Common Threads: An Observation by Mr. Dock

So it occurred to me that both Amy and I have an affinity for hobbies with pointy metal objects:  Hers, sewing needles; Mine, fencing foils.

Fencing is for me what quilting is for Amy.  Instead of a hobby, it’s a habit.  More than a pastime; it is a passion.  In fact, when we walked to the car together after my very first fencing lesson, and she asked me if I liked it, I said, “I’m going to do this for the rest of my life.”

After just two years, I had climbed to the top of the ratings in Colorado, and the next year I started coaching—eventually running a fencing school of my own.  Amy saw how passionate I was about fencing and even picked up a foil a couple times just to see what it was all about.

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Turns out…she didn’t love it.  But that’s okay.  She had tried it. She tried it, not because she was looking for an outlet for a hidden competitive streak—or because of some romantic nostalgia for medieval times.  She tried it because she loves me.

Her understanding of fencing had risen from observer to participant.  And understanding more about fencing—about something I loved to do—helped her understand me better.

This is important because I’m sure there are times when I’ve said or done the wrong thing, communicated something poorly, and the only thing that kept a miscommunication from turning into a major fight was that she knows me so very well.

What Amy did in those few hours behind the mask was grow the number of things we have in common. She stitched another seam—right sides together—of common ground that is not accidental at all, but very intentional.

It is in this spirit that I am pleased to announce I am making my own quilt!

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So what will it look like?  Though I don’t have nearly the readership Amy has, I do try to write a little on the side when the kids are asleep, and there’s no one to fence.  And more and more I find my writing centered around this quote from George Eliot:

 “A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some area of native land where it may get the love of tender kinship from the earth, for the labors men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge.”

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My quilt is definitely rooted in some area of native land.  But it’s also rooted in something else.  It’s rooted in the very purposeful act of becoming a participant in the passion that my wife has for quilting.  It’s rooted in placing myself in her shoes, even just for a couple weeks, to give us more common ground.  It’s rooted in love.

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I love my wife, and I’ve had a blast making this quilt.  I don’t know that I’ll be haunting fabric stores for Japanese imports or trolling Fat Quarter shop for the latest Denyse Schmidt offering anytime soon, but I do feel like the world that Amy and I share together just got a little bigger.


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  1. ole chook says:

    Great job on your quilt Mr. Dock, I am sure it will always be a treasured item in your family. I know also that your 2 little girls will remember and cherish your making it, all their lives, I’ll bet they are just as proud of their Dad, as your lovely wife is of you, for joining and sharing her other passion of quilting. :O)
    Good luck on your house moving, It will be ringing with all your family laughter and love real soon.

  2. Great, mister Dock!! Nice quilt and a lovely story!!

  3. Well done!! Great Job on the quilt, and on Amy’s Blog!!

  4. That is one of the sweetest affirmations of love I have ever read! You are both fortunate & a great example of how love does not just happen but something that is earned & needs care & work & attention. Your quilt is fantastic, well done!

  5. Janice Corriher says:

    Reading this post, affirms the “two shall be as one” in the wedding vows. My wonderful Husband quilts with me, cooks, cleans, helps take care of the children, and in turn, I do things like play guitar hero, watch scary movies, and take interest in sports. 17 years later, we are still passionately in love! Thanks for sharing your passion for fencing and stepping outside your comfort zone to share your quilt!

  6. Wow! Is that Virginia? And math? Holy moly. And you fence? Again…wow. Very cool! I could no more imagine my husband doing any of this than imagine him flapping his arms and flying. Amy is a lucky girl!

  7. And this is what a healthy relationship is made of! Congrats to both of you for knowing this!

  8. Karen K says:

    Hello Amy and Mr Dock, what a beautiful post and a lesson to everyone on working on a relationship. My hubby and I have been together for 26 and married for 24 – when people say to me you are so lucky, you work together at your business all day and have such a lovely relationship outside of your business – what’s your secret? My answer is pretty standard… love, tolerance, appreciate each other every single day and never being afraid to say your are wrong or sorry if you need to. We love and respect each other and enjoy each others company. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life.

