Winter Garden

Photo by Charity Banks.

By Kristen Banks

Although the weather and landscape may presently be cold and uninviting, within our quilting nooks, crannies, closets, and rooms, there is a garden of opportunity blooming with warmth and possibility that beckons us hither.

Simply put, there’s no better time to quilt than the present! And if you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than your own sewing room.

I have to confess that I am partial to blooms myself, so there is no lack of floral fancies in my fabric stash. And nothing will shake a case of the winter “blah’s” better than getting your creative juices flowing with a fancy flower project.

I like to start by choosing something particularly colorful as my theme fabric to build a pattern around. Whether its pansies, posies, or even roses for that matter, it matters little so long as there’s plenty of color. You could choose to fussy cut those poppies, and work a fabric collage. You could try a nice tulip applique project. Or even a simple calico nine patch would work just fine. Whatever you choose make it cheerful, and be sure and enjoy the process.

You might even want to include some help from little hands as well. When I was a little girl I used to dearly love to garden with my grandfather, although we weren’t flower gardening so much as vegetable gardening. Grandpa would always brag how I could stay outside, and work just as long as he could. He would finally have to take a “break” to force me to go inside and cool off.

I only have happy memories of time spent gardening with Grandpa. It was always an adventure, and it never felt like work. I could literally stay in that garden with him all day long.

One of my most fun tasks was hunting cucumbers. He would make me feel so smart and clever, because he would say, ‘Kristen, you’re lower to the ground, help me find these cucumbers, I just can’t find any, do you see any?’ I would of course point out bushels and buckets full of them for him to pick. He never failed to act completely surprised and astonished at my prickly green prizes and praised me for what a keen eye I had.

And do you know it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized he saw every one of those cucumbers before I did, and probably some I didn’t see, since I was only about 5 years old at the time. I laughed and laughed the day I realized that, and also cried a little to think how good of a grandpa he was to give me so much confidence, and make me feel so important like I was really doing a big job.

Not to mention he gave me his time. I’m sure it would have been a lot easier for him if he hadn’t had to tend to me as well as those cucumbers, but he was growing something much more important than vegetables on those hot summer days whether he knew it or not.

The tasks that bring the most joy and productivity aren’t always our first choice or the most convenient. Sometimes they’re unconventional or seemingly out of season. But, if we learn to listen and appreciate the beauty that is before us in whatever place or season we’re in, we might just grow or create something beautiful that will last a lifetime.

Whether it’s a quilt to cherish or a heart to nurture there are always opportunities ripe for the picking, and I’m sure you can find them right now in your own winter garden.

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  1. Carol hart says:

    Grandpa Pete would be so proud of you and everything you have accomplished . lovely story I so enjoy them you make beautiful quilts love you!!

  2. Lilly Newkirk says:

    My dad left me with a wonderful sense of confidence also, no matter what I we were doing, whether gardening or woodworking ahh even finding drift wood. He was a wonderful teacher and had the patience of job. I miss him very much, and am so thankful for his guidance. Always enjoy your stories.

    • Kristen says:

      Thank you Lilly! Your father sounds like a wonderful man. I’m sure you will treasure your memories, and the lessons he taught you always.