Thursday, April 25, 2013

An Oasis in the Desert

The past month has been one of the most difficult times in our lives... It has seemed as though Dave and I have been wandering in the desert, much of the time by ourselves.... lost and alone. 

We now find ourselves with the potential for a complete change in direction for our future.  We don't know what the future looks like.  We have yet to see that picture.  I cannot reveal the details that brought us to this point of life, but I can say that the past several weeks have involved lots of waiting.  Waiting as other people did their jobs and made decisions regarding our situation.  The next step has been taken and we now wait... again.

If you really know me you KNOW that I LOVE to spend time in my sewing room creating, sewing, and quilting.  I use the time as therapy.  But the last few weeks rocked me so badly that I could not even muster up the energy to make it into my sewing room, let alone create something in there.

In the past there have been times when I would comment on the amount of discarded pieces of fabric or paper in the trash can in my sewing room.  It has been used as a sort of gauge as to whether it was a "good" week or a "sad" week.  This past Tuesday as Dave and I gathered up the garbage to take out my comment was "Oh, this was a REALLY pathetic week."  (There was one discarded tissue.) He looked me in the eyes and said, "It is time.  Get back in there and create.  You need to make a quilt and it needs to represent something about time in the desert." 

I thought about it... I thought about the past weeks and the amount of time we both have spent in prayer, study and in Scripture.  There were several key scripture verses that we have clung to in this desperate time.  I went to my stash.  I pulled out a fat quarter that had Scriptures of hope printed on them.  I then went and pulled out fabric that represented the mono-chromatic colors of the dessert.  This is what came about...

As I cut and placed the pieces for the top on my design wall I felt my spirit begin to lift.  As I sewed the pieces together and read and focused on each scripture square I found myself beginning to smile and sing along with the praise music I was listening to.  By the time I got to the border I was nearly dancing!

Once the top was complete, I asked Dave his opinion before I started the quilting.  I had thought about possibly doing some applique or some embroidery that would have represented growth in the desert.  After a comment from him about the random placement of the scripture squares, he thought it just needed lots of quilting.  My response to the random-ness of the scripture was "There is no pattern to the color placement or the Scripture. There is no symetry or pattern in the desert/nature."  Okay... 

So I started with some leaf/flower petal type quilting pattern.  Again, with no symetry, rhyme or reason to the placement of it.  (Trust me, Dave commented on the lack of it again.)  Then I took advantage of the remaining open space and decided that I would work on improving my skills of free-motion quilting.  The stitch length is uneven and "jerky" in places.  Because of that, this quilt would never win any kind of award for skill in quilting, but it takes practice to improve. 

This quilt represents much to me.  It represents wandering and growth. It represents time with the Lord and the many people that have been praying for us and with us.  It represents hurt and healing.  It represents our current position in life.  It is an Oasis in the Desert.

I have entered this quilt and blog entry into an on-line bloggers quilt festival.  Follow the link below and vote!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A History Lesson...

I was asked to compile a brief description of the various blocks and the meaning and history of each block. 

Log cabin (Center squares) quilts have been sewn in the United States since the 1860s. Each square block is a piece of quilt history in itself. The block is a representation of an early log cabin home that was being built on the wide expanses of the prairie. The log cabin quilt pattern history of meanings is: The center block of the quilt is usually red or yellow, this represents the fire in the hearth. The light strips on the log cabin pattern square represent the sun shining on the eastern side of the log cabin. Likewise the dark strips on the log cabin pattern indicate the shady side of the log cabin.

Together these simple fabric strips are stitched in a precise manner to form a complete picture to those who understand what the color and materials represent. Now you know the log cabin quilt pattern history of the exquisite log cabin quilt itself and why it came to be such a cherished part of quilting history and daily life back then. The log cabin quilt still remains a popular quilt pattern today. It represents: Home, Warmth, Love and Security.

The trees are representative of life.  I chose to use include Aspen leaves  represent the changing seasons of life.

A remarkably simple block, a basic Flying Geese block (the border - triangular shape) consists of a larger triangle (the goose) surrounded by two smaller triangles (the sky). Flying Geese blocks are usually made so they are twice as wide as they are tall. Choosing fabrics with enough light-dark contrast is essential to make the geese stand out against the background of sky. If the goose fabric is dark, the sky should be lighter; on the other hand, if the goose fabric is light, the sky should be darker.  

The Bears Paws (Corner blocks) - Each paw consists of a square, edged with saw tooth little triangles with a smaller square at the corner. The darker colored triangles in the saw tooth section represent the claws of the bear. Sometimes the paws are set in different directions to give a fresh look to the main block.  What became each claw in the Bear's Paw quilt block had it's beginnings as the sawtooth border used on early American quilts.