Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Debra -- Fate takes a hand


You know, sometimes things just aren't meant to be. The cat on my sewing machine was the first clue. But let me back up...

I finally joined a quilt guild. Big guild. Probably 80 members at the meeting. Lord knows how many on the actual roster.

This was a big step for me. I'd been putting it off. I don't need more responsibility and friends in my life. Hey, I know that sounds harsh but I'm blessed with many friends, an incredible number of close acquaintances I care about, and then a ton more people on the fringes. I cannot complain about my social opportunities. Or my networking opportunities.

But finally, I took the plunge. I was excited to have done it. Met some great people. I found out they were holding a Guild Challenge (make a quilt by interpreting arbitrary design and size rules). What fun! They would be selecting the winners at the next month's meeting so we'd all better have them ready.

Everyone else (theoretically) had been working on this for months. The top 8 would be entered in a national guild challenge to represent the guild. This sounded fun! Definitely something I should take on in the busy time right before Corporate Tax Deadline (3/17).

So, of course, I did! You can see the in-process/unfinished quilt at the left.) I've slaved. Spent hours and hours in my quilt studio. Overcome one design challenge after another to make the quilt I see in my head. (All those colors you see blending together are really lots of different pieces of fabric. An average of 70 pieces per colored puzzle piece.) I see light at the end of the tunnel. I can get this done by the deadline. All I have to do is some more applique and sew the big squares together. I can even get it on my quilt frame and hand-quilted (minimal quilting) by the deadline. I can even meet all my other deadlines. I'm feeling pretty good, until I double check the guidelines for the challenge. 36x45 is not the 36x48 quilt I have designed and on my design wall.

No help for it now. Somethings just aren't meant to be. The cat should have been a clue.

What was the challenge? "My Checkered Past," a self-portrait containing a checkerboard somewhere in the quilt, interpreted in any way the quilt artist would like. Plus I added that I wasn't allowed to buy any fabric for this. I had to use what was in my stash.

And yes, I have all sorts of symbology about my life in this quilt. How I've fit so many different pursuits into my life, how my journey has taken me from one place to another, not always seamlessly, etc. I was really really stoked about this challenge but I find it hard to be too disappointed because I would never have tried this original design if it hadn't been for that challenge.

So, how about you? Have you missed signs in your life lately? Discovered you need new glasses at a most inopportune time?

Michelle-- As you requested in the comments I'm adding a close up of a couple of squares. You'll see what look like alternating triangles. In reality some of the triangles are two triangles put together. There are three small blocks across and 6 high to make one of the puzzle pieces. Each of the small blocks is three pieces--a big triangle and 2 little triangles. It's a block called "Flying Geese" because it resembles the outline of geese migrating.

32 comments:

Helen Brenna said...

OMG, Deb, that design is gorgeous. 70 pieces of fabric per puzzle piece???? Wowser. Can't you just add an inch and half of fabric on each end to get to the required dimensions?

As for signs ... what signs? I'm blind all the time. How does a person stay open to them?

LOVE the cat pic. That's hilarious.

Betina Krahn said...

Deb, what a hoot! I nearly sprayed hot tea all over my screen when I saw those "cat" photos! Talk about your omens! I'm assuming that is YOUR cat and not one that materialized on top of your sewing machine one morning.

And the quilt is gorgeous. I can see why you were disappointed-- to not be able to enter it into a challenge. I had no idea the size requirements would be such a big thing. What-- you couldn't cut three inches off one end? (Okay, I know that was awful)

Apparently it's not so much that I miss signs as that I ignore them. I hate to raise a ruckus or hurt people's feelings, so I try to work things out that weren't in the cards in the first place. Is there such a thing as too much loyalty?

Cindy Gerard said...

