Saturday, January 21, 2017

love all around

so much going on in the world this weekend, right here in my own country, particularly. and i have to admit i'm baffled by some of it. but this is the statement i'm making right here, this giant quilt block. this is the flag i'm flying today and always: love all around.

political stuff is still shooting around well after the votes are in and the decision was made, the president elect announced. i've watched with sinking heart for so many reasons, but mostly over the way people are behaving. i've seen countless posts the share views the polar opposite of mine and i've just let it be. there is a time to engage in healthy, open opinion sharing, and there is a time to just let others voice their ideas without needing to respond with more than a listening ear. and hearing, seeking to understand, is so very important in all cases.

i knew inauguration day was hard for many people for a variety of reasons. i know what it's like to be scared and depressed when a new president is sworn in. so yesterday i was feeling all kinds of things for all the people around me, all the people on all the sides.

that's when i saw laura's "love all around" block and was introduced to may chappell's block campaign that so perfectly harmonized with what i was feeling at the core of all this mess.

i happened to have the better part of the whole day and evening available to me since my husband was away for the night. my scheme was to knock out tons of quilting. i had my "star of the circus" quilt to finish and wanted to get going on my "swoon supreme" quilt, too. but when i saw may's block and read her words, i dropped everything and spent hours making this one giant quilt block. i needed to make something that told people how i felt, that especially told the people who have different views how i feel toward them.

and i just happened to have several pink shades of kona cotton on hand, which i'd been intending to use in a large star quilt anyway. sure, the color layout was different than my original design, but the actual pattern was identical. also, i've been considering making a quilt for my aunt lynn, who is battling breast cancer. what better quilt than one with pink hearts that also sort of resemble pink ribbons, that was named "love all around"? i was sold.

i chose four shades of pink to make the four hearts meeting in the middle, arranged in a setting of love going round and round endlessly. four different pinks, but still all pink. different but the same. four hearts in four different directions but all meeting in the middle, all finding space for each other.

the whole afternoon as i worked on that quilt, i thought of why i was making it and what it meant to me, what it represented. i finally finished the block around sunset, too late to get a nice photo. but i wanted my message to get out there, so i photographed it in the worst possible setting (on the floor, at night, in artificial lighting) and put my post out there on instagram. it was a terrible representation of the block from an aesthetic point of view, but it allowed me to make my point.

here's what i wrote:

I sat quietly by through the ugly, upsetting political scene of recent times, holding my peace; not liking, not commenting, just observing. But today I saw @maychappell 's #LoveAllAroundBlock campaign and had to speak. 

I had to speak so badly that I spent my rare and precious free sewing time making this giant 48" block. And I'm posting an ugly nighttime photo, too, because I couldn't wait for better light tomorrow once my block was done. 

I am not sorry to see Obama go, I was not with her, nor am I an excited and celebrating Trump fan. But I do know and care about people in all those camps, and I am so tired of the divisiveness and fingerpointing and garbage. 

Love All Around is a political statement I am willing to, no, NEED to make. 

And by Love I mean kindness, compassion, tolerance, willingness to listen, crossing of lines, holding of hands, finding of similarities to build on. 

I love how May said, "If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Or maybe keep thinking and find something nice to say!" #MoreOfThisPlease Read her thoughtful post and find her block tutorial on the blog linked in her profile. #PoliticalQuilts #QuiltsAreLoveMadeTangible

and for the record, i'm not a feminist and i'm not marching anywhere this weekend, either. but if i was marching somewhere, this would be my flag and my message above all others: Love All Around.

i made the block in the exact same way i made my big star hst top. like i said, the method is identical, only the number and layout of colors are shifted. it's also slightly different from may's block design in that i didn't use accent hsts in the corners. but it's my version of her block that fits my needs.

i was moving at an accelerated pace while trying to pay attention to accuracy. however, once i started squaring up my blocks, i found i'd still managed to distort things just a bit. so i gave up squaring after 3 blocks. why bother if some were barely oversized and others barely under, anyway?

maybe that's why a few of my points didn't match up once pieced. unfortunately, the center points where the 4 heart shapes meet is not precise. but i think there's a certain appropriateness to that. even when we try our best to meet with love, things aren't perfect. and that's okay. when you step back, it all looks good and works out well. love can overlook such imperfections in the face of all the beauty.

i got the block for the center of the quilt top made. now i just need to add the borders and i have a complete flimsy. my last big hst went together so quickly that i expect this one will be done in no time, also. then i have to piece a backing. so far, the printed fabrics on the right are my picks. i'll need another bright pink or two to round them out.

then my aunt will have a quilt to wrap herself in, with Love All Around her.


  1. Sometimes it's all we can do in a situation that divides us. Love requires humility and sacrifice, its unconditional and sometimes it hurts. Sadly some were not shown love and don't know how to love, and all we can do is keep trying. It's nice to read your words and thoughts.

  2. I love and feel your post and sentiments deep in this old heart of mine. Thank you.

  3. A thoughtful post. The extremes in style from the last Presidency are unsettling and disturbing as seen from abroad. Thank you for your take on it.


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