Monday, February 23, 2015

A Needle Pulling Thread....

Where do you look for inspiration?  When was the last time you shared a little bit of "your story" with someone else, and were blessed by inspiration in return?  Sometimes I spend so much time rushing from meetings to classes to the next school, and so on, that sometimes I forget to realize how much there is for the taking.

No, I don't mean that last cupcake on the table, with just a touch of cinnamon.  (Okay, maybe I do...)

Sometimes I feel as if I'm being nudged into my happy place, after thinking that I can't possibly afford the time.  For me, my happy place is knee-deep in thread clippings and scraps of fabric, cutting perfectly gorgeous big pieces of cloth into tiny triangles and squares, just to sew them back together into big pieces of cloth again.  

If you are unfamiliar with that concept, or wonder what the point of that action is, then you clearly don't know a quilter.

Sew What?

Quilting is a noble profession, especially if you consider the humble beginnings from which many quilts are born.  While I can't imagine searching on roadsides or taking apart worn mattresses to salvage their fabric coverings, or dumpster diving outside the clothing factory for scraps of fabric like the women of Gee's Bend, I take great delight in watching the pattern develop with each and every seam.

While I can argue all sorts of educational significance for quilting -- geometry, calculating yardage using the Pythagorean theorem, understanding the implications of stories and history told through patterns and blocks designed based on history and scripture, (and maybe even the underground railroad mapping, but I'm skeptical on that one), searching, and finding inspiration for, and from, a hobby like quilting has a value all its own.

There was a year where several students designed quilt patterns themselves -- the most creative of which featured Nintendo's Mario, painstakingly graphed on paper, and converted to fabric.  We called the seminar EGFA, because we love acronyms, as you well now.  Exploring Geometry through Fiber Arts provided both a justification and focus for the design process.  We ran out of time before the quilts truly were complete, but everyone got the chance to start.

There are weddings in the next year.  My godson will marry the lovely Catherine, and they need a quilt, with some hidden sunflowers to celebrate Jake's mother, Amy, who left this world all too soon last spring.  I will make sure that she is there to hug and warm them, even if it is only symbolically.  My own son and Bailey have chosen a January date, so a quilt is an absolute must for them as well -- we all know how cold January can be!  Each of those quilts will be assembled in a pattern of 2 inch squares, and each of those squares, I hope the recipients know, are sewn as I dream wonderful dreams for the future of these marriages.

I came home this evening to a text message from a friend of my daughter's, looking for advice about purchasing a sewing machine.  He stopped over, played with fabric, sewed on a Bernina, and shared pictures of dresses and costumes, some nearly 100 years old, that he is hoping to restore.  

Where did I go after his visit?  Why right up to the sewing room to those 2 inch squares.  

So today, the day after the Oscars, where Lady Gaga sang about needles pulling thread, I realized that small chunks of time here and there add up to larger chunks of time, until you've assembled a whole day -- or quilt -- or two.   The joy of a single 20 minutes this evening allowed great progress, without causing the guilt associated with ignoring the backpack of essays that needed grading or IEPS calling to be written.

Find your 20 minutes.  Find your inspiration.  Discover your joy.  

Be open to continuous learning.  It's a habit of mind.  :)