A wee little bit ago I heard noise coming from the general vicinity of my sweetie’s computer. He’s not a fan of my Sunday evening television viewing, that’s blog fodder for another day. So, he turns his computer in my general direction, showing me:
Well just wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Just watch the whole thing. This woman clearly spent more than six minutes playing the drums. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Oh did I mention practice?
Pardon the overexposure here. In the late afternoon the sun seems to live in front of the window, bathing the room in glorious (sometimes migraine inducing) light. This late afternoon bathing improves the mood, and strengthens the resolve to keep stitching, not so great for pics though.
I finished the strip sets for the Kings Puzzle Quilt. Which meant time to cut the aforementioned strips into individual units for the blocks. Wahoo! Progress.
Part way through the cutting, and labeling I messaged a fellow quilter, dear friend, and teller of truth about a mistake in the pattern*. Grumble. She says, “the math is correct.” I send her a photo of the directions. “The pattern is correct.” She says.
The pattern* was indeed correct. I missed one key thing. It says “make 2 strip sets”. That would indeed mean that I could cut all of the necessary pieces. I took a deep breath. Made one more strip set, cut the necessary pieces and kept going.
That’s when I got ready to start stitching the blocks.
First up, arranging the units in the correct order, and direction to make one block.Sixteen total are required but this step to be certain I’ve got it all together.
It is now pinned to the swatches of Radiance that live on the wall in front of the sewing table. To the left of the machine are the units all laid out all ready for me to stitch. The next 15 blocks will be chain pieced.
So this quilt has reminded me of the need to double check everything. And ask my friends for help. Well, more to the point, grumble to friends, but be open to the possibility that I’ve done something wrong. In this case, I did.And even better, I had what I needed ready to stitch for the final strip set I needed.
Way back when my dear mother-in-love lived in South Jersey she planted two Dogwood trees.One afternoon as we worked on cleaning up the property I pulled one of them up. It looked like a twig. The baby tree was replanted and thrived. The dogwood still lives in my front yard now, in spite of my efforts to hasten it’s demise. Its limbs a safe haven for the mocking birds that hatch in our arbor. Well, actually, they’re after the birds the berries on the branches, but that’s a story for another day.
The branches of trees add interest to their overall shape. Visually the twisting and turning, this way and that, growing.
Trees do bend. Though straight and tall.
Trees grow, and change. Branches strengthen and new branches grow from them. Each adds character. The branches strengthen in the wind, and rain, and snow. These forces in their lives help build the trees.
Nature provides us with interesting things to look at. I’ve never criticized her for sunsets, tree shapes, flower shapes, leaves, bees. When I look at wrought iron, which is a passion of mine, I see character rather than flaws. This is about unique rather than an idealized perfection.
There are habits in life that well worth cultivating, an affinity for quirky literature is a good thing. The details of discovering Jasper Fforde escape me, however the long lasting memory of the telling of the life and times of Thursday Next, and the twists and turns of her life bring a smile to the heart and mind. This week two long standing items on the to-do list were accomplished the renewal of the library card, and checking out e-books from the library. The discovery of the lapsed library card brought some consternation, irritation and something of an annoyance as I tried logging into the library on more than one occasion getting nowhere, because lapsed card. In the meantime the purchase of a kindle added to the reading options.
Several times in the last months I’ve tried going to the local library with a city dweller problem, all the street parking spaces were taken. Mind you there’s a school, several restaurants, and businesses within walking distance but, seriously every single time. No parking. With a wee bit of persuasion the house Sweetie that taking me was a great idea. There is the matter of the book he needed to pick up but yeah, whatever. So the library card obtained I accomplished task two, borrowing e-books for the kindle. Both authored by the aforementioned Jasper Fforde. Just in time for a quick trip to Las Vegas to help a friend at a trade show.
