Something inside my breast shifted, like a door opening, and inside me was the Serengeti, and oceans of grass swaying without hurry, while massive gentle beasts swayed unhurriedly with it, walking... and eating... walking and eating, nudging and brushing up against each other.
I loved elephants.
Remember the Hunter's Star quilt I started for my sister last October?
NO MORE HUNTER'S STAR
A new pattern is required. And quite accidentally, I find it through a merry link trail on Reddit!
This presents a matter of interpretation: in English, "grass" connotes something unremarkable and ephemeral, while "weed" connotes something hardy and unwelcome. The poem changes pretty dramatically depending on whether the poet pauses to reconsider humble grass or a noxious weed! I lean toward the "grass" reading, though. I like to think that the existence of a name makes the passer-by stop to observe something he'd never considered noteworthy before.
Some quilts -- like my Memories of Africa Quilt or my Dandelion quilt -- start with a plan. I sit down and draw an idea, pick my fabrics, and work my way toward a fore-visioned end. I love working like that, because I can bring an idea into reality! But those quilts tend to be thinky quilts, and sometimes I don't have the reserves to think my way through my hobby. Lately, I've been getting home from work at 6:30pm, and it's dark, and I have just enough space in my brain for a little Foundation Paper Piecing... before I feel my focus slip, like a car falling out of gear. I get maybe a half-hour of concentration, and then I find myself picking the wrong fabric for the pattern and having to rip seams, or just staring at the same piece for a while doing nothing. I desire to be creative, but sewing to a plan leads to frustration.
That's why I like to have a second project at the same time, a non-thinky project. The Acid Trip, Scrappy Double Wedding Ring, and today's featured project are all examples of what I think of as "blank verse" projects.
My mom and I did two tours and one friend-visit while we were in Africa. The first tour, The Great Rift Valley, was a safari, and we camped outside many nights. Here's my mom and I at home in Pennsylvania, ready to set out:
New Year is a good time to--like the Roman god Janus--look both backward and forward.
("Crater" sounds like something you might know you're in, but Ngorongoro Crater, being 161.557 square miles, is so big that except for the moment when you're on the lip about to drive down, you don't really feel like you're in a crater.)
Now that I quilt, I see quilt patterns everywhere. Like in the pebble-mosaic walkways of the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon! Incidentally, that garden is beautiful, but in the interest of isolating patterns for blogging, I took some very boring pictures of it when I visited on November 15th, this year.
Labeling quilts is an interesting topic for me. Historically, labeling quilts was not the norm. Some modern interpreters assume that the women of the past didn't think their work deserved credit, as this quote from Womenfolk.com exemplifies:
Most women of the past simply didn't think that the everyday or even "for best" quilt they made was important enough to sign. Some even felt it would be too prideful to sign their quilt.
I hesitate, however, to argue motives from a lack of evidence. We have positive evidence of makers marking their quilts in several instances, such as when making signature quilts as gifts or community projects, or when labeling a quilt for laundry purposes. Even the source cited above, which claims women failed to label quilts because they thought their work unimportant, then goes on to describe an uptick in labeling when indelible inks came on the market. Did women suddenly find their quilts important then?
Unsigned quilts were exhibited at county fairs, shipped across the ocean as gifts, saved for generations, and described in letters. Clearly they were not unimportant, even if they went unsigned. So maybe there are other explanations for not signing. Maybe the makers lived in smaller communities than we do today, and within those communities the people who mattered knew who made what. Perhaps the makers didn't care about a hundred years down the line because they never expected their quilts to last that long!
I am not happy with my lioness, for two reasons. First, I think she's too plain. Her yellow colors are similar to each other, and their saturation is similar to the blue sky. And second, I already have a lion, and I want a greater variety of species. So I look for stock photos of leopards and cheetahs, to see if their silhouettes and face shapes are similar enough to give my lioness a change of species. What do you think?
(Unless otherwise credited, I took all the pictures in this post. The lioness paper piecing pattern is available on Etsy.)
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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