Covid-19 Times · Creating


“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” TS Eliot, Four Quartets

Where I started this section. The journey for the Leaves Border:

I thought I could appliqué each leaf onto a block, then sew the blocks together. Soon, I realized that sewing them together in a strip, then appliquéing them in a row was more efficient. Note the blue border separating the sections.

I used the draw-shape-on-freezer-paper-then-remove-just-before-the-end approach. I learned this when doing my Elizabeth’s Lollypop Trees, and have kind of kept at it.

When we get into a situation that feels uncertain, most of us will immediately try to get to a place of certainty. Leo Babauta

Beauty Pose in the Garden One Morning

I brought it back in from the garden, but somehow I left my creative brain out there in the weeds. Seriously, this is all I did for a couple of days. Tacked up first one fabric, then another. Not liking much. I tried to write a blog post, but there was nada – zip – zilch. Instead I spent my time converting an old blog of mine to a book (I’ll let you know how it goes–book should be here next week).

I had attended (virtually) the MWEG Conference this past weekend, filled with inspirational women speakers, and this let me leave my self-enforced creative rigors for a while. One speaker mentioned a variation of my oft-quoted line about how perfection is the enemy of the good. She put it this way: “Perfection is the law of diminishing returns.” In thinking about this, I finally just chose the upper right pink fabric, cut it, and sewed it on. At some point I just have to get past the anguish of too many choices, grasping for perfection.

How could there be any perfect to long for, when it hasn’t been created yet and doesn’t know what it is?

I tried out multiple variations of the outside two-triangles block, unpicking them apart, then re-sewing in different combinations. I noticed that this past two months, I had put in online orders a few different times to different online shops, both ETSY and regular places. Most weren’t large orders, but I wondered if my “stuck-ness” both in quilting and the restrictions in life and trying lose some of my Covid-19 pounds caused me expand out this way: retail therapy. (Don’t worry, dear, we haven’t broken the bank.) I think it’s also a reaction to this past year of trying bravely to stay sane, seek new quilty horizons, dodge dysthymia, and to Keep Calm and Carry On.

With Sprinkles on Top, by Alicia Jacobs Dujets

But the funny thing was, in all those incoming fabrics, only one made it into this quilt. All the rest of this is from my stash in before all those packages arrived–a true scrappy quilt that hopefully doesn’t look like all those “scrappy quilts” that I see in the magazines. Hopefully, it looks more coordinated.

So this is where I ended a couple of days ago.

I started working on the outside border.

The entertainment of watching someone else’s ship get stuck proved a great distraction. I am also familiar with the back-up of tasks behind one greatly-stuck task, and thought it was a great metaphor for so much of my designing and quilting. Like the Ever Given, I was also stymied, and thought that maybe that terrific orange border was the final part of the quilt? I don’t really know, but I wasn’t ready to give up yet. I made some sample blocks while listening to this book:

I did some quilting (cream-colored thread) on my quilt I Hear America Singing.

After stewing a while, I went to Affinity Designer and re-drew my ideas for that outside border. We’ll see what happens next.

This week is Easter weekend. But before I go there, I want to go back a few days.

Last week, we went to church for the first time in a year. we were all socially distanced, with masks on. Before the meeting started, I went up closer to take a photo of our new organ (not yet quite finished) and to soak up the feeling of being in a familiar place after so long. However, given my year of nearly total confinement, I was a nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof, nodded to people, then skedaddled outside after the service was over. It may take me a few times to acquaint myself with crowds, and places, and more than a few people in my bubble. We are still Zooming our services for those who can’t yet come and participate.

Boy did I love this story that came in from the Washington Post Instagram Account. This is La Verne Ford Wimberly of Tulsa, who has been going to church virtually. The “82-year-old retired educator decks herself out head to toe every Sunday, then — to the delight of fellow parishioners at Metropolitan Baptist Church — posts a selfie on Facebook after the service. Since March 29, 2020, she has taken photos of herself from her living room in 53 different color-coordinated outfits. She hasn’t decided what she’ll be wearing this Easter Sunday, but those who know Wimberly said the odds are good that she’ll make a big splash.”

UPDATE: In the video the local TV station made about her, it shows many of her photos, with all her wonderful hats.

I love these Star of Bethlehem succulent plants; this is my Easter blossom for you.

Remember the reason why there is Easter, pause for a moment, and come back to the tasks of life, renewed.

Happy Easter.

18 thoughts on “Renewal

  1. So interesting how the creative process happens!

    I was delighted to see LaVerne’s outfits! I am nostalgic for dress up days. My grandma had a fancy apron for each holiday meal!

    Enjoy a blessed Easter!

    1. I wish you and your family a most blessed Easter. I loved the article about Laverne. She puts me to shame. For the past year I have been going to Mass virtually but dressed in either pajamas or sweats. Maybe I will dress up for Easter. Your blog has been a bright spot during a rough year. I and most of my family are fully vaccinated which gives us some mobility. Last weekend I saw one of my sons and three grandchildren for the first time in 15 months. What a joy! Love your quilts!. You are a true artist!

  2. Elizabeth,
    Thank you for taking us with you. Little slices of life. I always end up moved and inspired to carry on.

  3. Love the quilt and the process. Love the writing even more. Your return to church echoes my anxieties about “coming back” into the world safely. Having spent the past year keeping someone I love safe, I now worry about being careless too soon. I think COVID pounds are as real as COVID brain, or COVID arm! Hugs to you.

  4. Your border struggles remind me of a phrase that the embassies used to throw at those of us in Washington who were doing our best to plan responsible use of funds when the embassies just wanted to GET SOMETHING DONE!!!! Analysis paralysis. Parties frustrated on both ends as you can imagine.

  5. Hello Elizabeth!! Your borders are making that quilt go from really good to really great! —. I am so happy you are finally able to go back to church. I think I have been in your church building. My Aunt Zelpha was in that ward building. It is a small world:). Happy Easter my friend!❤️❤️ —Tracy

  6. It is turning out beautifully! It must have been all the orange that has befuddled you. 🙃. I loved seeing LaVerne. We have a lady at church who dresses like that every Sunday. I’ve never seen her in the same outfit twice and is dressed to the nines. So is her husband. They are an elegant looking couple and I think they inspire others to dress up a bit better. I’ve often said that I would love to see her hat closet! Happy Easter!

  7. Happy Easter to you and Dave.
    Thank you for the Easter flowers – they are beautiful.
    I wonder where LaVern Ford gets her hats because I’m a hat freak!

  8. I so love where your latest quilt is going Elizabeth! That HST border is genius!
    It must have felt quite strange going back to church but not being totally comfortable around people. I certainly experienced that when we came out of our four month lockdown, and months later, with no Covid in our state for over a month, find myself shying away from strangers in tight spaces! I pray the Easter spirit of renewal came gently into your life.

  9. It’s nice to see your creative process on this medallion-style quilt. Each round seems to be the perfect addition, so your pondering pace is working well. It’s good to alternate between piecing and quilting as you’re doing. I haven’t been able to do that lately (deadline to finish my current quilt), so I’m missing those sewing room diversions. I understand your feelings about returning to worship. Though in-person is possible here, I will likely remain virtual. But, I’ve returned to line dancing as one of three people in a class of 18 who wears a mask. When I line dance this week, I’ll be three weeks out from my second dose, and should be free to participate without a mask… but I’m nervous about it. We’ve had more than a year of mask-wearing drummed into us, so it’s difficult to think of doing otherwise. Those Star of Bethlehem blooms are gorgeous! I hope you had a blessed Easter.

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