Quilting is a spiritual, mental and physical practice for me. While I quilt, my internal chatter quiets down. I focus on one seam, then another seam until individual pieces become a whole creation. Sometimes, because to “err is human,” all the fabric pieces are not exactly the size they should be, and I have to make compromises. This teaches me that beauty is not perfection. If I become too obsessive, the fabric will begin to ravel, the seams will shrink, and I will lose the wiggle room I need to join the imperfect piece to its neighbor.
When all the piecing is finished I take my quilt top, batting and backing and either pin them together or load them onto a scrolling frame. If the quilt is in a scrolling frame I can begin quilting at one end and move systematically through the quilt, but if I have pinned the quilt and placed it under the needle of my domestic machine, I must begin quilting in the center of the quilt. This allows me to ease any wrinkles caused by the stretch of the fabric or my little compromises. It takes patience to join the quilt top to its batting and backing. I breathe in and breathe out and move through the quilt.
Our lives are a bit like a quilt. Thoughts, beliefs, feelings and memories are all stitched together in a pattern we have created with our experiences, and sometimes to help them coexist in harmony, we have to start at our center and move out. Even our imperfect pieces can contribute to our wholeness when they are eased from a center of self compassion. May you find compassion for all of yourself at your center today.
I love also that functional quilts of the poor were made from scraps that were not always beautiful in and of themselves, but became beautiful when joined into a whole. Gee’s Bend quilters are the most famous example. These poor black women in rural Alabama started with left over flour sacks and worn out work clothes and ended up in the High Museum.
Beautiful…. Calming even to just read about the process. Thank you for sharing.
Good Lesson Lisa! You are such an artist! There are certain truths that cover all the arts, :Dance/choreography, Music /composition, Visual arts/style, Drama/character development,,,list goes on and on. I think you have captured the mind set it takes to compose and sew a work of art, and recreate it in terms of humanity.
It is interesting that a quilter has to start at center. Potters center the clay first before the lump can be coaxed into a form.