Spelling Bee Begins • January 2016

Making Words_4

Sometime ago, I hatched an idea of making letters and words and ideas up in cloth.  Not a new idea, but just one that emerged from the morass to capture my attention, I’d say.  Getting a few friends to join me in this endeavor was the easy part.  I set up a blog, Quilt Abecedary, where I experimented with making letters free-form, teaching myself as I went, failing and succeeding, jumping off my comfortable quilty cliff.  That done, I wondered what to choose for a theme.

woman cooking_2

My first thought, and the one that lingered the longest was to do a series of words around the theme of “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Elizabeth” — verbs like bake, roast, chop, sauté and so forth.  I have a recipe blog, Elizabeth Cooks, so thought to add that blog address to the mix.  But somehow it just didn’t seem satisfying, as I couldn’t just settle into it.

Saying w:o names

I made my parents an embroidered sampler some years ago with a lovely saying celebrating their marriage:

When the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man,
the very angels leave heaven and come and sit in the house and sing for joy
The interesting thing about deadlines is that they force you to a decision, whether or not it’s the “perfect” one. And this idea–of making a Valentine’s quilt — resonated with me.  For better or for worse, my marriage is the key to my happy life, and I wanted to celebrate that idea with a Valentine’s quilt.
Spelling Bee Fabrics
I chose a range of reds to dark pinks in all shades, with minimal patterning, with creamy whites to light pinks to serve as the background.  I’ll mark our progress as we move through this one-year commitment (the bee will disband at the end of the year).  My beemates will choose their words and I’ll make the rest.  We’ll pop up now and again on Instagram at #spellingbeequilt.  We have no blog or Flickr site as it is only a year-long project. If this idea piques your interest, drop me an email with a photo and I’ll share your words on here, too.
Happy New Year
Since tonight is New Year’s Eve, I thought it was a good way to celebrate the New Year by trying something I hadn’t tried before.  I was quite struck by something my nephew’s wife posted today on Instagram.  She wrote that she’d seen babies born, a friend’s wedding, job losses, and sadly, buried a brother; she summed it up by saying “So much great that I want to remember forever and so much heartache I hope I never know again.  Goodbye 2015, you have made your mark.  And now on to 2016, I have so much to tell you.”
She echoed my feelings exactly.  I’ve learned a lot this year, working through my Lost Summer of surgery, continuing health problems and had to come to grips that every time I look in the mirror I think of more of my grandmother than I do those pictures of me as a young woman. But I’ve had the sweetness of my husband’s company during this time, good friends who rallied round, lovely readers of this blog (many of who have become good friends) and lots of new quilting opportunities to enjoy.  So, to echo Casey’s words: Goodbye 2015, you have made your mark.  And now on to 2016, a clean slate, full of hope and plans and big challenges.
Happy New Year, everyone!

13 thoughts on “Spelling Bee Begins • January 2016

  1. Beautiful and touching words about the passing of another year Elizabeth! I love the idea of your wordy quilt! I must put myself down for some words and think about their construction before my Tennis commitments in a couple of weeks time. (I think I have a February Four-in-Art quilt on the horizon too!) Happy New Year to you and may it be full of good health, fun times and some touches of creativity too!

  2. I like blank slates–here’s to filling them beautifully in 2016. My attitude toward it echoes Melanie’s. Here’s to making beauty out of the disappointments as well as the triumphs.

  3. It’s been quite a year–lots of bitter, lots of sweet. I think we have the power to decide which one carries more weight as we move into the future. Looking forward to your “love quilt”!

  4. What? How did I not know you had a cooking blog this whole time? in other news, I’m starting my own abecedary with modern curvy letters inspired by Jacquie Gerring’s Peace quilt. I figure it’ll be a good use for my collection of novelty/eye-spy fabrics.

  5. Happy (better?) new year! I enjoy your posts and looking at your work – which always bears a close look (no apologizing for your CN blocks!!). A Valentine’s quilt for your one love will bring you so much time for reflection and joy. And so way better than grading papers :>) Warm regards, Harlan

  6. That’s a beautiful saying for your word quilt. So personal too. I look forward to seeing all the words come together on these quilts over time. Have a word idea myself now that I might try and tackle this year. We’ll see.

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