Sunday, March 30, 2008

Grandmother's Flower Garden

'K so as promised (I think) here are a couple of progress pics of my Grandmother's Flower Garden. Here's a few flowers laid out with some of the background...


And here's the rest of the flowers. I don't have enough muslin hexagons basted yet to lay them all out. I can never bring myself to do the muslin ones because they're so comparatively boring, but I need to get cracking on that.


My color scheme is HUGELY inspired by the one I discovered a while back at Astrid Knits Her Way Out. This is the closest I have ever come to straight up copy-catting someone else's quilt but I love it that much...

Things are going fine down here in Tejas. Not great, not terrible. I'm hovering right around the six month mark and definitely feeling like I'm in a mid-year slump. Part of me deeply deeply loves what I'm doing here - I love being of service, even if in the most menial of ways. I love working with immigrants and refugees, and I love sharing their lives in such a deep way. But it's all also very intense - I live at the same shelter I work at, and as expected not being able to "go home" at the end of the day really ups the intensity level. I work around 50-60 hours a week (depending on the week) and it can all get pretty exhausting. Plus, at times I find myself dealing with some REALLY emotionally intense situations, including abusive parents, families divided by deportation, people struggling with mental illness, etc. etc.

So I spend a lot of time thinking about how I need to take care of myself to keep up with this kind of lifestyle. I spend a lot of time in prayer/meditation, and I write in my journal a lot. I try to keep up with family and friends and spend time chilling with new friends here. But I really do miss quilting as a form of self-care and really just wish I had a sewing machine to sit down and do mindless piecing at. I'm still questing for a sewing machine. One option is to get the one I have at the house fixed - but since its a $100 Singer, I'm not really sure it's worth investing in.

There's another option. Technically I have a week of vacation coming up in April. I could fly home with a big empty suitcase and pack my machine into it. I have wanted to avoid spending my vacation at home. Mainly because I spent my week off in January at home and it was a really mixed experience. As great as it was to see my family and friends, it was emotionally difficult, because leaving to go back to Texas again was almost as hard as leaving the first time had been. For lots of reasons...not because I don't love it here, but, well...for lots of reasons. But maybe it would be for the best, especially if getting my machine here meant improving my quality of life for the next six months.

This whole sewing machine quandary really highlights how bad I am at actually making stuff happen at times - thinking about it, wishing for it, sure. But making it happen? Not always my strong suit. Getting my hands on a functional sewing machine shouldn't be THAT hard, but I make it hard somehow...

Anyway, I knew this was going to be an issue going into this whole experience. I guess, though, that I wasn't sure HOW MUCH of an issue it would be. When I studied abroad in Mexico about three years ago I left quilting behind for five months. I missed it then, but not nearly this much. But I guess things are different now - either because quilting has become more important to me in the last three years or because the experience I'm having now is just of really different nature. Now don't get me wrong...I'm not sorry I made the decision to come here. Not at all. Even if I barely do any sewing for the next six months I'll still feel like coming here was the right decision. But it will for sure make me think long and hard about the next phase of my life and the need to make my stash a part of it ;)

ANYWAY, that was a lot of text and no worries if you didn't read it :o) I sound pretty whiny to myself, but it was good for me to get it out.

Many many thanks and greetings to those who are still stopping by!


astrid said...

I am deeply honoured that you've got inspired by my (first) quilt. And btw: quilting can keep you away of alday troubles. Love your other quilts!

Michael5000 said...

Read it. Impressed with the hand pieceing with the hexagons; that's something I don't imagine myself ever messing with.

Have you tried Craigslist for a cheapo used machine?

Andrea said...

Hope you come up with a solution soon. I can't imagine being without my machine for 6 months. BUT congrats on the hexagons - they are looking great. I have some on the go too - long term project. You're doing a fantastic job though - I admire your courage.

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