Like many women and more men than might be willing to admit, I’ve always wanted to make a quilt.

Quilts are the perfect combination of art and function, an intricate design combined with the sophisticated use of color and masterful stitchery. Yet, they also are practical, and with care, can last generations.

However, I’ve always been intimidated by the seemingly complicated quilting process. I’m an impatient creature, and the thought of precisely measuring and cutting a lot of little shapes and of precisely sewing a lot of quarter-inch seams seemed overwhelmingly tedious.

When I learned last month that the Harker Heights Recreation Center offers quilting classes as part of its senior recreation program, it seemed like a good time to finally give quilting a try.

Now, “quilting” to me was always a thing — it was the quilt itself — a blanket, typically made of scraps by somebody’s grandmother.

The first thing I learned in class is that the common bed quilt is just the tip of the quilting iceberg. Quilting is actually a technique used to make many household, clothing and decorative items, including coats, purses and even baskets.

At the top of the quilt evolutionary ladder is the art quilt, meant solely for hanging on a wall. The art quilter uses paints, dyes and fabrics to achieve whatever artistic effect they desire. If you’ve seen the art quilts recently on display at the Harker Heights library, then you know of the amazing talent we have in this area.

Rather than doing what I usually do when starting a new project — rushing in, spending a bunch of money and then getting totally lost and discouraged — I decided that I would take my time, wait to start a project, spend no money and just watch, learn and ask questions.

I attend both the quilting bee with more experienced quilters and Quilt Making 101 for beginners. Members are great about sharing techniques and tips.

I’m really glad that I took the plunge. The classes are friendly and informal, but members are serious about quilting.

For me, quilting is not as impossible as it once seemed. With time, patience and help from the groups, I might someday be able to produce something truly beautiful for my granddaughters.

Ruth Murphy lives in Harker Heights. When she’s not learning about quilting, she enjoys translating Yiddish poetry. Contact her at

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