Elizabeth’s Lollypop Trees-Final Photos

Elizabeth's Lollypop Tree Quilt_5I wanted to take some final photos of my Lollypop Trees quilt, partly because I didn’t feel like I’d done an adequate job posting about it when I had finished it (and did worry about overkill in writing about it).  But in writing this post, and taking some final photographs, I also wanted to think about it again, to interact with it.

Elizabeth's Lollypop Tree Quilt_3This quilt had been a part of my life for three years, and I worked on it fairly constantly, with a all-out blitz of quilting at the end.

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Quite frankly, it may be one of the best creative works I ever make, and I didn’t want to rush by it in a hurry.  So I pulled it out again, and photographed each block (see tab above for close-ups) and spent one pleasant afternoon hour in our local university’s Botanic Gardens, pinning it up, draping it over benches, finding that place that would make me satisfied, and would do the quilt justice.

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The gardener at the Botanic Gardens even stopped and sat on a nearby bench, watching me drape the quilt, I’m sure partly to see my reaction if I would drop it into the stream below.  I didn’t, keeping a good grip on it while I binder-clipped it into place.

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I used to walk over this bridge when I went to school here, first getting my undergraduate degree, and less often, when I was working on my graduate degree.  I felt like I was revisiting a crossroads sort of place where I had existed as a younger woman, all full of spit and polish and fire and vigor.  Today, with the heat nudging up to 90, I felt more spent, less sure of myself even though I am several years past that point when I used to bring my lunch and sit on one of the benches.  Often my husband, himself new to this university, would walk up from his office and join me.

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We’d sit on one of these benches, always planning to buy one for the university if ever either of us should pass on, with the inscription: “Elizabeth and Dave loved this garden,” — an idea which seemed light years into the future.  Less so, now.

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I walked up the hill past the lath house shielding plants from our hot Southern California sun, past the rose garden, up through the arbor. Just past the iris patch I found this gazebo.  Like a bride in her glory, I arrayed the quilt, primping and draping and spreading out the bouquet of appliquéd flowers.

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Sunlight illuminated the quilt from the back, a bee settled in to buzz around my head, and a slight breeze blew the quilt to and fro. . . time to go.

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There is an old saying that goes something like this: “When the house is finished, the man dies.”  I don’t think that applies to me, finishing this quilt, but there is something of a finality when a quilt that has extracted lots of creative energy is finished.  It’s an ending, with the quilt becoming its own memorial, its own momento mori of that three years of my life, gone and never to be seen again.

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I fold up the quilt, dodge that bee one more time, and head down the through the shaded gardens.

 

Lollypop Tree Blocks Completed


LollypopBlocksAll

All stitched down.  But I remembered in the middle of the night, that I wasn’t done stitching.

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I still have the border blocks to finish.  But first, I’m going to enjoy being at this point (for closeups of the last three blocks, head to “Lollypop Trees” in the header).  I finished taking off the back of the pieces last night before I went to bed, then pressed it and put it up on the wall.  I think sometimes in our rush to have a finish, we forget to stop and smell the flowers.  So I’m stopping today to smell these flowers–even though there’s no fragrance, there’s a sweetness to the air in my studio–all these up on the wall.  They’ll cheer me on while I grade the poetry papers that came in yesterday from my students.  So, in honor of getting this far on this quilt, and this far in the semester, I leave you with a couple of haiku, bare whisps of poems appropriate to the season.

Tom Tico:

Into old pots and pans

thrown out in the backyard—

the musical rain

Harriet Axelrad:

snowflakes glued

to the kindergarten window—

no two alike

Enjoy the weekend!