Wow, Deb. The quilt is beautiful. And what symbolism. You are too cool!
And the cat. OMG. Hysterical.
As to signs in my own life, I fear that too often, I have probably missed an arrow or two pointing me in a new direction. Like many of us, I get so mired in the "what has to be done right now", that I overlook the bigger picture.
Right about now, I could REALLY use a sign - something to point the way to managing a fast encroaching deadline and a bazillion receipts that HAVE to be organized SOON and sent off to our tax accountant.
I'm feeling overwhelmed - I need a sign that will help underwhelm me.:o) Maybe I'll spend today searching. Or maybe I'd better get back to writing ...

Michele Hauf said...

Cool quilt! Love to see a close-up shot of one of the puzzle pieces. Post it!

And that cat qualifies for the LOLcats over at icanhascheezburger.com. Hilarious stuff.

I see the signs. I'm getting very good at recognizing them, or questioning why a certain event or person has come into my life. I still think my intuition is a bit off on some days, though. Reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth to open my eyes even wider!

lois greiman said...

Gorgeous work, Deb. You're incredibly creative.

Signs, you say... Nope. Totally oblivious. I'm more a...just get it done no matter what it takes person. But maybe the cat would have swayed me. He/she looks so purposeful.

Playground Monitor said...

Signs? What signs?

The quilt is gorgeous and I'm sorry you can't enter it in the challenge. But it will still be a beautiful work of art with much meaning.

You should send the cat photo to a magazine that publishes pet photos.

Marilyn

Debra Dixon said...

Helen-- It's too big so I'd have to cut. :/ I bet you don't miss signs. You are very careful to notice things.

Debra Dixon said...

Betina-- Yep, that's my cat. I'm working away in the studio, cutting fabric and I look up to see she has sacked out on the machine! I'm telling you it was a sign.

Ah...you see the signs of trouble up ahead. Were you a middle child ? the one who compromises and tries to minimize the conflict?

Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- I totally get tunnel vision about "what has to be done right now" too. You can always get an extension on your taxes. All you have to do is "sign" the form. (g) Of course you have to try and estimate what you think you owe which is sometimes as much trouble as just figuring your taxes to begin with.

Hope the "underwhelming fairy" comes by real soon!

Debra Dixon said...

Michelle-- I'll go take a close up when I finish my comments. (Had a migraine earlier!) I'll post it.

Someone else told me about icanhaschezburger.com when they saw Lucky on my machine. I have to go check it out.

What do you think about A New Earth? I haven't read any of the guy's stuff.

Debra Dixon said...

Lois-- I'm good at the signs *after* the fact. (g) Like the cat on the machine is suddenly very obviously a sign. Several days ago she was just funny. I'm great and sign hindsight.

Debra Dixon said...

Marilyn-- What signs? Exactly. That was my problem. (g) At least I got a blog out of it! :)

--Deb

Kathleen Eagle said...

Challenge, schmallenge, Deb, it's that gorgeous quilt that was meant to be. You were challenged beyond the challenge since you had less time than everyone else, and what an accomplishment! You did the challenge one better, imo. I so admire your skill for this, not to mention your art.

Christie Ridgway said...

Signs...well, I think I just stumbled over a big one last week. I'm writing a trilogy revolving around a yarn shop in Malibu. I hijacked part of a name of the shop near my house for the stories (local shop=Two Sisters & Ewe, my shop=Malibu & Ewe). I can do some rudimentary knitting but have put off taking lessons or going to a group at this local shop because I didn't have the time and also felt a little funny about just walking in and joining.

Last week I met a mom of a new player on Son 2's volleyball team. She owns that shop! She'll help me with my kitting at volleyball matches! She told me to come in to the shop and hang out on Sunday afternoons! Boy, I'm going to be there, now that I have an "in."

Also she stopped me at last night's game to say all her friends are so excited because of the similar names and excited about the book. I happened to bring along an ARC to give her...she found me before I found her.

I see much more knitting in my future.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Betina, I have a tendency to claim the hand of fate after the fact, but as far as signs go, I have 20-20 hindsight. I'm probably a cherry-picker of signs.

