Sunday night I was struck by a certain feeling, I can't quite explain.
I was happy and peaceful after having spent a quiet 4 days at home but my creativity felt a little blocked. I picked up this book, "Everyday is fun, patchwork" (ISBN4-89396-808-4)and as I browsed the teensy detailed hand stitched projects I pondered the thought--- enjoying patchwork everyday. Really enjoying it. Enjoying making it, putting the pieces together, seeing a project unfold. No deadlines, no rush, no pushing myself through the tough spots. I set the book down and took a seat next to my scrap bucket. There are still so many beautiful little pieces that I want to use. I took the inspiration from the patchwork book, threaded a needle and set about piecing by hand. I just took two fabrics I liked and stitched them together. I wanted to incorporate all the very thin pale green scraps to give the piece some continuity and a serene background for the itsy little colorful scraps to pop out of.I put them together and watched it grow. As it got later I lost patience with the longer seams and switched to the machine, but the project already had its meaning. the little little pieces coming together.
I don't know what I'll do with it, it measures about 14"x12". A place mat, the start of a handbag, one block of a tiny scrap quilt. I don't know, but I like looking at it. I wish I had a design wall to put it up and just study it for a while.
Last night I got a call from my second quilt mentor, Helen. I love talking to Helen about quilts. She has such a good vision and makes quilts with so much meaning or detailed stories behind them. I was happy to tell her about the projects I've been working on, but I realized they aren't the type of quilts that makes anymore. She has a focus group. She spends months on a single quilt, arranging and rearranging.. thinking of the composition and artistic effects. I thought, why don't I make quilts like that? And then it struck me that my quilts have a lot of meaning too, deep meaning and good stories, but it's not so much in the design as it is in the fabrics, where I got them, how I chose them, and where I stitched them together. The story is tied to the story of my life, where I was, what I was going through. I'll have to write all of that story down to pass it along, but I'm not so worried about that either because this blog has become a very good record of the details.
I think I'm starting to realise more why I quilt and how I quilt. Being aware of that is important as I talk to other quilters. I can appreciate our similarities and differences. Helen asked if there were any women in my guild that I could talk to, meaning that I could talk to about quilts the way I talk to her. I haven't found them yet, I know they're there. I tried to explain the positive experiences I've had sharing this craft and the creative process on line, via blogs and flickr, but using the internet as a tool for quilt making is not as easy to explain as using a rotary cutter or thimble. It's like a big focus group, but not everyone's paying attention because there's too much to look at. But sometimes you'll get a comment from someone who sees things exactly as you need them to be seen and then it makes it all the difference. Even if no one comments it still serves as a visual reference, easily accessible from anywhere.
Anyway, I miss Helen. I think back on the days that we sat in her studio, sharing ideas and inspiration. I wish I could have those experiences with the quilters I've met online, or even with the other women in the guild. Maybe someday. But as I told her, it doesn't matter if I have that or not, now I'm just as happy to stitch on my own or just be in a group of women sewing together. I know the future will bring plenty of time for connections and sharing.