Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Direction

I love sunrises and sunsets. If you are a face book friend you know that I upload a lot of photos with this central theme. Something about the beauty, the total art of God, that is new every morning and spectacular every evening. If I had a camera that could capture the full moon there would be a lot of those photos too!

Seems these canvas in motion events totally distract me, mesmerize me actually, and I find that I do a lot of reflecting. When I posted this particular photo on FB I got a lot of comments about keeping my eyes on the road!


Sometimes my quilting is like that, I get distracted and a bit disorganized in my direction. Sometimes things are just so crazy that I can't focus on something that needs to be done, instead I find something that's not on my to do list for a little refreshment - a little change, so to speak.
Such was the making of this little quilt....

It was sometime this summer during all the remodeling mess. I had been sent a link to a fun little pattern called JellyRoll 1600 Quilt and it looked like fun. "Jelly rolls" are typically 2.5 inch strips all rolled up together, generally from a fabric manufacturer showcasing a collection of fabric, you know, fabrics that "go together" nicely, usually 35 to 40 strips. Any quilt shop can offer you a wide assortment of jelly rolls. Well, this quilter makes her own 2.5 inch strips and keeps a drawer full for quilt emergencies such as this....

So I found myself in need of a mental break. So many things were swirly around me that I seemed to have lost my path.....actually I think I just wanted to get OFF the path for a little while (grin).

With the instructions on the internet and my chosen 40 strips I began the process of sewing the strips together end to end until I got the "1600" or so long strip...next you take the two ends and begin sewing the sides together until you get to the end of that, then you join 2 rows to make 4, 4 to make 8, etc...I've shared photos of my progress but since this isn't a tutorial if you really want to make one visit the above link and watch their fun...



After a few short hours I had myself a Jelly Roll Quilt. Lovin' the instant gratification. Much needed at the time I might add.

My plans were to spice it up later with a border or something. Hated to admit, but my random act of pulling out 2.5 inch strips didn't lend itself to the pretty coordinated look that comes from a true jelly roll collection...oh well. It was quilt therapy.

Several sunrises and sunsets had past before I thought about the little quilt again.... the more I thought about it the more I didn't like it. It was too linear or something. I loved the pattern and the fun of making something quick. What was it? Did the colors not play nicely together? I couldn't understand that as they were my "chosen" and I do a lot of scrap quilts. I'd look at it and just toss it aside. I had other things to do. For months this became a quilt in waiting...

Until one day!

I decided what I didn't like about the quilt was indeed it was too linear for fabrics that weren't "blended" as a collection - instead of just tossing it in the pile of unwanted projects I decided not to waste the fabric or my time and energy. Goodness, it's fabric right, so why not cut it up and do something different!


Since I do like some sort of balance, or evenness I cut it into 5 equal parts and then switched those parts around to break up the long streaks of similar colors. (Lovin' my new design wall by the way)...

The process wasn't as painful as I thought. It was just more time than I wanted to commit to a project that seemingly didn't have a purpose...

Indeed, I felt like it was an improvement. Pleased with my extra efforts of time, the little quilt was tucked away again for another day..

I don't get to walk to the bay every day, not even every week, but when I do I am rewarded with reminders again that nature is indeed God's canvas. Its times like this that I sit and ponder the direction of my life, questioning the things that I am currently going through, wondering if I'm on the right path, curious as to what is around the next bend....

And then I get a brain storm! It's time to teach my husband more about quilting as it is our desire to have him join me more in the business (currently he is my right hand man in setting up the A1 Quilting Machines we sell). Yep, it's time to learn to actually quilt a quilt!

When I was learning I never enjoyed that blank canvas of muslin - we didn't need practice quilts mounting up to use as doggie quilts - goodness Pixxie is just a 6 pound Chihuahua and sleeps on real quilts! Nope, I didn't want to do muslin, I practiced on "real quilts"...so what if they weren't perfect, they were still useful. With that in mind I sacrificed my little jelly roll quilt to the mercy of a new quilter (grin). Okay, so it wasn't that dramatic, but it is the FIRST quilt that I've piece that I hired out the quilting (double grin).

Yep, something new for the both of us. And with good results if I do say so myself. PS, I do plan on teaching him to piece so he can do his own quilts from start to finish...

And that brings me back to the thoughts of New Directions. Many times I fight the thoughts of change, more so the trials that sometimes come with it. Those hard times when you can't seem to understand why mess is happening to you...why you are being uprooted or disappointed or torn apart. Those nights of anxiety, the endless oppression, the constant wondering of just where in the world are you suppose to fit in. I know I'm not alone. It does seem to be a universal experience at some point in everyone's lives...

It's times like these that I have to stop looking in the rear view mirror no matter how beautiful the sunrise and put my eyes totally on the road in front of me. The past is the past, it's time to look to the future. I may not know where I am going, sometimes it' only clear enough for the next step - but its times like these that I must put my total trust in my Creator God, the one who loves me more than I can imagine, the one who sent His Son to pay the price for my sin by dying in my place, the risen Jesus. I know I don't have all the answers to life's problems but I do know that He loves me and will never let go of my hand - new directions and all.

And like that little quilt that went through the painful process of waiting to be useful, then the pain of being cut up and redesigned....I've surrendered my will to His, if He wants to shake things up, move things around, and rework me then that's okay, because I know through the wait and the process that I will be better for it. Sometimes He shakes things up to move us where He can use us!

I'm ready for the next step in this wonderful journey called life! And like quilting, it's meant to be shared so stay tuned!

3 comments:

Muddling Through said...

It IS a much more "Karen" looking quilt now, and Johnny did an excellent job of quilting. Yay for you both!!

Denise in said...

Love your pictures AND the way you pulled it all together. Your "jelly roll" quilt ended up being so cute & even nicer that hubby got to practice with it!

jude's page said...

I look forward to your posts Karen, and your words of wisdom. New directions seems to be where I am heading also, Thankyou