A flock of geese flew over my house as I sat for my morning study. In spite of dropping temperatures, a couple of windows happened to be open an inch or two and I heard them coming. It might be my favorite sound of fall: honking geese flying in v-formation across autumn’s blue sky. I always stop to watch and listen, take a deep breath, and smile. It’s the season when things change slowly, then quite abruptly in flashes of tumult. But mostly, it all comes about so gently. The leaves change color, then fall. Lace-like first layers of snow creep lower down the mountains. I hear the first crunch of brittle leaf beneath my foot. And like my hand stitches, ever slowly, they multiply.
Denyse Schmidt published her book, Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration, in 2012. A long time ago! Studying it prompted this post about “slow middles” a few months later. About a year after that I noticed a happy accident on my sewing table. The adventure began when two scraps of fabric next to each other by chance sent me hunting for more. I tracked down the print, and a friend helped me match the solid. Squares were cut, hundreds of orange peel pieces traced and cut by hand. A slow process, yet “ever slowly, they multiply”.
The Orange Peel pattern in Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration, is a hand applique pattern. I’ve grown to love hand work and this looked like a great two-color pattern. Naturally I had to increase the size! All the pieces went into a plastic box complete with needles, two thread colors, and a pair of scissors. It began.
That was YEARS ago. At times I thought I’d never finish. I would count the remaining blocks and groan, then remind myself, “ever slowly, they multiply”. Yet today I have a finished quilt top because I stitched those thousands of stitches, all while waiting in my car. How often does time in the car yield a quilt top?
A gentle breeze just lifted a handful leaves and dropped them beneath my cherry tree. Most, still green, hang tightly to the tree. But ever slowly, they multiply. In 2021 my personal goals have been built around the attribute of diligence. I’m learning the power of small and simple actions bringing great results. And I love quilting as a metaphor for life. One kind word, one item put away, one act of faith…. each of them repeated consistently yields powerful results. Acting on this principle in so many areas makes the hand stitches in my quilt top a more joyful finish: every slowly, they multiply.
So keep stitching. And keep trying. Keep smiling. Ever slowly. Don’t quit.