Made to Withstand the Proof of Time

from here; more about this in a minute

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.

21 thoughts on “Made to Withstand the Proof of Time

  1. Your Riverside Sawtooth has a lovely story, and I admire that you persevered for five years to finish it. You’ve also been very patient to await publication. The only two-color quilt I ever made was orange and white, but I sure like the more dramatic look of yours in blue. Congratulations on being published! You are SO good! I agree with statements made by the artists you quoted. These stay-at-home days make me value what I have and am able to do while in my lovely home, and extra time has prompted me to pause and consider what’s most important. As time goes on I will be shedding a few things, hopefully for my betterment.

  2. How exciting that your beautiful quilt is in this months Quiltmania, a big congrats to you!
    We certainly are living through history and uncertain times. I have always been a homebody, but like others my home is even more a place of comfort right now and I have so much gratitude for that .

  3. It’s gorgeous! I love a blue quilt! I’ve placed my order for this issue and also renewed my subscription. Delighted to see the subscription includes both digital and paper copies. (also, a good lesson in never giving up!!!)

  4. Congratulations on being published! The quilt is beautiful. I remember sewing blocks for this lovely pattern. Your post had a good amount to consider about homes, too.

  5. Congratulations on being published! It is a beautiful quilt. Indeed, a home is a sanctuary that needs to reflect the dweller instead of the the culture, although the culture does affect the mood of the dweller.

  6. The designers articulated some of my thoughts in a much clearer way than I think I could assemble them right now. I realize that not everyone is as fortunate as my husband and I to have the ability to take part in the pause and reset aspect of right now, but it has been good for us to have it. Congratulations on the publication of your quilt; the time arc of its journey will continue and I really appreciate our blogs for helping to narrate the story.

  7. Congratulations on having your outstanding quilt published in the magazine. That is a significant creative milestone!

    I like your comment about squirreling away fabric for the right time. I just finished two quilt tops, made mostly with fabric I bought in 2004. I was saving it for when inspiration came along.

  8. As always, thanks for sharing your lovely quilt, and for the designers’ insights you included in your post. And a Quiltmania inclusion is outstanding! Happy dance 💙 💃🏻 💙

  9. How special! Congratulations on having your quilt and pattern published! It is beautiful, deserving of being shared. I am trying to look at this time as a re-set, but that presents challenges that require creativity. Some days I have that spark, other days it is just getting through the day. I always enjoy reading your words, seeing your photos, learning bits of wisdom from you. Thanks for sharing the journey this quilt has been on.

  10. How lovely for you, I will have to keep a look out for that copy of Quiltmania (or maybe get a digital copy, although I still prefer print) I love a blue and white quilt, I especially love the back. I have been enjoying all the time spent at home, adjusting to the slower rhythm of life, I won’t be going back to the old life anytime soon.

  11. Oh, Elizabeth, your words and your quilts are always uplifting and inspirational!I am always blessed when your emails hit my mailbox. This two color quilt is stunning. Congratulations on being published. You have definitely earned it.
    I am so envious (in a good way, I promise 🙂 ) of the fact that you have quilting buddies. My local guild is not particularly welcoming to newcomers. I have tried several times, but it seems that most members have been together a long time and are not interested in having new people sit with them or join their groups. Any ideas for finding like minded quilters? It’s tougher with Covid, so any suggestions you might have would be so welcome!
    In the meantime, please stay safe and happy! And please continue to create and share with all of us out here; you are one of my favorite quilters and posters.
    Hugs,
    Celia

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