Last week was the winter solstice – the longest night of the year. Thanks to the rhythms of nature, in six months we’ll recognize the summer solstice – the longest day of the year. More dark, less light. More light, less dark. Back and forth we go year after year.
Most of my quilting projects come from custom orders I receive. Occasionally, I’ll search for a pattern and create something for myself. I also do smaller projects, like ornaments or zipper pouches, which I can finish in very little time. Outside of that, I haven’t branched out too far into the quilting world.
There are several Block of the Month (BOM) patterns one can sign up for. There are lots of Quilt Alongs (QAL) going on throughout the year. The biggest one I’ve seen is the Splendid Sampler organized by Pat Sloan. With that one, there are two blocks released each week for a full year. I’m impressed with those who are able to keep up with it! Even though I do sew and quilt a lot, I have been hesitant to try any of these projects because I’m intimidated – maybe I’m not as good as I thought or maybe I’m not really a quilter…
The other day, however, one of the quilting pages I follow on Facebook showed an ad for a Pat Sloan Quilt Along that I just couldn’t pass up – the Solstice Challenge. For 185 days – from winter solstice to summer solstice – Pat will release a block a week. By the end of the challenge there will be 25 blocks ready to quilt. Considering my heightened awareness of the solstice this winter, I decided this would be my first QAL.
Today I made the first two blocks. They aren’t perfect – the second one in particular. I need to keep working on my ¼” seam allowance. The points don’t match up quite right, which means I still have some adjustments to make. However, I love the way it’s already coming together! I’m using a Layer Cake (10” squares) from Wilmington Fabrics – Mod About You by designer Amy Shaw. My mom took me to Yoder’s last fall as a birthday gift and this was one of the fabric bundles I chose. I think it will go well in our bedroom or living room. I can’t wait to see it come together over the next six months!
When I started this blog I chose the tagline, A Spiritual Journey Through Creativity, for several reasons. First, I am a spiritual person. When I pay attention, I see God everywhere – nature, books, conversations, music and even quilting. Second, this blog – this life – is a journey. I’m often surprised as to where it takes me – the blog and my life! Finally, I am a creative person – whether in my personal life through quilting and writing or in my professional life working at a church – I find ways to be creative in almost everything I do. So – putting all that together – I think this QAL is the perfect project for my spiritual journey through creativity. I have no idea where my heart and mind will be six months from now. Because the blocks are released one at a time, I have no idea what this quilt will look like six months from now. But, I do think this journey from one solstice to the next will be full of learning and growing and grieving and love – and all of that will be documented through this quilt. Each block will be a reminder of a particular week, of a certain struggle or celebration.
I really don’t know what 2017 has in store for me, but I’m glad I’ve already stepped outside of my usual patterns – that I’m already trying something new. And, this something new will be a reminder of this particular journey – a journey that may not be easy, but will be one in which I encounter God along every step.