    You two are such a great example of how a marriage built on love, trust and understanding can really work, you have a beautiful relationship and a fabulous family.

    Mr Dock, I am so proud of you making your own quilt – WOW – it’s beautiful and well done you. Are you going to FMQ it yourself do you think?

    Great post today

    K xx

  9. Janet Green says:

    My husband does not quilt he does not feel my joy. I don’t watch British football I cannot feel his joy, what I can do and can feel is love he understands my need to quilt and his joy is seeing me happy, I am thankful that although we live here in the USA he can still have his football, 27 years 3 children and one adorable grandson later and my other half still remains my best friend my love and the one person who says ‘Does that make you happy?’ Good job Sir!

  10. Great job on the quilt!

    I remember hearing my Dad say “You should know everything about something, and something about everything.” Sounds to me like you’re both taking that advice.

  11. Wonderful! You & Amy truly are enjoying the journey…. Blessings.

  12. Impressed with the message and the quilt! Great to hear from you and look forward to hearing more about the “Dock” family as they move and grow together. What a great example for your children from both of you.

  13. Heather Shore says:

    Very Nice! You are a great couple.

  14. I’m sure more than a few readers will be given pause today.

  15. Thank you for sharing and caring. Great quilt Mr Dock too. How nice it is to hear such a good message.

  16. Ginger Mileski says:

    Aww… What a lovely post! I love Amy’s passion for quilting. She inspires me. What a beautiful, lucky couple to have found each other.

  17. Mr Dock,
    You are awesome and so inspiring! You two will be together forever in love! I have to say that I share your passion and love for Virginia – born in Richmond and grew up in Staunton in the shadow of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Although I have lived the past 30 years in Philadelphia, PA and do appreciate the beauty of this state, it is the real blue peaked mountains of the Shenandoah Valley that is deeply rooted in my soul. I LOVE YOUR QUILT! Amy, you are very blessed!

  18. that is awesome – I wish my husband would give it a try just to see what I am doing. Has anyone ever told you write really well!

  19. Sobana Sundar says:

    We all know you are a great guy the way you take care of the kids – the infants included but this takes you to another level! Amy comes across as a great person. You deserve her as you too are a wonderful human being! I hope you continue through life with this same love and commitment to each other.
    A great quilt but then you have a great teacher alongside you!

  20. Sheryl Miller says:

    Wow Mr. Dock! I am impressed. You are truly a keeper!!!
    What a great couple you make and what a wonderful family you have. Wishing you every happiness the world has to offer.
    Thank you for sharing this with us – I knew you were an amazing man from Amy’s comments in her blog. You are lucky to have each other.

  21. How wonderful!!

  22. Rachel S says:

    Wow what a great post! I think your advise is right on. I’ll definitely have to try this within my own marriage. Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. Becky N,. says:

    I wasn’t expecting this!! Thank you, Mr. Dock, for sharing! I don’t know how you wrangled the featherlight from Amy for enough time to make your own quilt! I love your quilt! What is the meaning behind the design?

  24. Mr. Dock, Thanks for sharing your thoughts & photos. Enjoyed your post immensely!

  25. Hmm… now that we have two machines in our house, i wonder if i could talk hubby into trying it. I did find it neat that he could crochet, so when i was teaching our girls, he could help me. I do often try to be in his world, im glad to hear from a guy that that helps in a relationship. I now know more about cars then i ever dreamed my lil head could hold!

  26. Roxanna Owen says:

    Teary eyed, I am. God has blessed you both in many ways. Thanks for this love story!!

  27. Kudos from the great Commonwealth of Virginia, I love it. I was so surprised when I saw the drawing of my wonderful Old Dominion!!!! How is it that you chose to honor Virginia? Are you from the Commonwealth?? I loved it.

  28. Debbie Day says:

    What a sweet couple you are. I loved reading this.Your children are so very lucky to have such wonderful, caring, talented parents. My husband does help me with cutting quilt fabric sometimes, and is the one that got me into quilting, because he had to have a compass rose quilt for his sailboat. So my second quilt had lots of points and I learned so much. He has a wood shop, and I love learning and helping him in his shop.

