Wordplay 2: Bloom
July 01, 2008
When I opened the envelope from Jen six weeks ago, I was thrilled to see the word bloom. The first thing that came to mind was the saying, "Bloom where you are planted." And I knew exactly how I wanted to proceed even though I wasn't sure how it would all come together.
Although wordplay is a collaboration with Tracy and Emily, I wanted this project to go further. I imagined a wider collaboration, something that I could make with bits and pieces given to me from different people. I was thinking about flowers and gardens and how so often people dig plants up and divide them between neighbors and friends. That's what I wanted: a community garden of fabric. And so, I asked for vintage sheet scraps and boy, oh boy, did you guys come through for me! Seventeen of you to be exact. There are just so many good floral prints in a wonderful color palette in those old linens. I wanted a large variety and small bits. You all had the best stash of scraps a girl could wish for. And you were willing to share - for that, I thank you.
I found this aqua linen on clearance and thought it would be a perfect background for the various colors in the sheet scraps. I began by cutting out concentric circles from different prints - just eyeing them and cutting, no tracing was done here. Once I had a decent stack of "blooms", I started laying them out on the fabric to see what I had. I cut some more flowers until I had a random scattering around the perimeter. I had planned on embroidering the saying by hand in the middle somehow, but felt I needed something to signify myself to anchor it so I cut the one large bloom for that space.
I appliqued the individual flowers to the quilt top by stitching three straight lines across each one. My original plan was to tie the center of the flowers using embroidery floss, but once I had the quilt sandwiched, I realized that I would need more quilting to hold it nicely together. I improvised by quilting three circles around one flower. Initially, I wasn't looking for the wavy lines that I got, but when I stood back to look at it, it was perfect. It reminded me of my favorite flowers and I smiled.
I had so many scraps to choose from that I ended up using some for a strip of patchwork on the back. I sewed a label on there, too. It got quilted over and I really like how it made it blend in a bit more. The quilting on the back is my favorite part. Even if the words read backwards, I like it.
I think "bloom" and "Bloom where you are planted" are about finding your hidden potential no matter what your circumstances are at the moment. I know that if you had asked me nine years ago where I would be in 2008, I would have never imagined that my life as I know it. I would not be living in this town. I would have more children. I would not be sewing as much as I do and certainly not quilting. I might be knitting. I would not be writing and designing. And I most certainly would not have this group of peers, people that I have never met in person, that support, encourage and inspire me. But I do! What a great surprise! And I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing talent. I have planted myself in this blogging community and in turn, you have planted seeds of inspiration in me. With a little of my own creativity and time, I am growing in directions I had never imagined.
I had fun making this quilt. I haven't made anything for myself in a long time and I plan on keeping this one. It measures 45" x 51" - a perfect summer-nap-in-the-chair size. Thanks, Jen, for a great word to get me started and thanks, too, Emily and Tracy for playing along.
Life is about the now, not the past or the future. And if you are successful in living in the moment, I think that you have no choice but to bloom.
oh, erin. this couldn't have turned out more perfectly.
i love the thought process of how you got there. and the outcome is oh so meaningful! beautiful work.
Posted by: leslie | July 01, 2008 at 07:56 AM
oh gosh erin. this is so amazing and just perfect. i love that saying and i completely agree with the sentiment. and i too believe that we all have the ability to thrive, and bloom, wherever we are. and this quilt, it's just lovely. and i love how you acquired all of the fabrics. this is really really beautiful. i think you just made my day.
Posted by: julia | July 01, 2008 at 07:57 AM
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for a reminder to stay present. So much better than dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.
Posted by: Sarah S | July 01, 2008 at 07:58 AM
Erin: This is great. And I'm glad that you made something for yourself (although, you could sell the leftover pieces as a kit!!) because so often, as Moms, we don't do anything for ourselves. I think it's a good reflection of you! Love it!!!
Posted by: Rebecca | July 01, 2008 at 08:08 AM
I love this. Everything about it.
Posted by: Collins | July 01, 2008 at 08:09 AM
damn, woman. that's amazing. yay!
Posted by: jen j-m:::swallowfield | July 01, 2008 at 08:14 AM
Really lovely. Love how you were inspired by one word.
Posted by: jennifer w. | July 01, 2008 at 08:15 AM
It's gorgeous is so many ways.
Posted by: Kathy | July 01, 2008 at 08:16 AM
erin, this is beautiful! really, i'm in awe!
Posted by: kathryn | July 01, 2008 at 08:17 AM
Erin: Your quilt is absolutely beautiful. My little ones loved to look at the pictures. The insights and the inspiration of this quilt are my today lesson, and inspiration point.
Posted by: paloma | July 01, 2008 at 08:18 AM
Erin, this is so beautiful and inspiring. I REALLY love the back! How lovely it all is.
Posted by: melissa | July 01, 2008 at 08:22 AM
What a beautiful quilt... and an inspiring post! I'm praying for a little growth in my life.
Posted by: julie | July 01, 2008 at 08:23 AM
I think of all the things you have made this year, this is my favorite. Definitely.
Posted by: Sarah | July 01, 2008 at 08:25 AM
love everything about it.
Posted by: julie | July 01, 2008 at 08:30 AM
I've never heard that expression before, but I just love it! The quilt is just lovely, as usual. Thanks so much for sharing not only the pictures but also the thought processes behind it.
Posted by: Meg Evans | July 01, 2008 at 08:35 AM
i love it in so many ways erin.
