Archive | January 2014

Asymmetry

quiltingjanWe started on a new quilt. Its a beauty and different than most we have worked on recently as its asymmetrical. Not the dimensions of the quilt but the pattern on it which seems to be an unusual feature.  Its going to be enjoyable to decide where to sew as between the colors we will have to fit in different size designs. Its not often that once we decide on the quilting design that there is any creativity. Mostly we just continue with the set pattern over and over again.  But this particular quilt was laid out so there are not standard distances between the colored parts – some are close together, others farther apart.  Even though we just began it, I am already looking forward to how it will turn out.

For some reason working on this quilt made me think about habits.  Habits seem related to symmetry. They add a set pattern to our lives.  We can be on auto-pilot to brush our teeth, get dressed in the morning, make coffee, go to work or the grocery store. And then there are those moments in life when we are forced to actually think about what we are doing, make decisions about how to do something, be creative, find a different pattern or even work without any pattern at all. Sometimes this can be enjoyable for instance when we are on vacation and find ourselves in a new place. Or it might be uncomfortable when some change in our life disrupts an old pattern and we need to find a new one.  I suppose there are people who live without any patterns – but I don’t think I’ve met them.  Just as there are people whose lives seems to be a continuous pattern, perhaps those who are part of a monastic order. Most of us probably fit somewhere in between. Personally I enjoy occasional bouts of asymmetry, to think about what I am doing and why.  To look around, ponder the existing patterns and decide where to add new designs.

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the new year

quiltblueI remember when I first posted about this quilt and it felt like it would take forever to complete our stitching on it. Now this week as we rolled it in and rolled again, I realized it would not be much longer before it was completely finished. Certainly before spring comes to the valley. We even set up a second quilt to sew now that the holidays are over and we can put away all the items we had out to sell for the bazaar. Our quilting was quiet this past week as some of the women are still away but by next week we should have the full group sewing again. And Sally joined us on Friday, who is new to quilting but has an eye for details and is patient so I am sure she will quickly become a talented member of our Friday group. And it was Judy’s birthday so we sang and had some dainty cupcakes that Bev brought in.

We were looking at a book about quilts from Alaska as I had been there recently. I realize that as I look at hand sewn quilts now, even photos of them, that I recognize the hours and hours of energy that was required. I can almost sense the effort, lives and feelings of the women who made them. I suppose there are men who quilt as well but at least in this book, all the featured quilts had been done by women. The cooking finished, children asleep or occupied, dishes cleaned up and then sitting down to sew alone or with others around a frame. I suppose there is a similar activity in this day and age but none comes to mind that embodies the peaceful focus of sewing a quilt with lovely patterns.