  29. Wonderful love story and self expression. I’ve tried power tools which are the trade of my carpenter husband, but have yet to see him near a sewing machine. I loved the quote by George Elat and found myself reading it several times.

  30. Mr Dock: You bring tears to my eyes. Both of you are so blessed to have found each other. What a truly wonderful gesture to each try the passion/hobby of the other. I don’t think that I could ever get my husband to make his own quilt or even cut out fabric or sit at a sewing machine. He is wholly wrapped up in golf and college football. Maybe when he retires, I can suggest a week of quilting with me to experience my passion for all the years I played golf with him and all the times I sit and watch his favorite teams play football. Your blog was such a loving tribute to Amy and the life you have built with her and your beautiful children. Continue to stitch ‘right sides together’.

  31. Amy, you are a very lucky woman to share your life with a man who bears such insight and depth, not to mention new found quilting skills. He is of course lucky to have you as well. The two of you exude pure joy, with the kind of understanding that is the key to ultimate happiness. What a happy home environment in which to raise your children. Your family makes this world a better place.

  32. Rio Setty says:

    Amy you have a “keeper”. So very sweet and the love between you shines through his and your words. Also, great job on his quilt. I am honored that it is Virginia, my home state. Love reading your blog and see your beautiful children. Great job you two.

  33. What a lovely story.

  34. How wonderful to try and respect one another’s passions! As someone who went to junior and senior high in VA, LOVE the quilt!

  35. I love this story even though it made me cry my eyes out today… (due to some recent things that happened…)
    Have a long and happy life you both – together with your wonderful kids…

  36. Tana Lewis says:

    It seems to me that you and Amy have found those important ingredients that help make a marriage wonderful. Understanding and communication. Thanks for sharing and bringing a smile to many of us. Have a blessed day.

  37. Amy, you are a “Blessed” lady!!!!

  38. Kinda crushin’ on Mr. Dock right now – even though I’m probably old enough to be his mother. You two are lucky to have found each other, and I LOVE his quilt design. Hope you will post a picture when it is all quilted and bound.

  39. That’s pretty impressive for a first quilt! You have a great teacher no doubt. Sounds like you have a great relationship.. Do you have a baby brother, I have a granddaughter who is single! LOL

  40. Heather says:

    I love this post. Everything about it is warm and fuzzy.

  41. sure enjoyed this blog!

  42. Tabitha Moss says:

    So sweet!!! Just warms my heart to read such true love!! Y’all’s sweet children are blessed beyond measure to have such wonderful parents and role models! Thank you so much for sharing! Very inspiring!

  43. Wow, go Mr Dock! Love the quilt! Amy, you’re a lucky girl :)

  44. Awesome is the word. Absolutely Awesome!!!!

  45. Allison C Bayer says:

    Way to go Mr. Dock!! The quilt is awesome. Can’t go wrong with blue and white AND the state of Virginia (my home state). I predict Mr. and Mrs. Dock celebrating not only their silver anniversary, but a golden anniversary too with relationship building like this!! What a way to model for your kids. Just really proud of you two!!

  46. How amazing is that! Mr. Dock, you are not only a great husband and a potential great quilter, but your writing is extremely well done! I love your style and your story and I’m sure your wife and family love you all the more for it. Thanks for sharing with us.

  47. Cindy Gordon says:

    What an amazing inspiration for all!! Both of you are truly blessed to have what you have with one another.

  48. BleuEdee says:

    Overcome with emotion. Beautifully written! I also enjoyed the photos. I like to see a man create (sewing, building a house, knitting)! Mr. Dock’s happy smile, when we get to see the finished quilt, rocks. BTW, the quilt is super. Bless your family!

  49. Susan Paxton says:

    What a great man you have there Amy…and what a wonderful wife you are to him…I admire the both of you for being able to share your passions. I got a little teary eyed also and I don’t know either of you personally.

