Thursday, July 31, 2014

Patchwork

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Oh, this is fun.  I had no idea I could spend so much time happily sorting big piles of small fabric scraps out of one basket and into another; cutting them up with scissors, then stitching them back together with a needle and thread.  When all these scraps began to pile up, way back when, I just did not know.  Why did I wait so long?  Oh, bliss. 

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This is probably an immense project; a full-size quilt, hand-pieced from 2” squares, but it doesn’t seem daunting at all.  It seems gentle.  It is tremendously comforting, simple, peaceful.  It seems like something that will be there for me as long as I need it, and because scraps reproduce at a rate not explainable by science, there will always be another, and another, and another scrap quilt.  

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I think this is what makes me love a Big Project, and why I start so many of them—too many, sometimes—I think I just want to have it there, always, waiting for me when I need it.  Be there for me, be steady in times of turmoil.  Everybody’s life is so chock full of (mostly happy) chaos, just the everyday mayhem of family life, so noisy and so hectic, the dirty dishes and piles of wet towels and tumbleweeds of animal hair and trying to feed and placate and comfort and support all my people, this endless work of mothering, and the way I feel like flinging myself protectively between them and their next potentially bad decision, and how it takes me forever to learn that they do not want me to do that, and how much time I spend trying to quell my creeping irritation over their deep devotion to their phones, and (pant, pant) I am frankly on the hunt for peace where I can find it.  My own lack of willingness to engage in confrontation has cost me victory in many a debate, but I am ever in search of peace.   I lay down my arms and sew little squares together.

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Assemble my tools, curl up in a sunny corner, breathe deeply, gently.  Make a quilt.

22 comments:

  1. So So true! I am facing this exact problem with my young adult children. They dont want my input so much any more they want to make their own decisions whether right or wrong. I get that but how do you stop doing something that you have been doing since they were born...trying to make good decisions for them....I also quilt, knit, rug hook, make soap etc.....

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  2. Oh so pretty. I'd love to try doing some patchwork one day. I just have to get all the WIP stuff out of my baskets first and clear my head of crochet stuff!

    Take care

    Vanessa xxx

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  3. One of the best things....sorting scraps and then sewing them together to make something pretty...I love it too! X

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  4. Seriously now what I have wrote have disappeared twice - my own fault completely. sigh
    Anyways - That is some pretty small squares you got there.. Just how many quilts do you have in your home?
    I use my knitting and crochetting and the like, to realax, focus and breathe. That and tea are my medicin;)
    On phones - I am surprised to find that people are so glued to their phones.
    I have even heard on the radio one day, that some kids have never read a book, or don't know how to write a letter. That is shocking. Those are some of my favorite things from when I was a kid, and still is..
    Happy crafting to you:)

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  5. Back to the source... Way from those complicated designs, and the rush, and even the compétition...A simple pattern, simple hand pieciing, mindless, quiet sewing, and yet so much soothing for the soul... Enjoying the whole process, making something useful and beautiful, out of the bits and pieces of life. A labour of lové...
    Is there anything better ? :))
    I just lové your project and you make me feel like starting-gâté the same one. THANKS for the inspiration . Keep going !

    XOXOXOXOXO
    Nadine

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  6. I don't think I have the patience to hand sew all those tiny squares, but I know exactly what you mean about finding peace in sewing and having a big project always there to come back to. It's comforting somehow to immerse myself in the creative process, be it cutting, piecing, sewing or quilting, and ignore the chaotic world around me.

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  7. I love quilts not phones too. xxxx

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  8. I love to create patchwork. It's one of the most relaxing things to do, I think. I can do it for hours on end.

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  9. Somehow, you have brought me one step closer to believing I can do this! Thanks Kristen :)

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  10. Patchwork is so calming isn't it. I really loved this post, I understand completely what you say about how life is, and I agree, a little sewing at the end of it all is good for the soul. The quilt is going to be wonderful. CJ xx

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  11. This project looks pretty daunting to me but those squares are very cute! Can't wait to see the finished quilt! x

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  12. Well Kristen, you have expressed so well what can be gained by turning our minds and hands to something soothing, something that takes a bit of planning, skill, talent, and is always on call.

    xo

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  13. Nothing more Zen than hand piecing. I love rummaging through the never ending scrap basket.

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  14. So so pretty, it is going to be something special, Kristen!

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  15. I love your quilt-to-be. Doing it that way makes me want to start one myself. The thought of cutting out all those little squares perfectly on a board with a rotary cutter and then sewing on a machine turns me off completely.

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  16. I love a big, slow-moving project and the time for quiet contemplation it affords--enjoy your quilt.

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  17. I love the idea of just blithely sewing 2" pieces of fabric into long strips but I think I am way too anal about placement to do that. I love the look of you strips. Are they going to be offset by anything or is this just going to be a full-size quilt of squares?

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  18. Sewing little squares together is how we pick up the pieces of life, and put them together again in a form that makes sense to us. :) Happy swing , quilting or how ever you call it.

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  19. ooops I meant happy sewing !

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  20. Ahhhh this one is going to be known as the-quilt-I-made-the-summer-the-kids-moved-out. Finding your bliss in handwork is a balm for the nerves.
    My youngest is already beginning the relentless nag to update his phone to the new Iphone 6 due out this fall. So. Annoying.

    Your writing is delightful by the way.
    Lynne

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  21. I love following your projects, and you've inspired me to take the same journey a couple of times ... knit hats and ONE hand pieced / sewn item nearly finished but not the whole blanket, a quilted pillow cover. Meanwhile, I have been cleaning and organizing my studio this summer (after seven years!), and I am down to two large bins of lovely good quality prewashed quilting cottons - mostly small strips about 1.5-4 inches. If you know someone who wants them - or if anyone reading this note wants them, please let me know. I will pack and send in USA! I just want those babies to have a nice home. -- michele

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  22. this is profound, and probably explains my mild panic that a queen-sized quilt is almost done. I don't have another top pieced! And I keep delaying the binding of the queen-sized quilt.

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