20 in 20 April Report

Well, today is day 46 since everything got cancelled where we live.  I know, because I went back and counted the blocks in my 20 in 20 quilt.  I marked that day with a safety pin, and I’ve added several more since.  I’ll never forget this time, but in the blur of not knowing for sure which day it really is, there are some days that need to be remembered.  And I’m counting on more of them, but I want them to mark happy things.  I’m sooooo ready for things to go right!  I suppose I could mark today, because here I am ON TIME with my 20 in 20 April report!  Surprise, surprise!

Last month I wrote that I was struggling with a desire to sew, and to be honest, that has continued.  Some days I didn’t care much, but on other days sewing felt necessary (like the day I started my Through Tears She Saw More Clearly quilt).  I am continuing to sew each day, at least a little, to keep it all going.

In April I sewed every day but one.  The day I missed was the day of my Aunt Julie’s burial.  I thought about sewing something by hand late that night before bed, but my only reason would have been to not miss a day.  It felt OK to miss a day, so I didn’t worry about it.  Now I’ve missed one day every month so far.  Perhaps next month’s report won’t include a brown rectangle?

I have four complete rows done for my 20 in 20 quilt, and a 5th row half finished.  Sewing these blocks on felt like making hash marks on a wall.  Someday  I’ll be glad I did it.  I’m sewing less with all my kids home but at least I’ve completed a few things!  I also dusted off my Halo quilt blocks to join the sew along (it’s a fun pattern!).  One reason for my goal was to see how twenty minutes a day can add up, to see what I would accomplish.  Right now, I’m seeing that even those few minutes bring progress over time.  There are also 252 days left in 2020 – plenty of time to make it a great year, and to make quilts I’m proud of.  

That’s it for my 20 in 20 April report.  I’m grateful for my daily goal.  It’s helping me show up creatively at a time I probably would have let it drop.  It’s nice to keep it going.  I wonder what May will bring?

Through Tears She Saw More Clearly: a quilt top

Frustrated and discouraged, I pulled the first fabric and hastily cut a shape.  A teardrop.  That feels right.  So I cut more, and that felt right too.  Tears adding up, falling softly at first, then faster and harder and darker.  Meet my first coronavirus inspired quilt:  Through tears she saw more clearly.

I needed to make something that reflects the tension, stress, loss, and blessings of this time.  My requirement was that every print be a floral (large scale preferred) with a blue or green background (though a few at the top have white backgrounds).  They’re loosely organized from light at top to dark at the bottom, a cascade of flowers in a sea of blue and green.  I literally ransacked my fabric stash for these prints.  No collection was safe; I cut everything that qualified, and I’m still re-folding and putting fabric away!

My biggest decision concerned the triangles beneath each teardrop.  What color to make them?  Print or solid, light or dark, or scrappy?  I considered cutting a few to audition ideas, and then I saw the red.  Red fabric I bought for a project at a retreat that didn’t happen.  My gut said, “YES” so I started cutting and never looked back.

I LOVE the tension between the bright red solid and the beautiful florals.  It begs the question: which shape is the tear?  Are they tears of red-hot pain or anger?  Or are they thoughtful tears, tears of surrender and beauty?  Can it be both?  Can this time be both beautiful and awful?  The answer is yes.  It can and it is.

We’ve lost things and gained things, individually and collectively.  Some of my tears were chosen on purpose:  a tear on the day my Aunt died of cancer, one for the day my husband lost his job.  A tear for a friend’s devastating diagnosis.  One for other friends who lost parents in this pandemic.  Tears for dreams that are simply gone, tears of uncertainty and stress and fear.  Tears of compassion for suffering and tears of surrender.  And somehow, though I’m seeing through a waterfall, my tears also tell me that in the end, it will be okay.  Thus the name of my quilt:  through tears she saw more clearly.

I look at my quilt top and it feels strange to see my struggle in fabric, when I’m still struggling in real life.  Like maybe I’m telling the story too soon?  But on top of all the other things we’re dealing with, we’re learning to live with a lot more uncertainty.  I suppose it’s one more layer of tension in my quilt – being waist deep in the muddy struggle, trying to secure a pretty outcome.

If you’ve cried any of these tears, my heart reaches out to yours.  You are not alone.  I’m so sorry for your pain, and so hopeful for your eventual happiness.  Sooner, I hope, rather than later.

Jennifer

 

Winter Sky in Morning, in fabric

Winter can be a dreary time, and I live in a state that often feels like a thick layer of gray settles over us for months on end.  I also drive kids to three schools in the morning.  (At least, I used to, before everything was cancelled.)  I love to observe the sky, and on my morning drives I saw so much color.  I started mental lists of all the colors I saw during that 45 minute drive.  In a way, the exercise was like the one that prompted my first Color Stack quilt.  I trained my eyes to see more than I had looked for in the past, and to redefine what color meant to me in a certain season.  At last I decided to make a quilt, a quilt to capture the winter sky in morning, in fabric.

I chose flying geese for two reasons.  First, I drive toward the mountains and the colors of the sky contrast with their looming peaks.  And second, because my favorite thing is to see a flock of geese pass by.  A large number of them have taken to wintering at a golf course near my home and I love seeing them.

Each day I chose a couple of colors to represent my favorite colors that morning.  Then I made a few flying geese.  The bottom of the quilt represents the first half of my drive, when I’m headed toward the mountains and the sunrise.  The colors are more saturated and darker on that half of the drive.

The top half of the quilt represents the second half of my drive, when I’m facing away from the sun, looking across the sky toward the west.  There are mountains in that direction, too, but they’re farther away.  I love the way the colors soften as the sun climbs higher, even in winter.

There were days of snow and storm when all I saw was bluish gray and white.  I made flying geese for those days as well.  Mixed together, it is a tribute to the winter sky in morning, in fabric.  And I love it.

I love making quilts that reflect my life experiences, and the way this quilt is it’s own study in color, taken from nature.  Time for quilting!

1 2 3 468