Posted by: heidi | July 01, 2008 at 08:35 AM
That is absolutely perfect. In every way.
Posted by: lera | July 01, 2008 at 08:38 AM
This is astoundingly beautiful! Love. It.
Posted by: SpiderWomanKnits | July 01, 2008 at 08:38 AM
every bit of it sweet, erin. your kind, beautiful words, and a remarkable piece of artistry. i believe it must mirror your loveliness.
Posted by: TD wool design | July 01, 2008 at 08:38 AM
erin. i love it. and love how inspiring it is. in so many ways.
Posted by: leslie | July 01, 2008 at 08:41 AM
oh! that stack of vintage sheets is making my head buzz!
you work is beautiful- everything about it is thoughtful and lovely. the colors, the fabrics, the stitching...so cool.
Posted by: carol | July 01, 2008 at 08:44 AM
I really love this quilt! Makes me want to bust out the sewing machine instead of just hand quilt hexagons for the rest of my life :)
Posted by: amanda | July 01, 2008 at 08:45 AM
That is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen! Thank you for the inspiring words this beautiful morning, "Bloom where you are planted" is so timely for me right now, I'll probably be saying this over and over in my head for days to come.
Posted by: Jenny in Cincinnati | July 01, 2008 at 08:55 AM
Oh my GOSH that's awesome!!
Posted by: Jill B | July 01, 2008 at 08:57 AM
WOW - it's really great. It's always fun to see an idea coming together so well.
Posted by: AmyDe | July 01, 2008 at 08:57 AM
...wanna make another one? I would sooo buy one of these from you.
Posted by: Jenny in Cincinnati | July 01, 2008 at 08:58 AM
oh my god. this is stunning. I love the concept of the fabric scraps from everyone. That is great. And the stacked up wonky circles, just, dude, wow. The back is so great, too.
I just really really love this. And I want one. hahaha
Posted by: Tracy | July 01, 2008 at 09:02 AM
Your post was like a poem. Very inspiring in itself. Everything about it was just beautiful. Thank you.
Posted by: mary | July 01, 2008 at 09:04 AM
just gorgeous erin!
Posted by: Katie | July 01, 2008 at 09:13 AM
erin, this is so lovely. What a wonderful thing to keep for yourself. you are always an inspiration!
Posted by: Rachel | July 01, 2008 at 09:14 AM
This is beautiful Erin. The end-product and the sentiment both.
Posted by: Mama Urchin | July 01, 2008 at 09:15 AM
very sweet, erin!
Posted by: kirsten | July 01, 2008 at 09:23 AM
WOW! I love it!
Posted by: k | July 01, 2008 at 09:27 AM
Lovely--love the quilting!
Posted by: Joanne (The Simple Wife) | July 01, 2008 at 09:27 AM
Beautiful work, Erin. And inspiring in so many ways.
Posted by: sally | July 01, 2008 at 09:29 AM
it's lovely, erin.
such a beautiful sentiment.
we all must keep it in our hearts.
Posted by: sheepishone | July 01, 2008 at 09:29 AM
I dont know if I could love that quilt more! I love the use of vintage sheets, the colors, the saying, the design, umm...the colors! Its absolutly beautiful!
Posted by: Valerina | July 01, 2008 at 09:32 AM
Beautiful... thoughts and actions.
Posted by: Natalie | July 01, 2008 at 09:35 AM
I totally made the camera strap but haven't figured out how to take a picture of it yet! (my little pointNshoot is on the fritz)
Posted by: micah | July 01, 2008 at 09:41 AM
What a wonderful quilt you've made!
Posted by: Kajsa | July 01, 2008 at 09:43 AM
Posted by: kat | July 01, 2008 at 09:44 AM
I LOVE that!!
Posted by: Hannah C. | July 01, 2008 at 09:45 AM
wow that came out wonderfully and I love the saying. That will inspire me all day!
Posted by: Peacock Chic | July 01, 2008 at 10:02 AM
Your words and projects are always such an inspiration. Thank you for planting yourself and blooming here in the blogging community. We're all better for it!
Posted by: erica | July 01, 2008 at 10:07 AM
Oh wow Erin! Jane is right. Mrs. Thornewill would love to have that quilt! But she loves it more that you are keeping some of your amazing work for yourself.
Posted by: caroline | July 01, 2008 at 10:13 AM
This post was really lovely - both the photos of the gorgeous quilt and your thoughtful words. Thanks for brightening my day and providing some inspiration.
Posted by: Corry O | July 01, 2008 at 10:16 AM
amazing! your work is amazing!!!!
Posted by: Katie Huggins | July 01, 2008 at 11:02 AM
erin! really, i don't know what to say. the whole thing is extraordinary. i love how you built off of the phrase. how you collected scraps from around the "neighborhood." i LOVE how they are stitched onto the quilt - those lines running through and around the concentric circles are exquisite. and the back, oh my. and, too, your words - about planting yourself in this community, about blooming where you are planted - they're touching and moving and they gave me goosebumps. i'm so proud to be in this - this community and this project - with you. xxxooo.
Posted by: emily | July 01, 2008 at 11:04 AM
It's stunning...a wonderful piece of "artwork" in every way. I'm blown away.
Posted by: Diana | July 01, 2008 at 11:20 AM
Eri, that is one of my favorite sayings! I repeat it to myself often (especially when I'm frustrated about circumstances). This project is wonderful - Bravo!!
Posted by: beki | July 01, 2008 at 11:25 AM