Zen And The Art of Quilting

zen-quilting.jpg
 Thimbleberries

Thimbleberries

 2007 Thumbleberries Fabric

2007 Thumbleberries Fabric

 ~Angela :-)

~Angela :-)

So, most of you know that I've decided to make a challenge quilt for a contest at a nearby qult shop. So, I bought the charm pack on February 12th. And I've been working on it off and on since then. So that's, what, about three months? Well, I have an announcement: AAAAAAAAAARGH! I'm utterly stumped. I'm normally a person that's overflowing with ideas. Literally. But I've got designer's block on this one. I've separated the charm squares by value, but that's as far as I've gotten. Not for lack of time. Not for lack of enthusiasm. No. It's because I'm completely neurotic. I really want this quilt to be good. I want it to be original and expressive of me. I want it to wow people. I want people to discuss it and ask me how I did it and how I came up with the idea. Except that it can't be anything too difficult, because my sorry hinder is running out of time. So I need an idea that's brilliant and fast. I've tried to talk to my husband about it. He's actually quite understanding. But after dumping all this self-flagellating, confused mess on him, he usually says something like, "Uh, so, you're trying to make a quilt? Is that it?" This of course does not help. I already know the project isn't earth-shatteringly important. That's the worst part. I know I'm over thinking it. I know I need to just loosen up and go with it. I know that everyone will still love me and think I'm clever if I do an uninspired unoriginal quilt. They will still ooooh and ahhh if I do something easy. But no matter how much I tell myself that, no matter how many times I've picked a nice easy pattern and my rotary cutter blade has been poised for slicing.... I just can't do it. It's possible that I need therapy. Part of my problem is the fabric. I'm really hung up on the "look" of the fabric. Don't get me wrong, I like the fabric, but it's not what I would usually buy. You've seen my recent purchases--they're usually either vintage quilt blocks or modern, and usually pretty clear colors. Thimbleberries are very old-school country, very greyed and muted and "antiquey" looking. You know, they have that Thimbleberries look. It's nice, I like it. But when left to my own devices, I tend not to make things that way. Even when I try to stick to a traditional look, I lose my nerve halfway through. Although I do quite like the cute green floral in the lower left corner. Anyway, I don't want to make something you would expect from Thimbleberries fabric. But while some fabrics seem to work in many ways, some fabrics really seem tied to their "genre" if you know what I mean. And most of the Thimbleberries are like that. At least to me. And the rules say I can only use Thimbleberries fabrics. I can add additional Thimbleberries fabrics, but every single fabric from this year's line has to be somewhere in the quilt. (I could say Thimbleberries more in one paragraph. Here it is three times fast: Thimbleberries. Thimbleberries. Thimbleberries.) Maybe it's a lack of vision on my part. However. Despite having a lot to say about the fabric, it's not the problem. From limited palettes come innovative solutions. I believe that. So I just have to get over my obsessive self and do something. I need get off the result and get on the process. I need to get out of the way and let the work happen. I need to let myself create something and live with all its lumps. If the quilt is an expression of me, then it's going to have lumps. I have lumps (as we're all becoming painfully aware). I wouldn't be me without them. I heard someone describe karma once in a really beautiful way. They said, karma is like a canvas bag of fish that you carry with you. Everyone's bag is different, filled with different fish, and that makes them unique. As you discharge your karma, you gradually can empty your bag of fish. But even if all your karma has gone, your bag of fish is empty, the bag will still be marked. The oils from the fish will have impregnated the bag, shimmering like a rainbow in the light. So you are still unique, marked by your unique experiences to create a beautiful tapestry of you-ness. Isn't that wonderful? I need to remember that. Let's just not think about the fact that I am a fishbag in this scenario.