Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Praise of Wonkiness

Today is St. Patrick's Day and it is one beautiful day!  As I took my early walk with Terra, the sun was glinting off the heavy frost, making the hill magical; it was just cold enough to wake me up with a promise of warming temperatures the rest of the day; the red-winged blackbirds were making the valley echo as they proclaimed their presence; and the sky was that perfect blue that I would love to get in my hand-dyes.  A great beginning to a birthday.

As I walked along I saw a pattern in a shriveled flower that I thought might work for my ventures into free motion quilting, and it reminded me of my last practice piece.  Last night I had not gotten my full twenty minutes in so the last thing I did before I collapsed on the couch to check e-mail was a freehand flower to see if I could pull it off.  I had earlier made a frame--more about that later--and congratulated myself that I finished the flower without any major bobbles.  But as I looked at it I realized it wasn't totally symmetrical.    Have to try harder next time I thought.  Earlier that day I had happened upon the FMQ work of one of the master quilters whose feathers and swirls look flawless and like carbon copy cutouts of each other and her work was in my mind's eye as I evaluated mine.
You might be able to see the quilting better on the back:
But a good night's sleep and a walk in the woods reminded me that I liked things that were random, a little bit skewed, things that didn't match exactly (not talking about my seams here--I still have my perfectionist streak).  After all, no two oak leaves or maple leaves ever match each other--and then there are the snowflakes, of course.  I want to have the skill and control to make oak leaves that look like oak leaves, but they don't have to look exactly alike  What I am trying to discover this year is what my goals are, not to mindlessly follow someone else who may produce knock-out beautiful quilts for her, but to see what works with my kind of quilting.  And I am beginning to see that what FMQ contributes to my quilts may involve spontaneity and maybe even surprise.

All this is different from work that is slipshod . . .  And that brings us to the frame, another experiment,  done quickly before the potatoes burned for dinner.  One corner of the zigzag stitch is definitely out of place.  It is not charmingly skewed but just a mistake when I lost my focus.  But the frame itself is more uptight than the flower and probably requires exactness.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I just discovered that there is some basis to believe that Patrick wrote against slavery, which was rampant in the fifth century world. Don't know how that relates, but another reason I'm proud to be born on his day.

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company.


Anya said...

Happy Birthday, Madalene!

Susan said...

It certainly is a beautiful day in Pennsylvania...perfect birthday weather! Have a wonderful day!

Vivian said...

Happy birthday to you, Madalene. (a little birdie told us)

MJE said...

How great to have another birthday. Here is wishing you a special day and enjoy all that is around you. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!