As quilters, we have an relationship to time. We begin something, knowing it won’t be done for days, or months or even years. We work towards a daily or weekly goal of finishing the quilt, even though we might sometimes abandon the effort. But there is always this gap from beginning to end.
I started this quilt in December 2015, the design inspiration taken from an antique red and white quilt I’d seen in a quilt show. I couldn’t figure out how that quilting sister from 150 years ago put her quilt together, so I modernized it, and then in January 2016 sent the instructions to a bee I was in, asking them to make some blocks. Then I made more blocks, thinking about how that woman so long ago might envy our ability to have such an array of fabrics, to sew like the wind on our modern machines, to have such a distant circle of friends still gather together in a quilting bee.
I wrote about the finished quilt top, and then it sat. Time passed.
I wrote a pattern, but when QuiltMania accepted the quilt for publication, I took it down from my PayHip shop.
Time passed. And then some more time.
This week I received this picture in an email, along with the picture of the cover:
From December 2015 to August 2020 is nearly five years. In that time I’ve counted off changes in our family, health issues, deaths in our family, births and birthdays, personal highs, and personal challenges, a pandemic and now extremely grateful to have a quilt published in a respected quilt magazine. And to quote a common phrase seen in our quilty culture: I have #allthefeels.
Which brings me back to that photo at the top of this page. Several designers and architects were asked to “reflect on a changing world, their creative process, and the future of design.” I enjoyed reading their thoughts, as they echoed some of my own feelings about the creative life. Here’s two:
Pierre Yovanovitch (Provence, France) said: “I try to look at the silver lining and see this as an opportunity for a creative reset, taking a pause from our overly scheduled lives to tap back into what inspires us.”
Milanese designers Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli, who designed the room of plates at the top of the post:
“Regarding the future effects of this pandemic, on one hand it has been recognized the importance of the house as a center, a place of the soul in people’s life. On the other hand, the inevitable economic impact that will follow this situation will, we hope, generate among people the idea that the house isn’t just an object that follows the trends to be discarded and replaced for the next upcoming thing. You should aim for an object of beauty, made to withstand the proof of time.”
I guess that’s why we quilters are willing to start a quilt in December and nearly five years later, see it completed. That’s why we pick out fabrics and squirrel them away, knowing that sometime in the future — maybe even in a pandemic — we will pull out the projects we’ve collected and start the long process in the midst of the distraction, the sorrow, the uncertainty.
And as always, we will send our quilt out into the world as a veritable declaration of hope, our handiwork created to withstand the proof of time.
Happy quilting. Yes, especially now.