Covid-19 Times · Shine: The Circles Quilt · Something to Think About

Christmasy Shine Blocks • Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

The sign on the door of my sewing room as I sew a special gift for my husband.

Okay, you just have to see the creativity of my friend who pattern-tested all the later Shine blocks — the last few I’ve been talking about. The originals, you are familiar with. Now I’m doing them in Red, White and Blue. But my friend Linda, of @lkhomework (she used to teach school before she retired), did them all in Christmas fabrics, and she has graciously allowed me to share them with you.

Such wonderful eye candy, perfect for Christmastime and to help get us in the mood for this very different season in 2020.

As you can see, she plans a diagonal set for her blocks.

Yes, I realize I should have imprinted the number of the block before I posted them, but I didn’t. Here’s an index of them all, in mix of the original colors, illustrations and RWB:

Block #1, which is based on a traditional pattern, morphed into Block #7. Linda used both of these variants to great success. I think her quilt is going to be just fabulous!

And today the December QuiltMania newsletter was published, and with this, their series of my SHINE: The Circle Quilt blocks ends. The first 12 blocks can be downloaded by subscribing to their free newsletter; they will send you the link (details here). They will live at QuiltMania until early 2021, when they will come back home here to stay. I’ve enjoyed sharing them with QuiltMania, and feel like those scary disorienting days of covid are behind us, when I first made the offer to QM for them to use my patterns, in order to do my own little part to help keep interest in their excellent publications.

More than other years, I find this Christmas to be such a mix. I wrote on Instagram about seeing someone contemplating a jump from a freeway overpass. I had just come from visiting a friend who had successfully completed her initial phases of a stem cell transplant, the cells giving her another chance at life, and I’ve thought about these two contrasting experiences for days.

She, working so incredibly hard to keep life, to beat her disease, putting up with all manner of incredibly painful and difficult treatments and procedures. And then to see this young man who appeared to have cut open the chain mesh fence that shields our overpasses from just such desperate decisions. Our traffic was slowed, and as my car neared the bridge, I could see the man clutching the fence, holding on, having given himself a second chance as the fireman secured a belt around him, preserving his life. It was a different kind of second chance than my friend fighting cancer. Hers, a grueling year-long journey. His, a reconsidering of a tragic decision in a split second.

And so our year continues with such contrasts: thousands of people dying from the pandemic, while we turn inward to try and find the joy and the happiness, aware that just around the corner, ennui and disease and depression await. It’s a dance in the best of times, but made so much more complicated this year with its seemingly endless conveyor belt of tragedy. With hearts so tender, Christmas sewing is a tonic: the snowmen and Santa, the holly and ivy, the red and green, patchwork and stockings and gifts and delights.

And so I rejoice in Christmas.

I light the candles on our kitchen table and set out the soup. Over dinner, my husband and I (a covid-bubble of two) talk over the news, before moving on to the detritus of our day. I relish the lights, delight in the sight of our miniature tree and my husband’s nutcrackers, all anchoring symbols of familiarity, grounding us and keeping us tethered.

I rejoice in carols: a favorite song can move me to tears, so close to the surface are the emotions of this season. I might post again before the year is out, but you may be too busy to respond; it’s less than two weeks until we close out the official holiday of lights and gifts and slide on into the new year. To wish you all the best as you make your way to 2021, I leave you with one of my favorite songs of Christmas (click on the link to listen). Sing along and enjoy!

15 thoughts on “Christmasy Shine Blocks • Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

  1. Thanks for sharing the wonderful blocks and also your story about your friend and the young man. What a contrast! Keeping fingers crossed for your friend, hopefully she can recover soon. Have a nice Christmas and I am looking forward to read about your new projects in 2021!

  2. Linda’s blocks are so lovely. I, too, find tears just below the surface and for the silly/sweet things- Santa riding in a boat, my Maddy doing the Rudolph hokey pokey and your Maddy doing her birthday dance in the kitchen. So thankful for those gifts of tears/smiles.

  3. I don’t know how I have missed the Shine posts. I am new to EPP, looking forward to start. Your encounter with the young man and your friend’s battle is sad but with a good ending. The song is beautiful, thank you.

  4. Your sewing and your writing are beautiful! Read your story to my husband this morning and.I’m sure it will stay on our minds. Thanks so much.

  5. Your friends Christmas Shine blocks are fabulous! What a wonderful heirloom Christmas quilt these blocks will make.
    Such a poignant story you shared of your friend fighting for her life and the unknown man who so easily could have taken his own. Life is so precious but so uncertain, especially in these times. I watch the news this morning and see the first vaccine shipments heading out, the Pfizer employees cheering and pray that the end of Covid is near. So many lives have changed this past year and my heart hurts for all the pain but I try so hard to see the glimmer of those good things that have also taken place.
    Thank you for your blog, I so enjoy reading the happenings in your life. I wish you and yours a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas!

  6. It’s sure nice to see your quilt patterns made up in something other than a color theme. Linda did a really nice job! I understand your angst through 2020, and am determined to not allow the darkness to overcome. Jesus is the light, and today as the third Advent candle was lit, I was reminded of “joy.” Not happiness. Joy through Jesus. And “happy” too because my 90-1/2 year-old Dad will be among the first to receive the Coronavirus vaccine… before the end of the month.

  7. Wow, what a story about trying to save and trying to end life. Learned a work friend tried to commit suicide. Terrible times.I enjoyed your thoughtful message. Quilting, art, creativity have so much to give because they are NEVER OVER. That may be an excuse for me as to why I don’t finish much. I can keep coming back to play with these projects. The more realistic reason is that the quilt designers keep coming up with new ways to have fun and I’m not disciplined enough to say NO.
    The circle blocks have so many possibilities. Snowman addition was a good choice. I’ll be downloading them, hope they aren’t too hard. THANK YOU ELIZABETH for your talent.

  8. Linda’s Shine blocks are adorable and mirror that Christmas feeling of fantasy and hope.
    I enjoyed reading your post. The way you translate your observations into words is so moving. The contrast between the stories reminds us that life is challenging for everyone, but for different reasons. Your writing is always inspiring and eloquent.
    Peace and joy to you and your family.

  9. Love seeing Linda’s Christmas blocks. I really like the little fussy cut snowmen here and there. They have a very festive feel about them. That’s a different version of Gloria in Excelsis Deo form what I know. I love to hear Andrea Bocelli sing this. And as Linda said, today is the Sunday in Advent for joy . . . so today I wish you joy for both the Christmas season and for all of 2021.

  10. Thank you for a such a moving thoughtful post. It really brought me to tears – both scenarios, your friend with cancer, and the poor man on the bridge. This is the first time I think I’ve ever really welcomed the end of a year. 2021 has got to be better, worldwide, right? And, there’s quilting! The Christmas blocks are so… happy! Pure fun and joy.

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