It’s much more blessed to give than to receive.
Little did I know when I signed up for this challenge what it would ultimately mean to me. To be honest, I signed up because I wanted something. And cool–it would come from a quilter in Australia. I didn’t know that my life would be enriched by the online friendship I would develop with this Australian quilter. Kris is not blogging as much right now, but it is fun knowing I have a ‘comrade’ on the opposite side of the world! And Kris sent me a beautiful quilted purse, and some notecards with her own beautiful photography on them (photos later.) Thank you so much Kris!
This challenge started last year at Christmas, and fortunately, it gave you a WHOLE YEAR to ‘pay it forward.’ The perfect challenge for us procrastinators. I did think about what I was going to do quite a bit, but like the ‘think method’ in The Music Man, just thinking about it does not really make it happen. (ooh, is there a good weight loss analogy in there somewhere?)
And as you regular readers know, what with my ‘Noah activities’ earlier this year, it didn’t seem I was ever going to have time to be ‘creative.’ So when I posted this picture (scroll to bottom of blog) and all three pay it forward recipients commented positively on it, a little idea started to grow in my brain. I could split the quilt top into three pieces and make them into my pay it forward challenge gifts! (Did you guys realize it was from that quilt top?) The more I thought about it, the better I liked it. I don’t really like making a lot of big quilts, and this one had gotten pretty big. So I looked at it seriously to see how I could split it, and it ended up I could split it evenly into four pieces (one for me too!) The more I thought about it, the better I liked it. This way we would all have something that was related to one another. At the same time I had become entranced by Marianne Burr’s work, and thought I could use these quilts to practice my skills with the thicker pearl cotton thread. I could be creative without having to come up with an entire concept. So that’s what I did.
I split the quilt into four even pieces, and added a ‘border’ around each to frame it and enlarge it a bit. I thought about each girl as I worked on their quilt, trying to personalize it with what I knew about their life.
Pubsgal’s was first, because I knew I was going to meet her in September. I thought about her little kids, and added flowers and scrolls and butterflies in the quilting. I did mostly machine quilting but added accents of handquilting and french knots and of course, the buttons that I had originally envisioned for the quilt.
Next up was Juice’s quilt. Juice is a city girl. Pretty modern. Which I am not. But I thought an ‘off-kilter’ grid might give it a more sleek modern appearance. Then I couldn’t help myself. I added a ton of buttons in a random fashion, kind of like those little daisies that crop up in your lawn sometimes. Flowers and leaves in the quilting around the border.
Last up was my good blogging buddy Jill. The one who enticed me into starting my own blog! Jill was in my spiritual formation blog last fall. I got the idea to write the ‘fruits of the spirit’ (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) in the blank places on her quilt. I filled each square with either hand-quilting or fancy machine stitches–that was fun! Jill’s probably has the most hand quilting and the least buttons.
So there you have it. More than you ever wanted to know about my pay it forward challenge. What I am trying to say is that making these quilts for other people gave more to me than it will to the recipients. It gave me something simple to just play with, no pressure, during a time when I might have become increasingly frustrated about my lack of time to be creative. It expanded my creative skills, and was relaxing, because I knew what I was going to do. IT WAS FUN!