Ever Slowly, They Multiply

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.

blue and teal orange peel quilt draped over tree branch

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”.

close up of applique orange peel quilt top

Fantastic momentous replica rolex is going to be options

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.

blue and teal orange peel quilt top hanging from fence

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?

full view of hand appliqued orange peel quilt top on porch

 

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.  

THEY MULTIPLY.

 

Something to Mend

I needed something to mend.  Big things are broken in our lives, in our world, that we can’t control.  Still, I needed the feeling of restoring something, making the broken beautiful.  Recently I purchased a vintage floral crown from a favorite shop that was closing.  I was drawn to the blue velvet and satin leaves.

Many of the leaves had pulled away from their wires, so I began by gluing each leaf back onto the wire.  (My binding clips were very helpful in this process, by the way!)  I bought some vintage millinery flowers at the same time, and added them to the crown.

We all have something to mend.  Probably in our textiles, but mending is bigger than that.  We need it in our relationships, in our thoughts, in the way we treat people at the store.  We all see the holes.  None of us can mend the world alone, but we can all find something to mend in our own lives.  Restoring this crown reminded me that mending heals me, too.  I love the crown; I love how I felt after fixing it, even more.  

Fixing my crown reminded me of an old quote, wise words from a very good man:

“This year, mend a quarrel.  Seek out a forgotten friend.  Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.  Write a letter.  Give a soft answer.  Encourage youth.  Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.  Keep a promise.  Forgo a grudge.  Forgive an enemy.  Apologize.  Try to understand.  Examine your demands on others.  Think first of someone else.  Be kind.  Be gentle.  Laugh a little more.  Express your gratitude.  Welcome a stranger.  Gladden the heart of a child.  Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.  Speak your love and then speak it again.”  – Howard W. Hunter

 

Hello Again

Hi there.  It’s been a while.  2020 has turned out to be quite the year, and from all appearances at this point it’s going to stay strange.  I didn’t mean to take such a long break from blogging; one minute I was taking photos of my newest quilt top in April, and the next I was turning the calendar to August.  But here I am, and hopefully you will stop by at some point.  So, hello again!  How are you?

I feel different.  And the different has changed forms several times over the past 5 months.  Our family has experienced our own, individualized, version of the pandemic along with everyone else.  It’s been stressful, heartbreaking, freeing, beautiful, and ugly all at once.  Sometimes I feel lost; other times I feel found.  I have loved extra time with my family and grieved for things we’ve lost.  

Sometime in late March I was working in the yard when I spied this daffodil laying face down in the flowerbed.  I straightened its bent stem to look at the flower.  And it took my breath away!  Its slightly wilted, yet still exquisite beauty was both a gift and a mirror:  a gift of hope and a mirror of the resilience we’re all working to maintain.  We may be wilted, and we may be rising up from having our faces down in the dirt, but we are beautiful.  Beautiful, valuable faces we can still turn to the sun.

However the year ends, I hope I’m coming out of it more gentle, more compassionate, a better listener.  I want to see people for who they really are, hear their stories, spread kindness.  I want to be part of the solution – on an individual level.

 So… wherever you are in your journey, face up or face down, thriving or struggling or anything in between, know that you matter.  You are beautiful, talented, valuable and creative.  I end today with wise words I’ve shared before:

“Being creative will help you enjoy life.  It engenders a spirit of gratitude.  It develops latent talent, sharpens your capacity to reason, to act, and to find purpose in life.  It dispels loneliness and heartache.  It gives a renewal, a spark of enthusiasm, and zest for life.”  – Richard G. Scott

Here’s to gratitude, to renewal, to enthusiasm and zest for life!  Hello again!

It’s good to be back.
-Jennifer

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