I've been thinking about how we give so much power to people in our lives, from our parents as children, our bosses at work, our partners in our homes and even friends within our various groups. How we learned to respond to them formed who we are and what kind of confidence we have. In a way, I think this sort of behavior exists in me as I quilt.
This month's 12" Block Swap Adventure quilt block swap was called 'Cathy's Campfire' and all I could find for the pattern was one for 6". I emailed my partner to tell her that and she gave me the size conversion. With this swap, each of us can say what kind of block pattern we want and what colors we prefer. The block-maker (me with this one) still has the choice of finding fabrics.
I texted my oldest Granddaughter to see if she wanted a Lavender-filled dream pillow or one to go in an underwear drawer. Her response was immediate, and asked if she could get both, and then asked if I wouldn't mind making another for her Step-Daughter. She wanted pink. I am so not a pink person, but found enough to do both a small dream pillow and a flat insert for a lingerie drawer. Again, its not so much that she has power over my choices as much as I GAVE her the choice to say yes or no and then asked her color preference. Once she made her choice, then I had to make it that way.
I had some small leftover pillow forms from when I taught a middle school class last year and will give Jess one of them filled with some of the lavender from this year's crop. The others will go in some swap-bot swaps as unexpected extras.
I retain a lot of choice in how I quilt and yet, sometimes question if that is really so. For the most part, my choices are first to use what materials I do have. And then I have chosen which groups to continue with. By staying with certain groups, it means following their guidelines and keeping to their standards. Even with my personal quilting for family and friends, I do try to ask and respond to their desires.
Maybe we cannot get away from issues of personal power because it means either negotiating for a mutually beneficial balance, or finding ourselves either being oppressed by someone or oppressing another being.