Time to ponder?

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.
Consider, contemplate, meditate, study, wrestle (with)

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?

With blessings to you and your household.

Allison

 

The old and the new…

Happy New Year!

Hengistbury Head Dec 2019 by Allison Reid

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 πŸ™‚

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.

Log Cabin with borders by Allison Reid
I just had time to add the borders to my sample for the Log Cabin class before packing away my sewing equipment for the Christmas break.

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚

Allison

Hengistbury Head Dec 2019 the Priory by Allison Reid
Christchurch Priory from Hengistbury Head

 

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (87)

Welcome to Saturday/Sunday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your projects and share in the inspiration and conversations buzzing around the Worldwide Quilting Community. Do add your thoughts and links in the Comments box at the end of this page.

This weekend I’ve been helping out at the Ladies Craft Evening at Church. Six different Christmas-themed crafts were on offer along with a light supper and a short talk by a Christian about what Christmas means to her. There was quite a lot of preparation for the evening but it was well worth the effort as over 60 women were able to enjoy all that was on offer.

My stitching craft time has been spent growing my Moravian Star decoration. The first half is almost complete.

Moravian Star first half by Allison Reid

Blue Jelly Roll by Allison ReidAnd I have a new jelly roll to pet. I’ll be using this when I test my draft Log Cabin Workshop pattern. (Well! Someone has to break into a jelly roll every now and again or we’d have them stacked higher than the Tower of Babel! :-D)

Of course, it being Christmas season, I do have a few ‘secret sewing’ projects underway or in the planning that I can’t share on social media.. πŸ˜‰ I expect you have one or two of those too? However, I am excited that later this week I will be in a position to reveal the secret sewing I had underway back in July πŸ™‚ A big hint – on Thursday I’ll be making a bee-line for the nearest news stand!

Here are some of the quilty blog posts that have inspired and informed me this past week:

Chela has discovered another great tutorial on You Tube. Marcela demonstrates clearly how to make a lined box pouch. I will get round to inserting zippers….

Christina Cameli has put together a great photo tutorial showing us how to make Scrappy Quarter Log Cabin blocks in a very free and easy improv style (you don’t even need accurate quarter inch seams to create these blocks – I know that will cause a few fists to be pumped πŸ™‚ )

Colour value = dark, medium, light. Do you ever use the black and white photo option on your phone to help you evaluate the colour value of the fabrics you are choosing for a project? Yvonne is an expert at doing this – using either a ‘mobile device’ or a camera and Photoshop. She has produced an excellent video tutorial showing how to take photos of our fabrics then colour adjust and grayscale them to help in our choices.

Bernie stitched up a fun little project for her two year old Granddaughter. Who wouldn’t want to hang a handmade decoration on their Christmas tree? Well! I can think of a few…. But I guess many of us delight in the memory-filled decorations that come out year after year?

Have you ever taken part in the annual Row by Row challenge? Janet Lutz, a quilt shop owner, designed the hop to encourage us to visit bricks and mortar quilt shops. Ready for 2020 she has instigated some big changes to the nine year old challenge. Read more about the new look in this article by the Craft industry Alliance.

UK based Melony has designed her own range of Christmas fabrics. You can see them in her latest blog post and purchase cuts from the bolts direct from Melony.

At Church today we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. We were reminded that Advent isn’t really a season for counting down to Christmas Day but is the time to be looking forward to Jesus’ return. The official Church prayer or ‘Collect’ for the First Sunday of Advent:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

I would pray earnestly for Jesus to return very soon and end the suffering caused by so much injustice in this imperfect world but I do not want the final day of judgement to arrive before all my family, friends, neighbours and readers of this blog have taken time to reflect on the purpose of Jesus’ first time coming to this world. To make an informed response to the claims made by Jesus and his contemporaries I recommend you watch the series of short videos and/or read ‘God’s Big Picture’ by Vaughan Roberts.

Linking with Kathy for this week’s Slow Sunday Stitching. Kathy is working on a Christmas project.

Happy Stitching!

AllisonΒ 

Not Your Typical Bank Holiday Monday!

Today is an atypical Bank Holiday Monday. For one it is sunny and VERY hot! Being British we plan for cool, rainy holidays….

Secondly, in our household we are waiting, waiting… To hear from our eldest son who was admitted to hospital last night and is undergoing emergency hernia surgery as I write. To occupy our anxious wait I have retreated to the relative cool of my sewing room while my husband is in the sitting room watching the hi-lights of yesterday’s dramatic Ashes Test match.

Yesterday evening, blissfully unaware that our son (who lives across town) was writhing around in agony, I managed to complete all the fmq feather swirls on the first Square-in-a-Square quilt. My free motion ‘skills’ produced a variety of swirls – some with just seven feathers others with ten. But I am content with the overall look.

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl (3) by Allison Reid

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl (2) by Allison Reid

Now. with my heart beating a little faster than is necessary for the activity involved, I am squaring off the quilt and preparing to attach the binding. Thankfully neither job requires my full attention πŸ™‚

Square in a Square trimming by Allison Reid

I am so thankful to our God for the gift of prayer. Yesterday morning we sat with both our sons in Church, we sang God’s praises together, prayed together and shared in Holy Communion together. Our God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow πŸ™‚ We can trust him through the good times and the difficult times.

Linking with Beth for Monday Making and Em for Moving It Forward Monday.

Allison