Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Strip pieced blocks

I am in a swap for 6" strip pieced blocks, 6 for each of 2 partners. So over the weekend I made 24 blocks. That would be 12 to mail off and 12 for me with another 12 coming to me in the mail, enough for a rather small lap quilt with fairly wide borders. Then I reread the swap description and saw an added on paragraph saying to make the blocks 6-1/2" inches so they'll end up 6" when sewn together. Okay, back to the sewing room to make 12 larger size blocks and a revision of the newly formed UFO -- I'll have 36 blocks [I'll cut down the larger ones] which will make a better sized lap quilt with perhaps narrower borders. I already know it'll be double sided but haven't arrived at what I want the reverse side to look like. There's time for that.

Meanwhile in a different creative vein, I had to write a poem about myself. With strip piecing so much a part of my days here's what I came up with:

To sew string quilt blocks I dived
into my bag of strips and bag of larger scraps --
remnants from quilts made years ago,
some forgotten, most given away
Like a pioneer woman I saved the pieces
of wonderful colors, plethora of designs
tiny flowers, gold geometrics
chintzes, polka dots, stripes.
Pioneer quilters mixed what was on hand
side-by-side I sew patterns and colors
in unexpected combintions --
exciting srprises, sudden revelations,
old prints beside new batiks.
Every strip sewn is a choice
as fingers scatter forgotten and beloved bits,
deliberately random, I reject or discard some.
Beauty comes easily because individually
the pieces were already beautiful to me.

Always I think
of this kind of quilt making
as metaphor for my life.
When one has lived enough to be called "senior"
memory is an enormous scrap bag of experience
people known, loved, disliked, shunned,
books read, art theatre, ballet seen,
music heard, information stored.
So many places on five continents visited --
I have become a melange,
a nice French word that could mean
patchwork quilt made of remnants.
Some parts came to me through genes,
through nature and nurture, through serendipity.
Mostly through choice, all leading to my life
of successes, failures, disappointment,
happiness and sorrow, in short my own life.

I sleep under every bed-size quilt i make.
I treasure every memory I have.
I do not know how many quilts I have made.
I could never name all the people I've known.
I have not counted how many cities I've seen,
(I once thought I might tabulate the World Heritage site,
but haven't done that either, tho' it's doable.)
My quilts are rarely planned, no two alike.
Sometimes I am a careful sewer, sometimes sloppy.
Sometimes my life too is unplanned,
(I do not go to the grocery store with a list.)
My life has been far different
than could have been predicted.
May whatever remains tome be
as spontaneous and glad as these
string quilt blocks and the quilt
I am only now planning to make of them.

1 comment :

Kass said...

I love this. What a wonderful compilation of thoughts and fabric.