And I hear you on the overly loyal thingie. My loyalty has to be earned, but once given, I value those things that went into the earning. I don't forget the good stuff. I can be as loyal as a canine shepherd. Is that a bad thing?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Taxes. Funny you should mention the bane of my existence today. I had just made the appointment this morning. So much work to do. I start the year with good intentions and a failsafe plan. But you have to stick with the plan or it's not failsafe.

flchen1 said...

Not much to say about signs but just did want to say, WOW--that quilt is incredibly beautiful. I'm in awe.

Dara Edmondson said...

The quilt is lovely, Deb. I don't quilt but a good friend does, so I know how much work that represents.
I usually pick up on signs - although the cat wouldn't have been one I got! In my writing, I've had times when I just couldn't make myself sit at the computer - a sign that I don't like my WIP and should scrap it or make some serious changes to it!

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- Oh, man! That's a really big sign for you. That's so cool.

Debra Dixon said...

Kathy-- Hey, I have a stray german shepherd/husky sitting right beside me. All day. Every day. Just in case I need her. That level of loyalty is a joy and so rare. I think it's a very good thing.

Debra Dixon said...

flchen1-- Thanks!

Dara-- Well, I missed the cat too. (g) I've seen some signs like Christie that underlined a direction I was taking. I'm good at seeing the encouraging signs and I often miss the "hey slow down ones" because I'm too busy ploughing through!

Betina Krahn said...

Deb I'm not a middle child, I'm the youngest of two-- born post WWII. So I'm the "peace" baby. . . in more ways than one. It took me a while to figure that out and realize where it put me and how it shaped me. I still feel a great deal of responsibility for the nurturing others and for the emotional health of those around me.

Plus, I'm a lot like my dad, who was a natural empath and had a very peace-bringing sort of personality. Double whammy. Genetics AND birth order.

Michele Hauf said...

Oh my goodness, so much detail. A labor of love, surely. Very pretty!

Susan Gable said...

Deb, the quilt is beautiful, but I love the cat on the sewing machine! LOL. She just wanted to help.

And, I must say, I always, always, always recommend your GMC book to writers. It's the best tool I ever got for putting a story -- much like a quilt (g) -- together.

Haven't spent too much time around, but will visit more in the future -- and I will be here tomorrow with Computer Protection Tips!

Susan Guadagno aka Susan Gable

Playground Monitor said...

Talk about signs -- Spending the last 3 1/2 weeks in the guest room after foot surgery has shown me just how much I need a nightstand in there. So today I went to a new furniture mart that opened back in the winter. When I got there I saw they had a sale ending today (first sign) and then I found a nightstand that would work in the room (second sign). I looked at the price and it was marked down from $499 to $188 (great sign). I took a photo with my cell phone, sent it to the DH with the pertinent info and he immediately texted back and said "Buy it!" So I did. They have to order it and it should be here in about 2 weeks. But when the guy rang it up, he saw that whoever made the sale price sign (sign -- get it?) made an error. It was supposed to be $298 instead of $188. So I got a VERY good deal on my nightstand.

Of course now I need new lamps, something to go on the wall over the bed and a new comforter and valances. I should start looking at sale signs in earnest.

Marilyn

Debra Dixon said...

Susan-- Yay! I'm looking forward to your tips tomorrow. Excellent! And thanks for recommending GMC!

Debra Dixon said...

Marilyn-- If you'd gotten out of that place without the nightstand we'd have hired you a seeing-sign dog! What a great deal. I love it when the universe gives back a little unexpectedly.

Gennita said...

I love your quilt, Debra! I wish I have your patience to do something like that but I'm horrible at anything to do with sewing AND I don't care for perfection when I'm doing it, so my quilt would be totally out-of-shape, with lots of mistakes.

As for signs. If there are any, they are buried under a pile of books and papers around my place. :-P

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