Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The new age of quilting....

I've been asked to present a program to a local quilt guild about quilting and the Internet.  I'm not a computer geek, more likely I'm a board house wife who has discovered a bevy of friends in the same boat.  The Internet has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

When I was a little girl we had things called encyclopedias.  These were magical books where you could find out anything.  Ten or twenty identical books sat in a row like tin soldiers on the shelf each with tiny gold print on it's spin telling you what might be found inside.  They had glossaries and appendices and annual updates.  The world felt very safe and knowable. 

As I got older I realized that the sum of all knowledge would never fit in such a small set of books.  I discovered the local library.  Here there were more books than I could count - rows upon rows of dusty volumes all categorized, numbered, and catalogued in great cabinets of index cards.  Here there was someone to help me search.  The librarians of my youth seemed to know just about everything.  If they didn't know it, they certainly knew where to find it.

You can't learn everything from a book.   There are somethings that you need to touch and feel, to do on your own before you can understand them.  No one has ever learned to knit without picking up a pair of needles and yarn or to cook without beating a few eggs.  For these things you need a teacher.  My youth was filled with teachers.  Teachers in the public schools showed me how to read and write, they taught me about numbers and science and history.  Teachers at church taught me stories of Jesus and the patriarchs.  Teachers in my home, my blessed parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and brothers taught me things too.  From them I learned about love and live.

Today, some 40 years later, things are a bit different.  There are still books, and libraries, and teachers.  There is still a community of people ready and willing to share what they have learned.  But all of these, books, libraries, and communities, have gotten bigger and...smaller.  There are now galaxies of information available, and billions of voices waiting to instruct and guide me, and they all fit in the pocket of my jeans.  I don't have to be in the same room as my books and teachers, not in the same building, or state, or country, or contenent.  They are all available to me throught the Internet.

I can't tell you how it works.  I haven't a clue.  What's more, I'm not particularly interested in the why of it.  What I can share is what I have discovered there.  I can share the friends I've made around the globe, friends as far away as Luxemburg and Sidney.  I can share the joy that they have shared with me.  Hopefully I can help my quilty friends to open up that little box in my pocket and discover what lies within.

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