I've switched my focus for the Christmas Block Swap this month. I've been seeing how some folks are in the group and get one style of block and make such lovely pieces. My choices are to do sampler quilts, which means that each block is entirely different and the thing that ties them all together is the holiday theme.
The diversity, for me, is like working with the twists and turns of my own life. Here is my wonky house block with a few additions; a tree, a smoke stack and a Cardinal for the Cat to focus on. The block is laid out across my bed with the other 15 blocks.
My photos take four at a time, and when I actually get ready to assemble them, the blocks will most likely shift again. Most quilters use some sort of designer board to audition the quilt parts to see how they work together.
As I put these blocks in four rows of four, the thought came to me about how different we are, even within a family. We can grow up together with the same parents, the same opportunities in the same neighborhoods, schools and places of worship.
Yet, as we grow up, our choices can be incredibly different from each other. What makes these choices might depend upon outside influences. I've often thought that the books we read, even the movies or TV shows we watch help form our preferences socially. Clearly, individual teachers in the same schools can guide the formation of our life paths. With these block swaps, giving each quilter the freedom to chose what style she wants and even the colors makes a profound difference.
Even in families, values that we have as adults serve to highlight our differences even more. Siblings & Cousins who played together as children now provide a backdrop of learning such positive things as tolerance, forgiveness, and more challenging experiences of judgment or resentment.
And if one is an only child, then it is childhood friendships & later people we date who help define us. As life evolves, we use various coping mechanisms to work with our differences.
In the end, even with the variety, like a finished quilt, there are things that connect us. Each of my swap partners was in my life for a month before they shipped their blocks off to me. In that month, it was up to us to make a connection in order to help make this project.
The finish is yet to come with this particular holiday scrap sampler quilt. It needs fabric for sashing that will tie everything together, then borders and a back. As I think about my family made up by blood and by choice, we are really quite separate individuals who are, in spite of the little quirks we have, bound together with a love that cannot be described.
My next step is to press them and let them rest flat, until the best choices for sashing & corner stone fabrics are located. Its so fun for me to look at and do practice layouts with. And even though it is being made for one family member, it reminds me of all of them, all of us.