Another week is drawing to a close and May is half way done already! This lockdown is doing strange things to my perception of time. It certainly isn’t helping me resist my natural inclination to procrastinate! Every little task has become something I could do tomorrow!
Today I’m trying to give myself a ‘positivity boost’ – maybe I just need someone to give me a kick?
Anyhow! Rewind to yesterday. I kept myself busy by working away in my sewing room: an exercise in writing a pattern alongside cutting fabrics and putting together blocks for a quilt top. I was doing well until I got stuck
Challenge three of the Quilter’s Color Quest looks at using emotion to guide fabric choice. The Quest is organised by Rachel Hauser over at Stitched in Color, using her book The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color and the 150 colour swatches to build an understanding of colour in relation to the fabrics we choose and use.
To begin with a question: Am I the only person failing to experience extra time on their hands? This phrase ‘extra time on our hands’ has been used a lot in the past couple of weeks. Of course it can not apply to those working in essential services but is used as a generalisation for the majority of us confined to our homes.
I have found the rapid escalation from social distancing to ‘lock-down’ to be quite an overwhelming experience. I am used to having time on my own during the day; now I share our house with a home working husband and a dissertation writing son. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad not to be home alone and we are fortunate enough to be able to use separate areas of the house to do our daily work. Many of my weekly events have been successfully transferred to the internet. A week ago I’d never heard of Zoom, this week I’ve been to Church, met my women’s Bible study group, gathered our Housegroup together and been to a Pilates class via the wonders of Zoom :-O
All of which is wonderful and I’m sure as the weeks of lock-down continue I will be ever more grateful for these link-ups BUT how about a bit of time and space to grasp the ‘new reality’ which differs so much from the ‘old normal’? Technology has enabled us to bring our old normal into play with our new reality. There has been little opportunity to sit back and take on board what is happening. I find myself choosing not to listen to the radio or even music. Not because I’m thinking deeply but just because I can’t take in any more information; any more words or sounds; process any more new experiences (queuing outside supermarkets, wondering if going to the allotment is permissible daily exercise?).
I have begun a slow reading of the Book of Psalms. Today I read Psalm 4 and was struck by the word ‘ponder’ in verse four (other translations use the phrase ‘search your hearts’). Here are definitions and synonyms of PONDER:
…think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.
…to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply.
In the context of Psalm 4 the writer is instructing the reader not to give in to anger that would lead to acts of revenge, rather to ‘ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent‘. I’m feeling ‘overwhelm’ rather than anger but I think it is not stretching the meaning of this Psalm to apply it to present preoccupations. In these modern times when instant reactions are the norm it is hard to give ourselves up to the quiet, sober, deep practice of pondering. At the end of our pondering we may well conclude our initial reactions were wrong, ill-judged, unhelpful, possibly unkind and so be thankful we took the advice to ‘ponder in our hearts’ before acting, seeking instead to find what the Psalmist found:
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
I need to take a step back from all the activity of bringing the old normal into the new reality; to ponder the current situation, ponder what is in my heart and discover afresh God’s perfect peace. How about you? Too much time on your hands or has the old busyness been transferred into the lock-down thus obstructing the Psalmists instruction to ponder?
There wasn’t a lot of sunshine during our New Year’s Eve walk across Hengistbury Head but it was lovely to be at the seaside 🙂
The Old Year, New Year Stuff:
Over the past few years I’ve gotten into the habit of choosing a word of the year for a focus rather than going for New Year Resolutions that only set me up to fail. I do fit some goals around my chosen word but my core intention is to use it as a consistent reference point rather than a way of assessing progress or achievement.
My word for 2019 was ‘COMMUNITY’. My word for 2020 is ‘GROW’. I toyed with words on the theme of expanding/moving forwards, such as ‘develop’ (sounded a bit clinical) or ‘nurture’ (maybe a bit too airy for my practical nature?). So this year GROW is the word (I just heard ‘Grease is the word, is the word’ run between my ears as I wrote that! :-D) but I won’t be letting go of ‘community’.
What is the legacy of community and how does Grow fit with my patchwork quilting hopes and dreams for 2020? Well…
Being part of the Worldwide Quilty Community both on online and in person has been a key motivator for me. Last year I focused on this with the intention of contributing and sharing more both through social media and through teaching.
Social Media: Regular Saturday Quilting Bring & Share posts on this blog gave me a useful platform to show progress with my own projects and, more importantly, to share links to helpful and interesting posts published by other quilty bloggers. I definitely intend to continue with regular SQB&S posts. My Facebook page NewEveryMorningPQ and my Instagram feed @allisonreid.neweverymorning are other ways I seek to keep in touch with patchwork quilters. Bringing GROW to social media fits easily as a continuation of last year’s community theme.
Teaching: Through 2019 I taught four Beginners Classes at Purple Stitches. I also organised a workshop from scratch – booking the hall, taking bookings on line and teaching from my own design 🙂 I enjoy the challenge of leading workshops and gain great satisfaction seeing participants confidence GROW as their projects take shape. I’ll be GROWing the number of workshops I have available to teach through 2020. For the first quarter of the year I have scheduled two Beginners classes (both start on 11th January – there are a couple of places available in the afternoon class) and a new class, ‘Two Ways to Build a Log Cabin’, being held at Purple Stitches on Friday 6th March.
I’ll also be applying GROW to pattern writing. I aim to publish eight patterns this year. One will be the pattern that was printed in Quilt Now magazine at the end of 2019 and another will be a pattern accepted for magazine publication in July this year 🙂 So there’ll be quite a lot of behind the scenes/secret sewing going-on to GROW in this area! I do have plenty of pattern ideas swimming around in my mind, I need to work on creating a properly organised computer filing system so I can use my written instructions and diagrams more efficiently… Of course, patterns need to be tested so there’ll be plenty of opportunity to make patchwork quilts 🙂
I’m planning to GROW my own skills and practice the art(s) of patchwork quilting. To this end I’m excited to be booked onto a free motion quilting class in February with Jo Westfoot aka The Crafty Nomad. And I’m intending to purchase another sewing machine (jumps up and down in excitement): a Juki 2200 Mini which I’m convinced will GROW my free motion quilting skills 😉
It’s all very well making these plans for 2020 but I am reminding myself that ambitions built on my own strength are actually built on sinking sands – I have no idea what will happen to me hour by hour let alone through a whole year! To trust and act on the rock of Jesus’ words (Matthew 7:24-27), knowing the solid truth that ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8) is, I’ve found, the best way to look to the future. Whatever happens to enhance or thwart my plans my wisest choice will be to GROW my trust in Him. 🙂