. My mother turned her kind eyes to me and said softly, “Yes Rachel, quilting is an art”.
The art of quilting has been with me since I watched my mother many years ago. It has taught me quality characteristics such as being observant, patience, and having precision in my work. One might ask: “How could a sewing technique teach virtues?”
Quilting taught me how to be observant. In order to learn how to quilt, one must watch the more skilled quilters at work. I learned to pay close attention to hand movements and ways to hold the needle to make it go faster. Once I learned how to pay attention to detail, it has been hard not to. As a young adult, I pay close attention to details and I tend to notice things that most people do not. For instance, when I watch movies, I am able to pick out certain details or small images in the background that most people do not see. For example, in the movie The Wizard of Oz, did you ever notice the dark figure swinging in the background when Dorthy is about to encounter the lion in the woods.
Patience is another virtue that I learned from quilting. When the needle gets stuck, or the string is in knots or even breaks, one can not get flustered or give up. That does not help anything. I learned that if I just stop, and find out what the problem is and try to fix it with a calm and clear mind, work gets done faster and more accurately. For example, have you ever been in math class and realize that the word problem in front of you makes no sense what so ever? When that happened to me, I would try to stay calm and take one step at a time, and eventually the problem was done and done correctly.
I also learned, from quilting, how to be precise in my work. To make beautiful patterns, one must be able to make the stitches as accurately and neatly as possible. As I have grown up, this virtue has been important in all aspects of work. Whether it is homework or at my place of employment, I try to be precise with all I do. One way that I try to be precise is when I am taking notes in class. I try to write them in full detail, so when I refer back to them while studying, I do not draw a blank as to what something meant.
I believe in the art of quilting because it has taught me virtues that I can use throughout my life that make me a better person.
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