In Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park, Fanny's sailor brother visits while on shore leave and regales the family with the rigors of life at sea. Henry Crawford, a wealthy loafer, reflects as he listens...
He longed to have been at sea, and seen and done and suffered as much. His heart was warmed, his fancy fired, and he felt the highest respect for a lad who, before he was twenty, had gone through such bodily hardships and given such proofs of mind. The glory of heroism, of usefulness, of exertion, of endurance, made his own habits of selfish indulgence appear in shameful contrast; and he wished he had been a William Price, distinguishing himself and working his way to fortune and consequence with so much self-respect and happy ardour, instead of what he was!
He toys with these fantasies for a few minutes, before someone mentions hunting, and he finds is "as well to be a man of fortune"!
Per Austen's delicate genius, she tucks deeper meaning into the syntax of her sentences than the nouns or verbs: savor the careful past-perfects in this paragraph. Henry Crawford doesn't actually want to experience privations or work hard or prove his mettle; he wants to "have done" so! In the past. He doesn't want to build character, he wants to be on the other side of that building project, looking back with self-congratulation at what a fine man he's made of himself.
I was originally calling this quilt "Pick-Up Sticks/Acid Trip", but as I work on it, my pick-up sticks inspiration is fading, while the acid trip associations are getting stronger.
Anyway, I'm calling it the Acid Trip quilt, now. Here are the posts, so far:
1. String Piecing (Pick-up Sticks/Acid Trip)
2. Pick-up Sticks/Acid Trip coming along
In no particular order, nor any particular relevance to this blog...
DEFINITION OF BONNET
When talking about womenswear, a bonnet is a woman's head-dress which has a brim of some kind and which ties under the chin. The tying under the chin may be the original distinctive element, since its etymology shows it "akin to Old Saxon gibund bundle, Old English bindan to bind". It is stiffer and more structured than a coif, which often ties on but is a close-fitting and entirely soft garment. It's different from a hat, which can have a brim, and may tie under the chin, but has an entirely different attitude.
If procrastination were an Olympic event, I could represent my country... eventually... aw, heck, I wouldn't get around to it. In school, like many smart kids, I discovered that I could rush my homework at the last minute and still get decent grades, so there was little need to budget time for study. As an adult, my lack of discipline around time has greater consequences. I try to combat procrastination by various means. For instance, I say I need a deadline. Without a deadline, I won't finish. But in practice, a deadline only works if it's imposed by another; if I have a deadline from someone else, it activates my dread of disappointing people, but my self-imposed deadlines have no teeth. Still, that's not a good solution; do I really want to be motivated by dread and obligation?
In the last several years, when sewing for paying clients, I kept repeating the same miserable cycle: I'd get a project with a deadline; I'd be excited about the possibilities and make plans to do something really cool; I'd get intimidated by my own perfectionism, so I'd fail to start; I'd fail to do anything else, either, because I felt guilty to work on things that were not my assigned project; I'd talk badly to myself in frustration; finally the deadline would near and I'd rush to finish, feeling a surge of creativity and pleasure in creation, but falling short of my perfect vision because of lack of time; I'd deliver the project and feel freed to do other things again.
In the winter of 2020-2021, it got really bad, as I had a perfect storm of other issues and winter depression as well. There was a jacket that might have taken me two weeks to make if I'd budgeted a few evenings here and there, but instead too nearly six months of angsting and procrastinating. I was happy with the jacket, but at my wits end with my own maladaptive behavior!
Then one day I saw a video put out by Cathy Hay, a historical costumer and researcher whom I follow. She said something that may have opened a door in my head:
There's a transition you go through when you switch from having a project to having a finished thing. And that's because you change role... from Maker to Owner of a thing. You switch, when it's finished, from being the maker of the thing to the person who's judging the finished thing. So when you're afraid of finishing, it's really the Maker in you who is afraid of the Owner, the judge, that is gonna look at the finished thing and judge it.
I've since practiced telling my maker-self what my owner self will think, even before the thing is done, so I can finish. I'll say things like "I'm going to love having this blanket", or "I will use the heck out of this, and be charmed by its quirks" or "It'll be nice to hear others admire this, and only I will know about this mistake... it'll be my little secret." My future self trying to earn the trust of my present one. I think it's helping.
Way back in early 2017, about the time I started this blog, I decided to start a simple quilt made of 3" squares, each representing a completed sewing project. I started by collecting the squares as I sewed other things. Some of the squares were a single fabric, but others were themselves pieced from the several fabrics used in a single project. I collected for a while, but never made the quilt because I didn't know how to bring the pieces together attractively.
A few months back, as I became motivated to quilt, I pulled those squares out and re-evaluated them. I discarded all the synthetic fabrics, keeping the cotton, silk, rayon, and linen. I also discarded too-heavy or too-sheer squares, paring my selection down to only things that would work well for piecing. Then I threw them together in a few days, into a very strange quilt-top. It was more an exercise in piecing and setting blocks on point than a real design. I'm fond of it, but not excited enough to finish it, so it sits now in the WIP pile.
My local Goodwill has a whole corner shelf filled with these breakable little treasures, set high above the questing hands of juvenile browsers, looking out at the world that only ever looks back.
The names "bear paw" and "bear's paw" seem to be in free variation, both when I search online or look in Rosanne's quilting books, and in my own writing! For the sake of this blog, I'll try to stick to "bear paw", but the other option is equally correct. It's a nice representational block: it looks like a stylized pawprint. Compare some actual pawprints with the block:
The quilt block bear is missing a toe, but otherwise it does look like a pawprint, and it is commonly used in rustic quilts for that backwoods feel. I like the block for my Dandelion Quilt because, if done in greens, it looks like the leaves of a plant whorling out from a central stem.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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