Covid-19 Times · Creating

Renewal

“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.

Quilts

Welcoming Easter with This and That

April 2015 MCM Bee Block

This #1:

I finished the Bee Block for our Mid-Century Modern Bee; Stephanie was the Queen for this one, and she chose this paper-pieced block, which was published in Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, out of England.  I purchased and downloaded the issue (they were having an Easter Sale!–$2.99 for each digital issue);  the templates are on their website, but the directions are in the magazine.

Baby bean plants

This #2: 

The beans are up and have leaves!  Those of you who follow me on Instagram are used to the hashtag #goofyaboutmygarden, for I am indeed, goofy about my garden.  With California’s mandated water rationing on the horizon, I’m glad we converted to drip irrigation systems and tore out our front lawn.

Grading Papers

That #1:

I graded the third batch of essays from my college-level class, but you wouldn’t really have known it, given the number of errors and problems.  I looked up the scores for the other two essay assignments, and this essay’s median scores are a full six points lower than the previous two.  Maybe it’s time to retire?

Modern Sampler to Quilt

That #2:

I was able to take my sampler quilt, with blocks from my bee mates, to the quilter.  She was recovering from foot surgery and wasn’t taking any new quilts until April 1st.  This is one of my happy errands.

Star Neonatal Quilt back

That #3:

I made another neonatal quilt to give to my guild.  I know I promised you a free pattern, but I need to try this one again.  Bigger.  There were waaaay too many pieces as it shown, and I’m trying to keep these little quilts easy and quick.

star Neonatal quilt

Final This ‘n’ That:

I’ve also finished up the hand-sewing for all the EPP Circles in my Circles Sew-Along (wait for the reveals in the next couple of months), and now am puzzling out how to put this quilt together.  And I’m still sewing down the leaves on the Pineapple Quilt.  And my list of things to finish for this quarter still remains pathetically long, but I guess the point is to keep going.

Being Mortal

For at some point, as Atwul Gawande points out in his excellent book, Being Mortal (and which I just finished), we are all mortal and have a finite time on this planet.  One study he mentioned which was fascinating to me was the idea that “how we seek to spend our time may depend on how much time we perceive ourselves to have” (97). He cited the work of Laura Cartensen, who devised a way to track and study this, finding time after time, that the choices that we make with our time depends heavily on how much time we think we have left.  The young and healthy “believe [they] will live forever,” and are drawn to experiences in the Big Wide World, while those feeling like they have less time focus on the “here and now, to everyday pleasures and the people closest to [them]” (97).

Translated to quilt-ese, that means that as an older quilter, having lived through the first incarnation of popular topics such as Gee’s Bend, large blocks on the back of quilts, square-in-a-square quilt blocks, Amish/Modern, and so forth, I really have no desire to repeat those topics again in my quilting.  My choices are informed by not only having done-this-already, but also on what I want from the quilting.  It becomes more about a creative journey and relating to those also on the journey, and less about cranking out quilt after quilt after quilt.  It is more about quality and less about quantity.  Less randomizing and more focus.

So while I still love a good quilt magazine, I browse to see what they offer.  Same old, same old?  Pass.  Some new ideas or a new way of looking at things, leading me to a stirring up of the creative juices for a day of happy working?  I’m all in.  And if I can further connect with quilty friends, you blog readers, have conversations and chats and trade IG quips, this version of the quilt world is what I aim for.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Because He Lives