Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Memory Quilt - labor intensive quilting

For a few years my memory quilt made with three photo taken trekking in the Nepalese subkingdom of Mustang, hung in my entry hall. When I decided to replace it with the Mongolia memory quilt, I looked at it seriously and decided it needed much more quilting. As I wrote a while ago, our eyes get used to different things. Heavy quilting is IN and I've begun to like the look even though I can't do free motion quilting on my trusty but ancient sewing machine. I decided I should add much more quilting. And I have been doing that for three days in the limited quilting time I've had. I forget how labor intensive each step of quilting is, how much time it takes. So this took much longer than I wished but such work can't be hurried. The before is above, the after is here -- just a small section.
And below is the whole quilt. It is not one of the most beautiful, I tried to use the colors of Mustang but I could have done a better job of balancing them, I think. Still there are ascending pictures of me on the trail -- all taken on one of the last days when we crossed four pases before lunch! A day I remember with great vividness each time I look at this quilt I'm terrificly proud of myself for doing this in my sixties! I was the slowest, almost always the last on the trail, but I did it and possibly loved doing it more than any of the younger whippersnapers The picture at the top shows me on a pass with a string of prayer fllags about my head. The mountains in the distance are the Annapurnas [3rd highest in the world], we walked with them in view all day -- so beautiful!
Those are real prayer flags across the top. One day as I left my building quite early in the morning, they were literally lying on the sidewalk in front of the door of the building. I thought that was auspicious so I picked them up and kept them. As a note of interest: when I saw prayer flags in Tibet and learned they are called "wind horses" [and many, like these, are stamped with images of horses, a well as with prayers in Tibetan script] I found it difficult to understand how the Tibetans, in their mountainous country had chosen a horse symbol. Horses are pretty useless in thosee mountains, yaks are much more adequate beasts. But eventually I realized that in that huge country [of which I saw only a tiny bit] there are also wide plains. And I learned that Tibet may have been invaded a few times by horse-riding peoples and that horses are prized possessions, once of only the wealthy. So, horses with all their romance that flat-landers have associated with them, strength, nobility, speed, if imagined to be at home in the sky would be fine bearers of prayers to the heavens and throughout the world.

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