The weather has been pretty unpleasant this last week of December, so I have decided to dedicate some time to my quilting hobby. I assemble my quilt tops by machine, but when it comes to the actual quilting, I derive great pleasure in quilting the 3 layers together by hand. There is something soothing and relaxing about this process. But hand quilting does take a great deal of time, so consequently, I complete only one quilt a year. This year however, I am on target for completing not 1 but 3 quilts before the New Year!
I know you are probably wondering what all this has to do with nature explorations. Well, I guess it is time to reveal the logic behind the naming of my blog. I came upon the name “wandering around the block” because it gave me the flexibility of writing about wandering around in the outdoors (blocks) or wandering around the quilt block.
But, if I examine my quilts closely, they really are not far off from nature. As I look at the quilts I have completed this year, every one has a nature theme to it. The red, brown and yellow quilt is called Autumn Leaves with one of the fabrics consisting of different colored leaves. As a result, I quilted oak leaves and acorns in the blocks and borders. The second quilt I called Birdwatching since I gifted it to a friend who enjoys getting out and photographing birds. I quilted geese in the blocks and ducks swimming in the reeds on the border.
And now, I am busily trying to accomplish my goal of completing three quilts this year. It is a baby sized quilt, modeled after a Sudoku puzzle, where the different colors are the puzzle itself.
So, there I was half way finished the hand quilting, when I looked at the quilt and had the awful feeling of panic that hits when we make a mistake but we are too far in to contemplate a correction. I’m not sure what I was thinking (maybe a magic square?), but I stared at the colors and was horrified to discover that the tan fabric was in the lower left hand corner on the three diagonal blocks. How could I have made such a mistake! I mentally tried to visualize rotating the blocks and then the individual rows within each block but each time a different color was in the wrong place.
To rip apart half a quilt of hand stitching and then disassemble the whole quilt just filled me with dread. Then I remembered what a fellow quilter once said, “there are no mistakes in quilting, only new designs”. Alright, the quilt itself doesn’t look bad, I just can’t call it Sudoku. Maybe I can call it “Nature’s Bounty” or “Nature’s Story”. After all, I quilted a flower, bird, dragonfly, moon, star, spiral (which could be loosely interpreted as milky way), and clover in each block. They all relate to nature!
Being obsessive, I could not let this mistake alone, so I pulled out the assembly directions and compared the layout. It was correct, could the directions be wrong? After some deep breathing, I looked at the quilt again. Idiot! Only the row and column have to be unique, not the whole quilt! So the quilt is correct. I breathed a sigh of relief and began quilting the next block of the Sudoku Puzzle. With 3 more blocks to go, I am on target to meeting my goal.
May we all shed our obsessive behaviors in the New Year and turn our mistakes into new designs, directions or experiences!