Yeah there’s a repeat on the picture, when you talk a lot there has to be a return to the original conversation. This sunset is one that occurred outside my studio window. These kinds of visual treats happen with enough frequency that I look for them as each one is different. The clouds are different, the light is different, the leaves change from day to day. Like the moon, sunsets enthrall me, capture my attention. Sunsets are moments of rest. Sunsets are moments to enjoy the beauty.
And they are characters. When I hunted for a photo for this post memories of first grade drawings popped up. Clouds, mountains, trees, people all have a certain feel, stylized in a child like way, open to the possibilities and mindful of how others in life might think of them. This is a good thing, in so many ways! I can see how these things that I’ve drawn since childhood are making into the quilting I do now:
While working on Moonset there was a moment that adding a squirrel hole somewhere near the area of the major boughs, it’s something I remember doing in a few of the childhood drawings. The funny thing is that I don’t remember seeing a single tree with a squirrel hole, and yet, there they were. The imagination kicked in somewhere along the way. The roots of the tree in the foreground remind me of the old pine on the big hill where we would play in summer, and sled in winter.
The fun thing is bringing the character of those moments into the quilting in these moments, adding interest and character to the stitching.
The beautiful thing about character is that it shows up, does the work, doesn’t worry about perfection, is interested in exploring, and goes places.
Sometimes I look at my quilts, see things I don’t like, and thoughts of sending the quilt to the great quilt yard in the sky, would be the best. thing. ever. Between teaching, and working with quilters in shops I know that quilters want perfection from the first stitch. Doing it “right” the first time, every time is the height of something. I haven’t figured out what yet, but it is.
While encouraging the learning process, letting new and not-so-new quilter know that mistakes happen sometimes it’s hard to experience and see how the mistakes add to the beauty and character of what we’re doing.
I’m on a journey to find the character around me, and taking you along.
Twilight in the Bronx is a quilt with tons of character including a little bit of fullness in the circles. And it’s square but a good blocking would do the quilt a lot of good. It’ll stay just so as it is.
Most importantly it’s the quilt started in my 41st year of life that has led me down a path of great quilterly joy.
Quite frankly seeing the back of 2016 is something of a relief. 2016 has kind of kicked me in the shins repeatedly, been a bit of a bully, and needs to end. A friend from high school posted a link to a list of who passed away this year. Many I knew about, many I didn’t. A few shocked me as I didn’t know. One of my favorite Babylon 5 actors, Jerry Doyle. I admit that I sat here trying to figure out how to binge watch this show.
Ten more days. Being a bit of a realist things won’t magically change with the turn of a calendar page at midnight on December 31st. As the final pages of 2016 go by there are a few rays of hope for 2017 that are shining through. One of my favorite vendors is sending a two color quilt for me to quilt that will hang in their booth. Maybe I can get the other piece I started for them quilted and send them both at the same time. We’ll see about that one.
I have three quilts that have been with me for years that I’d like to finish. They belong with other people and are taking up floor, head, and heart space that might be better used in other ways.
So I’ve been thinking about 2017 goals:
Better writing – I get to work with Melissa and Jake as editors and mentors. I rely on them a lot for editing my work, however I’d like to make their work easier and hone the skill-set, making their work easier and my work better. This also means getting a couple of backlogged things done.
Stronger class descriptions – this is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, and need to work on.
I am a member of a couple of organizations that will help with professional development. It’s time to make better use of the tools they offer.
There are a couple of words that are in serious contention for the 2017 word of the year. Quilt is one – kind of obvious but doesn’t give a whole lot of direction. Machine quilt, piece quilts? Focus on making art? Grow – I’ll admit that this has potential. Good potential and as a focus word gives direction. Gratitude, kind of leaning in this direction and has the bonus of being a grounding word. Then there’s Finish. Ahh and we see leanings in this direction all ready. Finishing is a good thing. Thoughts of a word cloud are coming to mind. Lots of words, different fonts, sizes, and colors. All part of a greater focus. Ooooo Focus! Another serious contender.
I do love words. And quilts. I love quilts. And quilty friends are the best.