Oh Autumn, I've longed for you especially this year. After the hottest summer on record, these leaves on the ground are particularly sweet. Autumn is strikingly golden in this garden of mine. Having grown up in the Coastal Australian bush, with its evergreen Eucalyptus trees in abundance, these leaves already fallen, the red celebration still in waiting, they're a much more fitting announcement to the change in the weather than what I'm used to.
I started this quilt on the 23rd March last year. And I've been thinking, reflecting on that date, just over a year ago, that it's a risk embarking on a hand-pieced quilt. That first block, all those months ago, was such a buzz, such satisfaction, the joy of an idea becoming flesh! New life, a creative Spring, in a way.
But after the first few blocks, the buzz wears off and the hard work begins. The fabric selection for each block. Cutting, basting, and stitching, so much stitching. The long, productive days of Summer.
The Creative Autumn, or Fall, is when I start to get tired. It's when I start to doubt myself. I wonder what I was thinking, picking these colours, choosing this size. I put it aside for the Winter. It hibernates. I consider several times whether just to give it away. And then the weather turns. something in me starts to stir. I pull it out again for consideration and the colours seem to strike a chord. It makes sense again. I think of way to approach it differently, to make the process smoother. I baste all the remaining blocks, rather than working one at a time. I stitch them together more efficiently. I notice colour and print combinations that keep pushing my forward.
I don't remember having such a strong seasonal experience of creativity and productivity when I machine sewed. I'm sure it was there, but mostly, if I wanted to, I could get a quilt made in a week or two. And if I didn't like it, I learned, finished and moved on.
What I love about this experience is the peace and confidence it grows that I can and will finish hand-stitched quilts. And sometimes that actually means putting it aside for a season to sit, to work on something else for a while, let the expectation of how it would look and how long it would take drain away until I come back with fresh energy and a bit more wisdom. And it turns out I really love making quilts this way, giving myself the permission to stitch when I'm enjoying it, and to put it down when I'm not. It's a rich and joyful way to be creative.