  50. So awesome. Love the support you two have for each other. I too am blessed with a marriage like that.

  51. My husband and I observe two types of married couples. Those that are committed to each other through all the ugly and the beauty…they have a relationship that will bind forever. Then there are those out there that have just a marriage. They don’t share, they don’t bend, they just cohabitate. You both have a relationship that will bind you forever. Congrats on an amazing relationship!

  52. Peggy Toomey says:

    Mr. Dock, you are a wonderful husband, which makes you a wonderful daddy. This world needs more like you! Amy and the children are so blessed!

  53. Jean Gibson, Grandmother of R. says:

    What else can you say after the wonderful comments. I agree with them all. I do know God is truly Blessing them with their family and the many talents that they share. Love is Eternal, Keep up the good companionship and love.

  54. A beautiful post and a beautiful quilt.

  55. I am impressed and awed. Wow. Lucky you!

  56. Heartwarming to read Mr. Dock’s loving affirmation of his relationship with his wife! I am as lucky and we also share the same birthday … TODAY… we are 148 and going strong…lol! Thank you Mr. Dock for offering such a beautiful post.

  57. Laura Mattick says:

    Wow! Kuddos to you Mr. Dock. I love the give and take of both of you trying out the other’s passion. And I think your first quilt is fantastic.

  58. Paula Perry says:

    Amy–I just had to share–my granddaughter, who just turned three, was looking at what I was doing on the iPad, which was starting to read today’s posting. As I started to scroll down, she got super excited, and made me go back. Back I went. She had me stop at your picture. “Wook”, she said in her lisp-y, very excited, three-year old voice, “a princess!” I know her observation made my day, and I hope it brightened yours!

  59. Fiona Harris says:

    Always thought you looked kinda cute in photo’s with Amy and the children but now I think you’re totally awesome!!!! You compliment each other so completely that I don’t think you could have done anything other than find each other as soulmates! Wishing you all the things you wish yourselves! The quilt is a triumph! xx

  60. Thanks for sharing Mr. Dock:) There’s a story behind you quilt design….maybe that can be your next writing installment here. Nice work.

  61. Wow. That is awesome. That is love. The quilt looks great, but I admire the fact that both of you are willing to try out each other’s passions. My hope is that I will find someone with this same philosophy. How do you know you wouldn’t like something until you try? Congratulations and the best of luck in the future to you both!

  62. Dawn Frisch says:

    Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dock, : )
    This is perhaps the most romantic love story I’ve ever read. This has touched my heart in so many ways – I just can’t describe! sniff sniff. Even though I’ve been married for 22 years, I have learned a most important life lesson today. I try to always learn more about what my husband or my son is involved with whether it be their jobs, something on the internet, or a hobby. In doing this, I have learned so much more than the actual thing that they are involved in. For the past 4 years, I have been playing video games with my son. I’m not at all good at it but my son has the patience for me so I keep at it. I’ve learned so many things about him and how he looks at the world. My husband has a variety of interests but doesn’t make the time to do them. I’ve tried to encourage him by my learning them but unfortunately it’s not enough. I would give anything for either my husband or my son to try to make a quilt or make something. It would be the most wonderful feeling in the world to see one of them at my sewing machine. The life lesson learned today? That there is hope. I have printed your story and will show it to both my husband and son. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll see that a man can actually sit at a sewing machine and still be a man. Thanks for sharing your life with us and your love for one another… to be loved like that must be truly magic!

  63. Susanne says:

    Mr. Dock, Great job! Amy and the girls must be very proud of you. My husband is very supportive of my quilting. He wants to help me design one myself. You have set a nice example for your children.

  64. WOW. I’m so impressed. Now I know why Amy’s blog is so happy and positive — she has wonderful children and a terrific husband!! Before we had kids, my husband would help me with my quilts occasionally. He ironed my blocks, gave me advice about color, and always told me he liked what I was working on. Now I’m inspired to get him more involved again!

  65. June Winters says:

    That’s such an inspiring story and beautifully told! You all fit together so well to create a very special family. It is always a priority to read the e-mails from Sticherydickorydock.

