Gallimaufry is defined as a hodgepodge, a mixed up jumble of stuff. This is an apt descriptor for my style of free motion machine quilting. Thread color, weight, and motif changes happen without a whole lot of forethought or planning. And, if on the odd chance there is some planning, that plan might change as I move through the quilt moving over the surface of the quilt. There is a willingness to bend, move, and change. In reflecting on this, wondering and asking how this came to be the dwelling place of creativity, there is a moment of inspiration that pushes through to the surface. Being inspired by a national teacher posting regularly talking about color, sharing images that spoke deeply to the person in me who loved the box of 64 crayons. Who loves spring, and autumn with the riot of color, texture, and fragrance. Signs of autumn have been sneaking through for weeks. And the shades are a wee bit orange, making me squee with delight.
Before I go on with the gallimaufry through my head, today on The Quilt Show website there is a free show featuring Meg Cox. It’s one of my favorites for sure, and the After set brought tears to my eyes. Meg described a memorial service at her home after her husband passed away. Then talked about something that she, as a new widow, needed at Quilt Market a few weeks later – a hug – she needed and wanted a hug. She got them. And in that moment experienced deeply the friendship that is the world of quilting.
If I’d known it was you I would have done something else
Over the last several weeks the words, “If I’d known it was you I would have done something else” have been wandering through my brain seeking some attention. These words, spoken to me a long time ago, hurt, deeply. As often happens I start an inner dialog with the person who spoke them. Wanting this person to understand so much – about me – about how much this hurt – about the wall erected in that moment – about unreasonable expectation.
Allow me to back up for a moment as a teenager I joined a local Anabaptist church. There were some strong needs in my own life, and these folks were there in a way that is difficult to explain. I am so very grateful for these folks in so very many ways. I got to really being my relationship with God, fall in love with scripture, and be part of a community.
I wanted very much to fit in, and be accepted by the larger community as well. I was welcomed by some, held at arms length by others. Then as now I don’t quite conform to the norms held by a group. I tried though. I tried. So when these words were spoken there was an understanding on my part that the trying to fit in, be like, and truly be part of this faith experience.
Now in this moment I’m hearing these words very differently – I need to hear them differently and respond to them differently. Forgive and let go. You see, being intense, quirky and outspoken is disconcerting to some. I often say that my best and worst quality is that I’m candid. Though now it’s tempered by time, the ability to extend grace, and hopefully some maturity that allows me to choose words with much more care.
This was also the time when I chose to be super serious. Adding super serious about life to intense, quirky and outspoken – yeah that doesn’t go over so well. Oh I tried giving up being quirky. That didn’t go so well.
And then I got to thinking about how quilting, being a quilter, and continuing along this path has helped me to rediscover that quirky, intense, 64 crayon loving kid who would sing at the playground when she was by herself. Or skip across the desert. Dance in the courtyard with my sister.
Oh how I love to quilt. I’m so very grateful for quilting opening the window to my soul, setting it free.
As a teacher, as a person of faith, as someone who loved deeply, quilts passionately, this is the thing more than anything else…to find who you are and own that person. I’m quirky, short, a gallimaufry of thought, and thread, and fabric. I’m grateful for this year, as difficult as it’s been to come face to face with the fact that in order to grow and move both spiritually and quilterly I must forgive. The forgiveness though is allowing something to stir deep within.
Someone posted a photo of a coleus the other day with a black background. In my head I can see a whole cloth, a long one, completely stitched out on Robert Kafuman Radiance with shades of purple. A gallimaufry of motifs, So that little quilt on the upper left hand side – is a precursor of what’s to come in a personal quilt. Something deeply soul related, soul sharing, connected deeply to the trust that forgiveness is a beautiful thing.
And I’m going to make that part of my word of the year – FORGIVE.