The final Project Quilting Season 14 prompt is “Conquer a Fear”. I sat and pondered the prompt for a while on Sunday when the prompt was released. I’m not particularly afraid of any quilting techniques, piecing methods, or colors. Though I used to be hesitant about curves and using pink or brown, so I am definitely proof that the way forward is through. Or as the prompt post says:
You see, to grow you must face fears. It’s the way to achieve and succeed. If you only do what’s safe and comfy, you’ll stagnate and grow soft.
The way forward is always by finding and following a new path. Growth.
I didn’t come to appreciate pink and brown without using them in quilts. And clearly, I have flipped all the way around and now love and embrace sewing curves. Okay, well, the prompt wasn’t just about quilting techniques; it asked us to consider our path forward personally, professionally, creatively, emotionally…. So I stared to think more philosophically.
In the past, I’ve been accused of fearing change. I’d like to suggest that instead of fearing change, what I fear is the unknown. I actually quite embrace the fact that life is nothing BUT change. It’s when the next step forward is shrouded in uncertainty that I start to get fearful. Once I can wrap my mind around and start envisioning what the new will look and feel like, I actually get quite excited to move forward. But until I can envision that step forward, well, I have a lot of questions and uncertainty.
With that loose philosophical idea in mind, I quickly settled on making a large, oversized courthouse steps block large enough to be a baby quilt or wall hanging. As I turned to my stash to think about what fabric to use, I realized that I had been resisting cutting into the yardage of Kona Cotton solids that I acquired last year. Afraid to “misuse it”. As if making a quilt could ever be misusing a fabric! So without overthinking it, I boldly walked over and started pulling fabric mostly from the March bundle (which you can see is significantly shorter in the stacks on my shelf with the selected fabrics removed).
I chose (from top to bottom on the left):
- And rounded out with Bone (which I have considerable yardage of) for the sides.
I used 3″ wide strips (which finish at 2½”) and the 38″ square quilt top itself was pieced by mid afternoon on Monday. I spent a lot of time on Monday waiting to hear about a loved one who was in surgery (it went well), and I started seeing the quilt as an hourglass with the sands of time dribbling down from the top. We each take our allotted moments and turn them into memories: one breath, one step, one moment at a time.
None of us know when our timer will run out. I think about time and the moments I have left a lot, and instead of turning toward fear, I hope that with that awareness, I am more able to consciously choose to be in the present moment. Not every step is perfect, and I’m grateful for the hands and hearts that have helped and continue to help me along the way.
I created a quilting plan (illustration above) that I hope illustrates my thoughts and musings about time and the hourglass of life.
I used 50wt Aurifil in 2360 (Chocolate) to quilt the top of the “hourglass”, 2000 (Light Sand) to quilt the vertical lines in the Kona Bone sides, and 2468 (Dark Wine) to quilt the bottom of the “hourglass”. Up close, the quilting becomes bolder and more visible toward the middle of the quilt, which felt appropriate. The present and near present moments both in the past and future are the most in focus and stark. As time moves, older memories layer on top of one another and while they clearly shape who we are and our present moment, the exact details become less clear. And the further ahead into the future we try to peer and predict, the murkier and less we are able to discern.
To finish the quilt, I carefully matched the binding to the colors on the edge of the quilt: Espresso at the top, Bone on the sides, and Raisin at the bottom. The extra time it took to carefully construct the binding was well worth it and I like how it also gives a sense that the shapes and ideas keep stair stepping and building both up and down beyond the edges of the quilt.
I have quite a bit of Kona Burgundy yardage in my stash, and since it was the next to darkest rich red in at the bottom of the quilt, it was the natural choice to use for the backing.
In one last instance of facing fear, I was contacted by someone who saw a photo I shared of the pieced quilt top on Monday. When she read my thoughts about the hourglass, she was really moved by the piece and my words. She reached out and asked if the quilt would be for sale. Setting a price for my quilts always brings a bit of a rush of fear; but I took a deep breath, wrote her back with the price I would like for the quilt, and as long as she sees these final photos of the quilt today and still feels a connection to the quilt, I think I will be selling and shipping this one off to a forever home soon.
Kim @PerisimonDreams, Trish @QuiltChicken, and Kim @GoGoKim: thank you so much for all the hard work you do to organize and host Project Quilting. I don’t know why I hadn’t participated in a prompt before, but after being able to make something for each prompt this year, I am completely hooked and already looking forward to next year!