Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hearing bells...

Wedding bells, that is. My nephew, Michael is engaged and they are thinking this summer would be a nice time for a wedding. I couldn't decide on a quilt pattern, and then it occurred to me that I had about 90 extra yellow brick road blocks... he loves red and she likes vintage and blue... so I put them together and figure that'll do it. Not exactly a traditional wedding quilt, but more traditional than I usually do. Michael's mom is making them a more formal quilt, anyway, so this'll be more for every day. And I'm a more "everyday" kinda girl, anyway. And Sarah, you might notice that there are redheads out there who embrace their redness- Michael is a redhead, too. These fabrics are reproduction feedsack- they have a nice weight. I still have enough blocks to make my mom either a tablecloth or a bedquilt(queen)- her choice. Mom's house/barn tends to be a little dark and this quilt would certainly brighten things up a bit. Who knows what I was thinking when I made 159 yellow brick road blocks. I didn't leave myself a note on that one. I do believe that I was planning a king-size and then changed my mind. I can do that.

The picture of the rocking chair is just a little snapshot from my world. I like to sit in that old rocking chair, by my "fireplace" and flip through quilt magazines(thank you, Sarah) or do handsewing. This chair sits in the corner of my sewingroom- with it's back stategically placed against the messy shelves of projects that need to be done. The chair was a gift from a very dear friend and if you recall I have a thing for chairs. This one creaks abominably- but the babies loved it when they were sleepy and wanted to be rocked to sleep. It is a rather deep-pitched creaking and groaning. The "upholstery" is made from upholstery samples from the fabric store. You know how they come in little squares? Well, I sewed them all together and used it to recover the chair- thought it fitting for a quilting room and didn't cost me a penny.

I spent the biggest part of the night sitting in my chair, listening to the coyotes howl- my dad likes that sound, but it always gives me the willies. I decided that I am not a midnight quilter. I think it takes a little more strength than I have. I love to spend the sleepless night hours out in my sewing room, but I rarely ever do any quilting. I have gone through a small tub of wishlist quilts and made some decisions. I keep a tub of coordinated fabrics- assigned to a specific quilt pattern- or that I'd like to use together once I find the right pattern. Well, I decided that if I hadn't made that quilt top in the last three years, maybe the pattern wasn't right or the fabric combination wasn't right. I re-evaluated and put all but the feature fabric back in the hopper. (Sarah, do you remember that brown 1840's fabric we got at Needles? That I bought twice at Needles? It was on clearance that second time.) Sometimes I just love a fabric so much that I have a hard time cutting into it and using it- what if I don't get it right? I've spent awhile looking through quilt patterns. Nothing came of it. Then I noticed some embroidery floss peaking out from the disorganized and disheveled shelves... I am working with that now and that was a pleasant way to while away the night. No pressure. It got me to thinking about ladies in years past- I love any handiwork. How they would sit and stitch on something decorative or practical. There are tapestries and samplers. My greatgrandmother, Oe, used to sit in her bed and knit a sock before she turned in for the night. But last night I was thinking about samplers and needlework. There was a sampler by a little girl on the Antique Roadshow that had an estimated value of $150, 000. WOW. I used to think that some of the samplers which contained Bible verses tended to be kind of preachy. Now why would I have thought that? I guess because I figured the reason they were made was to teach others something- and that is what they do. But you know, I don't think that was the purpose. As I sat there and worked on my own piece, it occurred to me that I had chosen a verse that I really needed to learn- nothing that I felt I needed to teach anyone else. And I thought, "Why am I spending all of this time stitching in words when it would take me 5 minutes on the word processor. I could choose a perfectly even font. No discrepancy in the size of the letters. I could frame it, and ta-da, a perfectly nice sampler." But having the finished product isn't so much the point, is it? It reminds me of quilting. With each stitch I take, I think of the person that I'm making it for. And I'm sure this sounds weird beyond all reason (as usual) but it seems like the quilt, itself, is filled with those thoughts and prayers. It is for me, anyway. Handiwork isn't about making a thing. It is a gift- to others and to yourself. An expression of the heart.


Sarah said...

Dearest Sleepless in Springport -
haha - get it? Anyway, you are waxing rather philosophical today! Have you been hanging around David Koltenbah to much? I have been sewing up a storm and my house is sinking deeper into the pit! Wish you were here to sew along with me! Or we could just head out to lunch! Miss you!

Love, Sarah

Isobel said...

Hey nines, I can't imagine you having enough energy at the end of the day to be sleepless but I guess that happens to the best of us. I used to get up and paint when I could not sleep, but as I get older, I don't see as well after dark, no matter how many lights and besides the studio is downstairs and I sleep up now. Perhaps I should try sewing again. I might even finish that quilt top I had started. Completed a lot of blocks and then just ground to a halt--I am like that on projects.

Love ya,

Aunt Isobel

Tracey said...

Handiwork isn't about making a thing. It is a gift- to others and to yourself. An expression of the heart.

Yep. You said it all right there. And very well said I might add. :o)

Holly said...

Oh Wow, that's a beautiful quilt that's going to make a wonderful wedding present!

Darcie said...

***With each stitch I take, I think of the person that I'm making it for.***

Oh Nines! I was amazed to hear you say that! I have always thought that it's a little wierd of me...I mean, I don't really intend to...but I cannot usually get thoughts out of my head about the owner of a quilt that I'm machine quilting. It actually used to bug me. But not all that long ago, I just decided that Paul M. said it best: "Let it be."

Sorry you're having sleepless nights. I sometimes think that sleepless nights are the peace and quiet that we need at certain points of our life or during our busy days. Kind of ironic that they have to keep you awake though, isn't it!

Tropical Screamer said...

Nines, I put a little love into every stitch I take whether it's sewing or knitting. I think that's why I love to piece and quilt by hand.

I'm working on embracing being awake at night. It is a peaceful time. It always helps me to remember that any time I'm awake there's an online friend somewhere in the world who is also awake.

I hope you're having a great night's sleep tonight.


Finn said...

Love the quilt Nines...can't read the small print, but I sure do love the pictures..*VBS* Great job on both the YBR, so bright and happy, and the wool one for your darling daughers. Hugs, Finn

cher said...

not only do I put love and care into each stitch of a quilt for the person it's going to-I also cook/bake that way as well-anything you do for a loved one becomes an act of love for them-at least that's my opinion :-)

Kay said...

There's so much to take in from this blog. I'll just second everyone else's comments, and add that I love your patchwork upholstery!