When I opened the envelope from Jen six weeks ago, I was thrilled to see the word bloom. The first thing that came to mind was the saying, "Bloom where you are planted." And I knew exactly how I wanted to proceed even though I wasn't sure how it would all come together.
Although wordplay is a collaboration with Tracy and Emily, I wanted this project to go further. I imagined a wider collaboration, something that I could make with bits and pieces given to me from different people. I was thinking about flowers and gardens and how so often people dig plants up and divide them between neighbors and friends. That's what I wanted: a community garden of fabric. And so, I asked for vintage sheet scraps and boy, oh boy, did you guys come through for me! Seventeen of you to be exact. There are just so many good floral prints in a wonderful color palette in those old linens. I wanted a large variety and small bits. You all had the best stash of scraps a girl could wish for. And you were willing to share - for that, I thank you.
I found this aqua linen on clearance and thought it would be a perfect background for the various colors in the sheet scraps. I began by cutting out concentric circles from different prints - just eyeing them and cutting, no tracing was done here. Once I had a decent stack of "blooms", I started laying them out on the fabric to see what I had. I cut some more flowers until I had a random scattering around the perimeter. I had planned on embroidering the saying by hand in the middle somehow, but felt I needed something to signify myself to anchor it so I cut the one large bloom for that space.
I appliqued the individual flowers to the quilt top by stitching three straight lines across each one. My original plan was to tie the center of the flowers using embroidery floss, but once I had the quilt sandwiched, I realized that I would need more quilting to hold it nicely together. I improvised by quilting three circles around one flower. Initially, I wasn't looking for the wavy lines that I got, but when I stood back to look at it, it was perfect. It reminded me of my favorite flowers and I smiled.
I had so many scraps to choose from that I ended up using some for a strip of patchwork on the back. I sewed a label on there, too. It got quilted over and I really like how it made it blend in a bit more. The quilting on the back is my favorite part. Even if the words read backwards, I like it.
I think "bloom" and "Bloom where you are planted" are about finding your hidden potential no matter what your circumstances are at the moment. I know that if you had asked me nine years ago where I would be in 2008, I would have never imagined that my life as I know it. I would not be living in this town. I would have more children. I would not be sewing as much as I do and certainly not quilting. I might be knitting. I would not be writing and designing. And I most certainly would not have this group of peers, people that I have never met in person, that support, encourage and inspire me. But I do! What a great surprise! And I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing talent. I have planted myself in this blogging community and in turn, you have planted seeds of inspiration in me. With a little of my own creativity and time, I am growing in directions I had never imagined.
I had fun making this quilt. I haven't made anything for myself in a long time and I plan on keeping this one. It measures 45" x 51" - a perfect summer-nap-in-the-chair size. Thanks, Jen, for a great word to get me started and thanks, too, Emily and Tracy for playing along.
Life is about the now, not the past or the future. And if you are successful in living in the moment, I think that you have no choice but to bloom.