I started stitching this ‘crazy quilt’ years ago. All the fabrics are recycled from working as a seamstress back in the States. Most are scraps I collected from my client’s clothing and home decorating projects. There’s a pair of my own repurposed jeans in there too. It was set aside in the busyness of starting a family, though, ironically, it was inspired by those same events as a tribute to the life Johnny and I had started together.
stars and hearts stitched to
honour children and true love
on their special days
When the idea was conceived, I imagined it like a map of our family with significant moments plotted out in embroidered calendar dates, with plentiful zig-zags and curves, stops and starts, flowers, fireworks, hearts, and stars that represent the highlights and unexpected twists and turns of travelling through life. Our wedding anniversary, the children’s birthdays, our trans-Atlantic crossing, moving into our home– they’re intentionally not being placed on the quilt in chronological order. While it is our history, I don’t want it to read like a timeline. It’s just not the reality of travelling through life. Or reading a map. Rarely does one travel in a straight line for very long. And, honestly, it seemed a bit boring to do it that way. Since taking it out of storage, I’ve added it to my list of 16 things to do in 2016— that is, to embroider more of the patches.
While writing this, my youngest threw open my office door– ‘Mommy, what is that pot in the sky called again?’ I had only partially answered, ‘The Big…” when her memory jogged and, listening no further, she spun around and dashed back up the stairs to whoever she had abandoned mid-conversation in need of consulting with me.
Often my train of thought is knocked off course by these interruptions in writing, but this time it gave me direction–
the skies the limit
for children who’re taught to read
the earth and the stars
When I was twelve years old, my grandfather taught me how to read a road map while I travelled cross country with him and my grandmother to deliver a custard glass collection they had sold. He stressed the importance of understanding how to get from here to there and knowing what to expect along the way. My biggest concern– where would we eat and sleep? And most important, would there be a swimming pool? I referred to the AAA guide book for that detail, but information about distance, roads, cities and towns, points of interest, etc. was found by referencing the Atlas & Gazetteer.
It’s a good skill to pass on and possibly is still taught in Girl Guides or Boy Scouts and the like. While it can be fun to go exploring new places, it’s only nice if doing so by choice rather than from being lost. By any way of travel, racing daylight to get to a familiar and/or safe place is not enjoyable. In this time of technology in our back pockets, there are still many remote places where internet access is not available.
Not too many years after that road trip, I learned more in depth about topography– reading contour lines and map legends and other useful things that would keep me from getting lost in the woods and mountains while hiking. I loved winter camping, summer camping, any camping. It’s not something I desire to do as passionately anymore, but I still think there’s nothing that compares to sitting silently around a campfire, listening to the night sounds of nature while staring up at the stars…
Though I can always spot The Big Dipper, unfortunately I don’t have the same aptitude for the map of the stars as I do for the earth below it. But then, I’m not planning any trips there soon so, of the two, I perhaps have the more valuable knowledge.
And one last haiku inspired by the same curious little angel…
beaming day and night
little children shine like stars–
parents, sleep deprived
I wrote the first haiku to accompany my picture that expresses this week’s photo challenge word ‘stitch’. The haiku challenge words are ‘star & child’ and while I rarely do more than one haiku in a post, the last couple of weeks I’ve had an extra impulse of creative inspiration.
Here are some close-up shots of my ‘crazy quilt’.
paving one’s own path
means significantly more
when skilled with a map
that directs the way clearly-
ignore it and guide yourself
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.