Good-bye and Good Riddance 2018

It’s now 2019.

Normally, it’s at this point I give my annual “State of the Quilt” address and discuss my predictions from last year – how many came true and which ones didn’t – as well as make my predictions for the New Year.  And I’m going to do that…but then I want to talk about the State of the Quilter … and that quilter being me.

Last year, this is what I predicted:

  1.  That younger group of quilters will make their voices heard.  I was right about that one.  At the end of 2017, I wrote about the second largest group of quilters – the ones 45 years-old and younger.  I see more and more modern quilt patterns and more local modern quilt guilds.  At the last local quilt show I attended, this Modern Quilt Group had a large display section all to themselves.  I am incredibly thankful to be right about this.  And what thrills me even more is that the “traditional” quilters were right there, mingling with the “newbies” and swapping quilt patterns and tips.   Keep it going folks.  Pass the art along to the next generation.
  2. More on-line classes will be available for quilters of all levels.  Definitely right on this one.  Have you looked at what Craftsy or The Quilt Show is offering?  Oh.  My.  There is something for everyone at every level and every interest.
  3. I see a new group of quilt teachers.  I haven’t seen this yet.  I’m still seeing the same names (not that there is anything wrong with this).  I’m waiting on the next rising star to make herself or himself known.
  4. Quilting is not a dying art.  It’s not.  Numbers may have fallen off a tad this past year (I’m still waiting on the latest numbers and will let you know), but it’s still vital and growing and strong.  The number of attendees at quilt shows is pretty stable as are the number of local guild members. 

So, what are my predictions for 2019? 

  1.  I think there will be a return to traditional quilting.  By this I mean I think we will see a resurgence in hand quilting and hand piecing, a renewed interest in significant historical quilts, and a return to traditional quilt blocks.
  2. More acceptance of embroidery machines as part of the quilting landscape.  Believe it or not, this is a hot-button issue among quilters and administrators of quilt shows.  Embroidery machines are pre-programed and all you do is switch out thread.  The real art involved is developing the programs and making quilts out of the embroidered pieces.  However, just as machine-quilted quilts were once thought of as “not real quilts because they weren’t hand quilted,” I see the stance against machine embroidery work softening.  Why?  Because so many of us have and enjoy these machines.
  3. The layout of fabric stores and quilt shops will change.  Because there are more and more younger quilters, retail and on-line establishments will have to change in order to remain viable.  This means different fabrics and machines available to rent by the hour.  Call it a “try-it-before-you-buy-it” mentality or simply tuning into the fact that this new generation of quilters doesn’t want to own several machines, but more retail dealers will not only offer machines to rent, but spaces to cut out patterns and meet with quilters.  This is awesome…especially if there is coffee thrown in that mix.

This is where I think quilting is heading, but I promised earlier that this blog is more about the State of the Quilter (and that quilter being me) than the State of the Quilt.  Let me be blunt:  2018 was absolutely the worst year of my life and I am more than happy to see it leave.

To recap:  1.  My daughter was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

                2.  My mother’s anemia and internal bleeding re-occurred.       

                3.  My brother – my only sibling – was diagnosed with MGUR.  This is a funky extra protein found in the blood that could bode for serious illness in the future.

There were days I dreaded answering my phone because I simply could not take another phone call where something else – anything else, large or small – was going wrong. I worried all the time.  I felt as if I was perpetually on a set of monkey bars – swinging from one emotional bar to another every day. If I didn’t “crash” at any point, I was having a good day.  I’d take a shower just to go somewhere and cry, so no one would know how stressed I was. 

It. Was. Awful.

But let me also tell you something else…I have discovered that God’s grace and His mercy are indeed new every morning.  I have re-discovered the power of prayer.  I know first hand His love.

The first part of 2018 was the worst.  Meagan’s surgery was successful, but she was re-hospitalized twice.  One of those times I thought I was going to lose her.  This mother’s heart broke for my daughter.  My mother’s hemoglobin level plummeted.  And through follow-up tests for vertigo, my brother discovered this protein in his blood.  It was a scary, scary time.   I prayed as I’ve never prayed before and through this, I learned that His presence was real and His care unmeasurable. 

I’ve also learned to thank God daily for modern technology.  While any or all of these medical issues could have been tragic as few as 10 years ago, today they are not.  As of this blog, my daughter is cancer-free.  She is still undergoing Pap Smears every three months and will for the next two years.  A new gastrointestinal specialist tested my mother for a stomach bacterium that came back positive.  This may have been the issue all along.  And it’s one easily treated with antibiotics.  My brother’s protein levels have remained consistent and he’s under the watchful eye of a specialist.  He has his blood tested every three months so that if the protein does spike, the doctors can catch it early.  I pray for each of them daily…and thank God for Wake Forest Baptist Hospital and Duke Medical Centers. 

I’ve learned a great deal this year…about Him and about myself.  I can struggle through difficult times, or just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving.  I can collapse under the weight of hard times or trust God to keep me upright (and sometimes carry me). 

Still…. I was more than ready to kiss 2018 good-bye and tell it good riddance.

My blogs this year are going to reflect some of what I’ve learned and some of what I hope you learned from reading my highly instructional columns from last year.  And because this year will be more personal, and I will tell you how quilting kept me sane more days than not, I have decided that our theme for 2019 will be Quilt with Passion.

So there…that’s where I’m at…

Until next week…Quilt with Passion!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam

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