  66. Linda Stradley says:

    Yup, you’re a keeper! My sweetheart won’t quilt, but supports my passion and helped me plan out my assembly of my BOM, ’cause, as a photographer, he has a great eye for balance and design, and I don’t.

  67. Linda P says:

    From another Virginia gal, I admire your quilt and your love for Amy to give it a whirl. Your love for each other is the greatest treasure you can give your children. Hope you will consider making another, as lots of folks did not mesh well with their first quilt, and just an FYI, I’m sure it will be sought after one day by your kids, start the next one so there’s more to go around.

  68. Liane R says:

    Mr. Dock, you should be proud of yourself. Your quilt is awesome! I love that you did made that and found some more common ground. It is so romantic! Thanks for sharing this post with us!

  69. What a beautiful, sentimental, and wonderful blog posting. This blog should get an award for all of the great photos and postings. This posting brought tears to my eyes. Mr. Dock, your quilt is very nice looking. I like the blue fabrics in it. I know my husband would really like it as well. It is great to find couples that share in or appreciate each other’s interests. At one time, when we lived in an area where temperatures were much warmer, my husband and I both scuba dived and as the children became old enough to participate in the activity they were also certified in it.

    Thank you Mr. Dock for being part of Amy’s blog.

  70. You are both so blessed! Mr. Dock, you’re a marvel!

  71. Melody Norris says:

    Mr. Dock, this was a wonderful story, and your quilt is just wonderful.

  72. Great lesson, Mr. Dock. And great quilt too… that whale looks wonderful! You made me think… my husband has always supported my hobby, encouraged me and celebrated my successes. Having a second machine repaired, he told that is now is his turn to make a patchwork shirt for himself. I’ve doubted, and thought that I’d better make the shirt for him. But you have changed my mind, now I’m sure he could sew his shirt and whatever else he wants to! Thank you for a touching story.

    • Mr. Dock and I are giggling over here, touched bu all the unbelievably sweet and lovely comments of course, but also that you thought the quilt was a whale :). It does kinda look like a whale, but is actually the state of Virginia. Probably tough though, if you aren’t from the states or not in a geographical frame of mind. Hehe :)

  73. Shirley in Canada says:

    You are truly amazing, Mr. Dock! My hubby just only really started to pay attention to my hobby “stress outlet” early in 2011 and is now my best follower, although he says he will never take up sewing, I love to think that he just might after reading your story! Thank you so much for sharing.

  74. Awesome quilt! I’m quite impressed with your quilting skills as well as your willingness to dive into your wife’s passion to see what it’s all about. Loved this post.

  75. AmaZing! Beautiful quilt! Well done! So impressive! BRAVO!

  76. Stephanie says:

    That is so very sweet! You might possibly become the most hated man in the blog world when the ladies make their husbands read this :) LOL!!!! It is a very great story! Good for you both!!!!

  77. Love the quilt Mr. Dock!!! Amazing!!!! You guys are great with an amazing family!!!!!

  78. This is the sweetest thing. I think I am going to pass it onto my husband, not because I want him to make a quilt, but instead so he sees how much his support means to me. When he looks at color choices and give me opinions or tells me he understands that quilting makes me happy and I should continue to follow my happiness, that means something and this post says that perfectly. Thank you!

  79. KellieMarie Plumlee says:

    I loved the piece you shared. My daughter is a fencer also the picture caught my eye first. It is a nice thought to share with all members of the family. Maybe some day my daughter can be coached by your husband!

  80. Kathy Maroney says:

    I love your quilt. More importantly I love that you are trying to better understand Amy’s passion. You guys are lucky to have each other.

  81. This is just the sweetest post! Thanks so much for sharing this bit of y’all with your readers!

  82. I think this may be the best post I’ve ever read. I have such admiration for how the two of you are working to keep your love alive! She understands you and you so understand her. Your quilt is awesome! Thanks for posting!

  83. That’s an amazing quilt Mr. Dock! I’m a Virginia girl myself & want to make a quilt like this some day to pay homage to home! You’ve inspired me & so does your wife!

