My copy of Our Lady of Hot Messes arrived Friday and I’m starting to dig in. When I review quilting books I can often tell in the dedication how the book is going to be, if this holds true then this book will be different and challenging. When someone says, “y’all deserved better” there is some serious reflection going on here.
I will offer a full review probably after the new year when I’ve had more time to sit and read the book.
When I started free-motion quilting I would mark the quilt top, get it pin basted and start stitching. Part of the struggle for this quilter, aside from shoving a queen or near king size quilt into the seven inch throat of my home sewing machine, was the markings would come off as I stitched. I would try to redo the markings however between the pins being in the way and the fabric shifting and not quite being able to line things up again just so my own personal level of frustration would kick in and I would soon head off in a different direction. If these lines are going to come off well then darn it I’m going to quilt it this way.
Over time my stitching go better, I can quilt without markings and something appropriate to the quilt.
The quilting changed, as needed, and in keeping with my somewhat hidden, eclectic, fly by the seat of my pants personality. I really didn’t understand, and still don’t understand this part of who I am as a person and as a quilt maker. And yet, it’s evident in my quilt making. I didn’t mark anything on this quilt. I kind of knew where I wanted things to go, what I was looking for in the sky and the water and here we are. The only thing I might do someday is change the binding on the quilt, then again, maybe not.
Since coming to Texas I’ve had time to do a lot of reading, what is for me deeper reading. And one might suspect since journal keeping is something I’ve done since seventh grade that I’d do extensive writing. Reading yes, writing not so much. Like my faith life and quilt life something needs to shift and without a clear direction to go in this discipline or journaling/writing fell to the wayside kind of niggling at the edge of my being, seeking the attention it so richly deserved. Then I started Spiritual Direction. My director asked me (as he does with all his Directees) to make notes (i.e. keep a journal) of how God is working speaking acting in your life: journal number one. Parallel to this I have started journal keeping again: journal number two. In another SD conversation I expressed a desire to pursue the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: journal number three. Yes friends I went from not writing in a journal at all to…three journals with different purposes. While this may have overtones of bragging, “Hey look at me I’m keeping three journals,” I tend to think of it like this, “How do I get back to one journal, integrating my whole life into one place?” That may come again one day, for now though here I am.
There was a long time where I practiced Lectio Divina, sacred reading and journal keeping/ prayer journaling was like breathing. In the Spiritual Exercises there is a different focus, one that requires the use of imagination being able to meditate on a bit of Scripture and to place yourself in the scene of that Scripture. I was reminded of the imaginative, placing yourself in the scene this week, I shared with my Spiritual Director that I’d been struggling with Week Three: The Intimacy of Prayer and Week 4: God’s Invitation to Greater Freedom. I mentioned this frustration in some really specific things that came up. His first question was, “have you received any consolation in prayer” well yes, I had and it wasn’t at all what I expected. In talking a little more he recognized that I needed to tweak the approach to meditation. The next day I revisited the place of struggle, working toward the placing in the scene, having this moment of I’m a writer, use the imagination through writing. Here the yearning of the heart and mind and the gift of writing come together Like any new practice there is an internal feeling of awkwardness and a sense of going somewhere.
As I started writing this story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel all night came to mind. There was a thought with some of this prayer that it would be easy breezy, and yet it’s not. As I shared some of this with my Spiritual Director he assured me that this would get harder as I go along. “I’m going to keep praying through this.” is my response when asked if I want to give this up. If I really desire intimacy with God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit – then I need to learn to be intimate with God. I’ve struggled with a lot (at least to me) in this journey of Faith with ups and downs, twists and turns, knowing in moments that God’s calling was leading me away from places of “comfort” and “safety” and into new-to-me territory. Sometimes the willingness to go is right there and other times there’s a need to find the courage. This seems like a place where the need to find the courage is necessary.
As I continue on this journey I’m starting a new quilt. It’s all pin basted, which is something I haven’t done in a long time. Pin basted as there are two layers of batting and the fabric is linen and a silk/cotton blend. I need to decide on what the bobbin thread will be then get started stitching. The last time I pin basted a quilt top I ended up stitching through the pins, so there is a deep need to be aware of what I’m doing as I get the free-motion quilting going.
Note: this is a whole cloth quilt, that is already marked. The top is linen, the back is the silk/cotton blend. The markings that I need for the quilt are there, though not really seen in this image as they are nearer the wall. One of my biggest struggles is marking quilts as the markings come off when I stitch, so marking for me is “the bones” or the framework, with the rest of the design happening as I stitch. While it seems an odd way to work, this not knowing, it is a gift, for there are surprises and delights along the way.
Just like the life of Faith.