Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Need a Barn

I had a lovely day yesterday.  Over the last year, I've been helping my friend Paula learn to quilt.  Well, I helped her with her first two, which were for twin grandbabies.  Since then, I haven't done anything other than marvel in delight and amazement at how eagerly she has taken to it. She's made about a quilt a month since then, and has recently completed a small art quilt which just floored me with its delicate artistry and beautiful stitching.  It's always fun to share the love of quilting and recruit a new member to the club -- but it's been truly inspiring to see how her excitement has led her so far so fast.

And yesterday, Paula invited me to join her for a sewing day at her sister-in-law's house.  So I met Marge, another sister-in-law Pat, and several other very nice women, and we sat together visiting and working on our respective projects.  Quilters are such nice people -- I heard it said often, but it's true.  And quilting with others is enriching on so many levels.  I love feeling the echo of women through the years, working with fabric together.

Marge hosted our get-together in the barn on her property.  (That is not it above; that's an old barn I drive by frequently and love for its elegant aging.)  Her barn is really a modern workshop, built for her husband's garage and workshop activities some years back, but clean and bright and suitable for all sorts of purposes.  It was a warm but rainy day yesterday, so we had the big garage-type door open and had the pleasant sense of enjoying the outdoors without being outdoors.  Marge had laid down carpet remnants and set up big tables and it was perfect.

I know I'm lucky to have a dedicated bedroom to use for quilting, so I can make my messes and leave it all there in progress when I need to turn my attention to something else.  But gosh, I get such a thrill when I see the big spaces that some folks have for their work -- basements or full attic spaces or, yes, barns. 

So I am thinking today that I need a barn.  Maybe my garage has a new life ahead for itself.  Who knows?!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Iowa Bound?

If you happen to be anywhere near Des Moines, Iowa between October 2nd and 5th this year, you can see the Twelve by Twelve "Colorplay" series of quilts -- all 144 of them!  Look, there's the pink and blue sets   (and can you guess who chose the pink theme?!  Hee hee hee.)  The collection will be at the AQS Quilt Week at the Iowa Events Center. 

Oh yeah, and there will be about 1600 other quilts for you to see there, too.  You can find out all about the show here.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Putting Pieces Together

When I started my blog 9 years ago, and named it "Going to Pieces," I never realized how appropriate that name would be.  At the time, I was thinking about how many things I juggled as a working mom and wife and quilter and artist.  I'd started the blog to talk mainly about quilting, and of course "pieces" seemed perfect for the bits of fabric and thread that surrounded me and the bits of time I used to cram creative play into my day.

Nowadays, "going to pieces" is appropriate in ways I'd never have anticipated.  I've had some big life changes, the biggest of which has been separation from my husband of 20 years. My daughter is 17, with needs far different from those she had when she was a kid in elementary school. A lot of elements in my life -- legal work, creative work with fabric, home-keeping -- are still there.  But a lot of pieces have changed, too.  Over the life of this blog, I learned about Miss C's Asperger's syndrome, I got a puppy (now a still-rambunctious adult dog), I started singing in the community chorus, I've learned a lot about drawing and watercolor painting, and I've made some wonderful new friends.  There are core things in my life that are the same, and there are core things that have changed.

So the quilting metaphor of life as a jumble of pieces continues to be amazingly apt.  The pieces aren't what I thought I'd be working with.  Some have frayed.  New pieces have been introduced.  And every day is about taking the pieces I have and appreciating the pleasure of putting them together into something beautiful.  I've even been thinking about how my own whims about what I'm in the mood to sew on any given day -- a simple, pieced functional quilt, or a complicated original art quilt -- provides an appropriate metaphor for how I feel about other aspects of my life.  Some days it feels like doing one simple thing is all I can manage.  Other days, I feel ready and able to tackle a big, new look at an original design. 

I even think that the inside of my brain feels like the way my sewing room looks.  Bits of different things all over the place, lots of things in progress. Sometimes I can get it all organized, and at other times it feels like I'm lost in the mess. 

My blogging has been wildly erratic.  Well, most things in my life right now feel rather erratic, really.  But that's okay.  I'm learning that happiness is about finding the pieces of joy and contentment and connection and friendship and truth and seeing that they are coming together to make a picture that pleases me right now.  You know how sometimes a piece of ugly fabric or a bit of an odd color can provide just the right touch of uniqueness to a quilt?  I'm thinking that's a relevant metaphor too.  Those weird, ugly bits are part of the quilt that make the bright colors sing and make the whole thing mine. 

I could go on an on about quilting metaphors for life lessons.  But I'm thinking right now that "going to pieces" isn't just about coming apart, it's about putting pieces together.  That's what I'm doing these days.