September’s box is Frivols #8 and is a tin from American Jane, with a whole host of fancy and fun prints. The Moda blog notes that:
“There is a correction to the pattern – Background, Sashing, and Borders. The first line should say 3 – 5 1/2″ x width of fabric strips. From the strips, cut 18 – 5 1/2″ squares.”
Duly noted. I’ll figure it out when I get there.
Here’s the layout of prints from their blog–colorful and charming. And I was happy to see that there are fewer half-square triangles in Sandy Klop’s quilt design.
The freebie for this Frivol is a sweet little tin with this month’s quilt design, that is just about the size of a charm square, perched up there by the bigger tin. I also love the quote on this month’s card: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” While it is attributed to Oscar Wilde, this attribution — as in so many other quote attributions — is a little squishy. For more discussion on this, visit the Quote Investigator. In fact, if you read this article, it seems like Wilde was a bit more pessimistic about this whole idea of authenticity:
It is tragic how few people ever “possess their souls” before they die. “Nothing is more rare in any man,” says Emerson, “than an act of his own.” It is quite true. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are some one else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. (c. 1900)
I happen to like the Thomas Merton version:
“In an age where there is much talk about “being yourself” I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself, since in any case there is very little chance of my being anybody else. Rather it seems to me that when one is too intent on “being himself” he runs the risk of impersonating a shadow.” (c. 1967)
I have to say my favorite instance of this idea is from Gordon B. Hinckley, an earlier president of my church. He writes about discouragement when he was called on a church mission at age nineteen, feeling like he could never do what was required of him:
“I wrote a letter to my father and said, “I’m wasting my time and your money. I don’t see any point in my staying here.” And in due time a letter came back from him in which he simply said: “Dear Gordon. I have your letter of [such and such a date]. I have only one suggestion: Forget yourself and go to work. With love, your father.” [from here]
So often we can focus too much on ourselves, and how we feel from moment to moment. While this aesthetic — to “forget yourself and get to work” — seems to hail from another era, I like to think about it sometimes, when I often can’t find the energy to finish up the chore, to get the work done, to complete the task. I felt that way with Frivols #7, as you probably know. And somedays I have to ask myself: “What do I want to have done by the end of this day?”
Perhaps all this seems so far from the supposed Wilde quote of “being yourself,” but for me they are linked. Perhaps the work is me, the getting done is the shaping of who I am. And hopefully, in forgetting myself and getting to work, I will become my best self.