  84. Lisa
    He’s fences, he makes a mean quilt, and he’s as handsome as can be. Way to go Amy.

  85. I love this post! I’m pretty sure my hubby will be making his own quilt one of these days. He already helps me with the math and design, and I think it’s just a matter of time. For now, while I’m quilting, he’s usually playing his guitar. I’ve tried the guitar….didn’t turn out so great :/

  86. You rock, Mr. Dock!! I love your quilt and this beautiful post!!!!

  87. Mr. Dock!! This is the sweetest thing ever!!! Love that you show your love for your wife in trying out the quilt thing!! It looks amazing! What a great testament. A cherish piece of art for always!

  88. I love this post, love your quilt, and love how in love you guys are. My husband is unbelievably supportive of my quilting and it makes this so much more fun for me because I can share it with him (not wholly, but enough thane shares in my excitement for the process). Amy and you are a perfect match. You sure make beautiful quilts and beautiful babies! Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed looking into your relationship today for a second. Happy happy family. Awesome.

  89. I love your family Amy!! Three blocks finished! I found these quite difficult but I like the challenge! Thanks, Amy!

  90. Susan Santistevan says:

    This is the sweetest post EVER!!! You and your husband have it figured out, and you are so young, so you are years ahead of some. I loved reading about love, and wanting to know your spouse’s heart, mind and passions that drive them. PS – your husband did and amazing job on his quilt too! It was cool that it had some significance to him besides a piece of patchwork. You made my day, even though that was not your intention when you got out of bed this morning:)

  91. yay Mr Dock – love your post and love your quilt :)

  92. This might be the best thing I have ever read. Mr. Dock, you rock!

  93. Beautifully expressed in both word and execution. A love for quilts and music brought my husband and me together. You two are so amazingly blessed to have each other and your wonderful children. No wonder this is my favorite blog! :-)

  94. A great marriage does something to strengthen every relationship it touches! Thanks for sharing such a sweet story!

  95. You, Mr. Dock, are amazing. It warms the heart to see the love you two obviously have for each other. That is one handsome quilt, as well. Thank you for a beautifully written blog post.

  96. I’m a fencer and a quilter :D I’m only foil level 3 and epee level 1 though and I had to take a few months out “health and safety” because of palpitations. Should be back on it after Easter.

  97. A job well done! Isn’t is nice to have a true life partner?! I feel blessed every day I have with my husband :)

  98. Well done Mr Dock, that is a truly amazing quilt. You are obviously very clever with the metal pointed things.

  99. Oh My God! This is amazing! So much love to share. Thank you, thank you, for such a wonderful thought and congrats on a beautiful quilt!

  100. How wonderful was that post!!! True love and friendship… beans. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  101. What a well-written, thoughtful glimpse into not only life at the Docks, but personal passions and healthy relationships in general. This may just be my favorite quilty post ever. Bien fait, monsieur Dock.

  102. Fantastic post – what a lovely couple you are.

  103. I will have my husband read this, not because I want him to make a quilt, but because of the idea of sharing more of one another’s lives… Thanks for being a great example, even to us who have been married a LOT longer than you…… :)

  104. What a beautiful testament to love! And a pretty darn nice quilt, too! I would say you’re both pretty lucky to have found each other in this crazy world.

  105. Go Mr SDD! Love the idea behind this quilt, both the meaning and the pattern you chose.

  106. This post melted my heart. It’s beautiful.

  107. Kimberley O'Rourke says:

    I’m new to this blog. My Hubs is a stud like you! Love the blog, your quilt and your desire to love one another by stepping in each other’s shoes briefly.

  108. Wanda Phillips says:

    I love it! Being a life long Virginian I would love to make this quilt. Do you have the pattern? I am very interested in purchasing.



  1. […] Common Threads: An Observation by Mr. Dock […]

  2. […] first blogged about my reasons for making a quilt here.  And I can assure you it’s been a huge learning experience! One that I’ve enjoyed […]

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