Mood Quilting

It’s hard to think of an item more wonderful to have during my last week of rigorous academia than a giant patchwork pillow. Thankfully, just before I was entirely consumed with final papers and take-home finals (which are not better than regular finals, for the record) I managed to finish this enormous bundle of joy:

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It’s more than twice my length (and width). I’m utterly in love. It was especially wonderful to have at that point in the evening when you can no longer sit at your desk editing that paper for the hundredth time, and need to climb into bed with a laptop in order to continue working. Thanks to this baby I didn’t have to lean uncomfortably against the wall… however it also has the effect of making it very hard to get out of bed at all- but I suppose that isn’t a bad thing. I had to order a long zipper but fortunately I found some leftover fabric and stuffing to make the inside pillow:

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I didn’t have any plain white fabric (bug surprise) but I like that it’s pink; like a little surprise inside. It’s sort of funny to think that I’m cuddling up with a bunch of old feed sacks, but it’s also part of the pillow’s charm. I definitely have enough leftover fabric for a bag (I’m imagining an over-the-shoulder messenger-type bag) which I suppose that will keep the fabrics closer to their original function. But whether on my bed or by my side, these old sacks are serving me well.

Now, since these past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of final schoolwork, the rest of my patchwork productivity has been rather limited. In fact, I used the precious free time that I had to work on my mini-quilts. Turns out, they’re mood mini-quilts. When I started these little quilt sketches I didn’t want to bind myself to making ‘journal’ quilts but to create whatever came to mind. Apparently, what’s been coming to mind lately is my life- and I’ve decided to quilt it out.

The first mini mood quilt (for the 10th of May) isn’t all that exciting. It was raining last week and for whatever reason I felt the need to record that in fabric and thread.

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This isn’t meant to be a gloomy, rainy quilt. Quite the contrary. I used the flowery fabrics for the raindrops because it was a lovely, lush kind of rainfall that I didn’t mind at all. It also made it easier to stay glued to my computer screen indoors.

The next mini mood quilt addresses something rather pivotal in my life- the final academic endeavors of my undergraduate career. For two weeks I’ve been writing a paper on female Irish fairy legends and completing a take home exam on ancient Mesopotamian art and architecture. When I realized I needed to memorialize this work in a quilt, I decided to take the literal approach; I simply picked up a sharpie, and wrote passages from my  work onto the quilt.

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Here’s the wonderful thing about these mini quilts; I’m often surprised by the ones that I love. To be honest, I simply thought this would be an appropriate way to commemorate the end of my college career. Turns out, I have the inspiration for my next full-size quilt. I find the juxtaposition of text and fabric so interesting. It’s an aesthetic and conceptual fascination. The look is captivating captivating; you’re literally pulled in by the words as much as by the patterns of the cloth. Then there’s the contrast between random passages from two completely different essays that is both perplexing and thought-provoking. It’s a quilt for the brain.

So now I have to decide what exactly to write on my full-size quilt. To be honest, the thought of going over all my old essays isn’t too appealing- plus it seems rather narcissistic. Instead I think I’m going to draw from books that have meant something to me; from Annie Dillard’s “American Childhood” to Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga” and Colin M. Turnbull’s “The Forest People.” The books that I’ve loved transformed into my artistic medium of choice; I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this before. And trust me, I realize the irony. Having completed my academic career (at least for now) I am going to make an essay quilt. I handed in my final exam and paper this afternoon, and headed straight back to the room to pick out fabrics that I can write on (not too dark or too patterny; I don’t mind if some of the text is obscured but I’d rather it was mostly readable). But that’s what I love about quilting; it’s not about picking and choosing a particular path. It’s about patching the multiple aspects of your life together.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Mood Quilting

  1. isathreadsoflife

    An essay quilt, what a great idea. I’d love to try this too some time. Yours is pretty.

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