Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Emergence of the Butterfly

Now that I am home again and am somewhat recovered from trying to pretend that I can keep up with bottomless energy of a three and a half year old I have put some serious effort into finishing that baby quilt. I had done quite a bit of the quilting and had even finished the machine part of the binding sewing--must have had some premonition that this baby was going to be early--before I left. So I was able to sew the binding down while I was away.

And the quilt looked something like this when I returned:

The butterfly actually had no antennae when I began work.and I had to make two attempts before I got them right. The first was a sparkly black heavy thread that I had begun couching when I realized that the thread was scratchy and a tender little baby cheek would not fare well rubbing against those antennae. But, as often happens when something doesn't work out, I found something better--that soft, fuzzy silk sari yarn
I also quilted a spiral shape on the yellow sun circle and added some rays--or petals--around it.
 But I kept being bothered by something. I kept telling myself that this was not an art quilt and that all those embellishments I kept wanting to add would not work on a baby quilt that would be washed and that this quilt needed to be done and sent off so I could get on with other things. Not being able to leave it alone, however, I decided to add another image and finally hit upon something that would be a complement to the lively flight of a butterfly and mirror the spiral in the sun.
I added a little snail and suddenly the composition was complete and I felt satisfied. It still isn't a complex art quilt--that's not what it's supposed to be--but I am much happier with it. It also now has gained some Aesop-like symbolism--a reminder that there are times we can fly and times we must slow down.

So what do you think? Am I just fooling myself that that snail improved the composition or did it add something? Or do you think it looked fine before? Of course, there is always the possibility that you don't like it at all and no matter what I added you still wouldn't like it. And ultimately, the most important opinion will come from Abigail.

Whatever you think, if you are still with me, thanks for the company!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October Leaves

I don't know whether anyone else will think this is pretty cool, but on my walk with Terra yesterday I was keeping my eyes on the ground since, thanks to several rain storms, that is where the color is now, and right in front of me appeared a Halloween leaf:
I am at a loss as to what critter may have created these mask-like holes, but my three-and-a-half year old granddaughter could make a great story out of this.

And lest I be accused of writing too many non-quilt-related posts, I should let you know that I was actually looking at the leaf litter as a source of inspiration for the series of quilts I'm doing with leafy litter backgrounds like this one:
And if you are still reading, thanks for the company!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Favorite Color

Butterfly bush: no butterflies but a beautiful surprise in October in Massachusetts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Baby and the Butterfly

Even as a child, I loved butterflies, and even though they have become rather overused and a bit too romanticized, I still am fascinated by them and their possibilities for symbolism. Rabindranath Tagore wisely said, "The butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough," but time beat me on this butterfly project.

Thanks to my son and his wife, I had another grandchild due October 22 and of course a quilt was due as well. I had made her big sister a quilt with butterflies and tried out all sorts of possibilities but finally kept coming back to the butterfly.
I decided to keep the design simple since, as I kept reminding myself, this is not an art quilt but a quilt for a baby to use. You may notice that, simple as it is, this quilt is not finished. I had begun the quilting when I got the call on October 5 that Sarah was having some serious contractions, and the next day I was on my way to Massachusetts to help welcome Abigail--with an unfinished quilt in the car.

Right now I am piecing together the moments of holding a tiny new bit of life, who knows how to yawn magnificently and puts a yoga teacher to shame with her stretches, helping a very articulate three-and-a half year old figure out what this new title of big sister means, and making healthy meals and doing whatever else I can  for two sleep-deprived adults. And there will be time enough for all these things--and quilting, too.