Thursday, February 16, 2006

Is there life outside of school?

I think the answer is yes, although lately I've been feeling like there's not. The purpose of this post is to remind me that I do have a life beyond the data, writing, and job hunt. And that, sometimes, I even find it more rewarding than sitting at my desk for countless hours.

I finished my first quilt a few weeks ago. Well, the first time I've ever sewn squares of fabric together together and added a backing. I didn't actually quilt it per se but that's a distinction we needn't make here. The blanket was for Chicita, Writer Chica's baby girl. And it was the 7th baby blanket I've made in the past 3 years.

When I first moved here and starting hanging out with my friends I was amazed that they found time to do these wonderful crafts. In fact, I kind of pooh-poohed it for a while, telling myself that they weren't working as hard as I if at the end of the day they didn't collapse in exhaustion in front of the TV. But then, toward the end of my 2nd year here, two of my good friends (Writer Chica and Navy Mom) announced their pregnancies and S hosted the first of many craft nights. I wanted to give my friends something personal and special, and I also needed something crafty to do so that I could justify a night with my friends. Thus, the beginning of the baby blanket saga began.

And now I've come to realize the pleasure in crafting. Its something to work on that requires completely different skills than science, its a project where you can see concrete progress being made each time you work on it, its a way to give meaningful gifts, and its the perfect excuse to get a bunch of women together to laugh and talk and drink wine and eat cookies.

So now I'm going to a craft night on Wednesdays most weeks. I stay at my office until 7:30 then head over to S's for 2 hours of fun. Usually there are between 4 and 8 of us, and somebody always brings a goody. Some of the women knit, a few bead, S quilts, one has been organizing photos, one sketches. So far, being much less crafty than most of the women there, I've addressed Christmas card envelopes, learned how to make the binding for Chicita's quilt, and for the last 3 weeks I've been working on organizing the recipes that I compulsively tear out of magazines.

And when the recipes are organized, I will return, once again, to my original craft. Navy Mom is due with her second at the end of March, and I just bought her fabric yesterday. It was my first trip to the quilting store downtown, and this quilt will be slightly more complicated than my last. Then there's the grad student down the hall who is also due in march. S and I are going to collaborate on a pinwheel quilt for her-maybe that's when I'll actually learn to do the quilting part of quilt-making. And gen(i)e just announced that she's expecting twins in July. So I've got no shortage of projects for the foreseeable future.

And that means, on Wednesday nights, I'll be over at S's, talking, laughing, and crafting, and not really thinking about school at all. And I will be happy.


Writer Chica said...

I'm so happy to hear that you are having fun crafting. Plus, I am thrilled to be on the receiving end of your beautiful projects! Again, thank you for the blanket. I get to think of you every time I wrap Chicita in it. I'm going to use "Chicita" for my blog. :)

phd me said...

What a pretty quilt! My knitting has taken a nosedive recently, even though I really do enjoy my attempts at handicraft. I need to take some lessons in initiative from you!

Jane said...

I can so relate to your post. I'm glad you found a way to work crafting into your schedule! It's so important to take breaks to recharge, yet the fun things are the first things to go when life gets busy.

I hope you continue to post pictures of your quilts!

seadragon said...

My aunt gave me a quilt like that when I got married, and I adore it more than any other present. It's all soft and warm. Wonderful skill, that, giving comfort as a gift.