After much moving things around, I finally settled on an arrangement for my center medallion block and my seventy-two LITTLE TREASURES hand applique blocks.
The little blocks measure 6-inches finished (but can easily be scaled up larger), and the quilt top is 54-inches square...SO FAR. Patterns, both traditional and digital, for the blocks are available here.
Now I am trying to figure out my options...I am thinking that I will apply another sawtooth border, but with 2-inch finished HST's instead of the 1-inch that I used around the center medallion.
But then, what?!? My mind is racing...
It was interesting trying to get the blocks arranged. I did not use seventy-two different background neutrals, so I had to worry about repeats being adjacent to each other.
I think I moved the flying pig around the most...due to the neutral fabric palette it was a little hard to balance the occasional bursts of brightness.
It is busy without calming sashing, but I like that. The eye keeps moving. I am glad that I kept the fabric choices minimal and consistent for the inner sawtooth border. It gives the eye somewhere to rest.
Now as I keep building, I must keep borders from competing with the blocks.
I think the official name of this quilt will be "Life's Little Treasures." These blocks saved my life the last sixteen months.
Quilts have memory...each piece or unit is a little reservoir, packed with thoughts, feelings, life events, and memories. This is especially true for me of hand work, as I take a little bag with me or pick it up in a spare minute. Playing with fabric is therapy for me and often the hand work is easiest to reach for when there is no time...or will...to find the sewing machine.
As I worked on each block I thought of favorite friends and the beloved life and activities I left behind in Michigan, I thought of my parents and how to move forward in a blended family of siblings where some difficult relationships are just broken beyond repair.
I thought of letting go of my daughter as she started college and a new life, I thought of all the boxes I still needed to unpack, I thought of my Yankee husband becoming a southerner and how I don't really feel like a southerner anymore myself after living out of state since 1987.
Now I touch a block and remember a person I was sitting with while working (like my Father-in-Law or Aunt Katrina), a movie I was watching, a song, a news story on the TV/radio, the last time it rained, marveling at the wonder of Nature as I sat and stitched on the back porch, or despairing at the stupidity and cruelty of mankind.
I have one more little piece to applique on this, the bottom border of my "Contentment" Anniversary quilt, before I plunge it in water to soak the glues out.
I was, unfortunately, working on this border for the last week and a half, so the memory of this segment contains all the vitriol, lies, vile statements, hope, excitement, and ultimately the devastating disappointment, disbelief and fear of our national election.
I am trying to have hope. While attempting to go forward this country has unleashed some things better left behind in our history. Almost fifty percent of our population stayed home and did not vote, not even in state or local elections. Many of my friends now fear their safety due to the color of their skin, choice of religion or who they love. Hooded KKK members were out Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama, the city where I grew up, two hours from where I now live, distributing flyers. Hateful graffiti was spray-painted on buildings at Eastern Michigan University, where I once worked in Ypsilanti, Michigan, forty miles east of Detroit. I have heard the celebratory gun fire around our property all week.
We cannot go backwards...we must go forward. I love Dory, the little blue fish from "Finding Nemo." She always said, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming."
I will just keep sewing, just keep sewing.