Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Basket: Rules and Life

It's early yet.  It's dark outside and the house and neighborhood are very quiet.  This is my time of the day.  I don't share it with anyone but my thoughts.  I got thinking about this basket that I brought up from the basement last weekend after making a purchase of many Kona fabrics that were on sale.
Now it sits in front of the door to my small sewing room and it is a reminder of where I've been and where I'm now going. 

This basket has a history and in sharing this history, I hope I can make myself understood and not misunderstood.  My husband reminded me that I had originally purchased it for him.  It was downstairs with all the acrylic paints I'd purchased thinking that I would draw, but quilting was a bigger draw for me and so hoping that DH would take up drawing/painting I put the paints there.  But, as DH reminded me: it was the "Bishop's Basket".  Let me explain.  I think it was the year 2000.  My husband had been "called" as they call it in the Mormon faith to be the bishop of our ward, (a territorial description of the boundries that make up the people that a bishop serves.)  Within the week all kinds of mail started coming to  "Bishop _____" so I bought this lovely handmade basket in a local artsy shop and pronounced it the Bishop Basket.  All the incoming mail with his name on it would go into that basket until he could take the time to go through it.  It was hands off for me--it was his.

There are many people who love boundries, rules and codes of behavior.  As the oldest child and one reared in a home of many rules, I was one of them.  But, this was also the time in my life that there were many messages from others, from my body, my well-being that were telling me that I wanted to break free from rules.  I wanted to set my own, and mark my own path.  I left that faith and DH followed and the path we've blazed since then has been one of experimentation and making our own rules.  We try to follow only one set of rules now--the golden rule.  We aren't very successful at times but we are freer, happier, and less bound by convention than we've ever been.

So, this basket is a symbol to me of that journey.  Quilting with its straight lines and order represented to me--someone strangely dyslexic (self proclaimed) and ADHD (again self proclaimed) boundries within which I could find some sense and it paralleled my trying to find my own sense of self.  But, after playing around with blocks, patterns, rules and order my quilting world is fast becoming as my own world was in 2000.  It took me until 2005 when I said, "I've had enough." 

Strangely, that is exactly how I feel now.  The order that quilting has brought to my mind, is about to change.  I'm ready to break free and become my own person.  Not one that is following someone else's set of rules!  I'm not sure as I sit here contemplating of how quilting and religion (or now the lack thereof) are the same.  Are they?  In my mind, in the quiet of this morning, as I reflect I think they are.  As that oldest daughter who tried so hard to follow all the rules: be perfect--I now see that perfect imperfection is what life is all about.  No matter how hard I tried to make a perfect quilt--there was always a flaw.  Now, I laugh.  It's been a journey.  A good one and one that has brought me happiness and contemplation.  But, the journey is taking a new twist.  That basket is my reminder.

As I've been clearing out the partially finished projects and UFO's I've grown weary.  There are some things I've put away and thought that I would return to them.  But, I'm not.  There are some things that I'll take pictures of and give away.

When the sun comes up and the DH arises and I have more freedom to move around the house without waking anyone up, I'll list some things for "giveaway."

It's a new dawn around here.

Wonky Stars made from the triangular cuts from bindings of quilts I've done in the past.  They are 6.5 inches and made from scraps and 2.5 inch pieces.  Now its' time to make them with some bright colors rather than the white--don't you think???


Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to your story. I too am a first daughter who has always lived by "the rules". Now that I am older, I don't feel the pressure to be "perfect". (Or at least not as much!). I love your basket! It is time it had a new purpose. Your fabric looks great in it.

Quiltsmiles said...

I too can relate, being the eldest daughter in a family of seven children. Your thoughts of breaking out into your own life ( & quilting) is felt and saluted.

May you continue to have fun as you blaze your way and embrace life. Your liberated stars look great. I too seem to be drawn in toward the same free style desire.

Fond regards,

Helen in the UK said...

It was fascinating to read the history of the basket and your journey. Wishing you much success with your new venture ... will be fun to see you starting on a new quilty path :)

June Dodge said...

It's great that you recorded the story - thank you for sharing.

(and I think you could continue with the white background on the stars - instead change up and make more stars with brighter colors!)

: )

Louise said...

Thanks for sharing your journey. I too feel that way at times. Life is just too short and my own time is too precious to let others control it. It's hard to follow through with that mantra without feeling guilty, though. I guess I blame that on a lifetime of conditioning.
I wish I could give away my own UFOs but just can't!

Terri said...

I was Catholic and married a Lutheran. I liked his Church better, so we were good Lutherans for a long time... we also had a "disturbance in the force" and haven't been to church much since then. We do believe in God, but the world is so awful, and we had no idea. Quilting is my way helping the world.
Any of those quilts you do not want can be given to worthy causes. Project Linus comes to mind first, and then check out the work that "Confessions of a Fabric Addict" is doing with her church. I don't know how they find out about the people that they help, but they make some lovely quilts (and take donations of quilts, and UFOs) to give to cancer patients, and other people suffering.
Life is just to short to work on a quilt that you don't like.