Earlier this week at church, one of my daughters received a box of crayons as a gift. As soon as she saw me, she laughed and asked me to open the box.
As a kid and even as an adult, I’ve always liked looking at a new box of crayons. So many possibilities with those fresh, sharp points. When I pulled the lid back, I was surprised! The sharp points were there, but the color was monotonous. I like the color Unmellow Yellow, but I like a lot of other colors too.
The opportunity for creating with a new box of crayons seems endless, except when all of the crayons are the same. That box of crayons left me thinking about diversity and the privilege and inevitability of being exposed to it.
As a nurse working in an emergency room, I see diversity in so many aspects of life – health of patients, family interactions, coping mechanisms with life altering news, and clinical practice styles among health care workers. As a mom, I see differences in my children who all are growing up with the same 2 parents in the same household. I really appreciate diversity. Life would be boring if everything was the same.
As my quilting has evolved over the years, I’ve come to enjoy the diversity in this craft and appreciate varying styles – not only in quilting, but in individual interpretation – mine and others. Sew alongs, swaps and sewing challenges have provided a designated focus for creating.
Sew alongs have provided a great way to see a pattern with a large amount of personal interpretation. I participated in the Sewcial Bee Sampler (IG #sewcialbeesampler) and Community Sampler (IG #communitysampler) both hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. Everyone was working with the same pattern but chose their own fabric and approach. This project gave each quilter a unique opportunity to see the pattern reinterpreted again and again. It was interesting to see and a learning opportunity as well.
Last fall, Isabel Kelly (IG @lambandwolfie) hosted an Anna Maria Horner (AMH) sew along (IG #amhsewalong). This was a fun project because it was open to interpretation including pattern or project and focused on using your AMH stash. I decided to join with one project in mind, but changed my mind and created a single Irish chain using rainbow colors.
Swaps are also another fun way to see how an individual views fabric or a general theme. I participated in the Polaroid Greeting swap (IG #polaroidgreetswap) hosted by Johanna (IG @johannaweidner) and found it interesting to see what “pictures” people captured. I still have not put together all of the blocks I received, but I was inspired to create a polaroid quilt for my dad for his 70th birthday.
The Rainbow Mini Swap on Instagram hosted by Kate Basti (IG @katebasti or quiltwithkate.com) limited you to size but encouraged the incorporation of a lot of color. We had a deadline and I knew who I was sending to, but it was a secret who was sending to me. I sent mine to Becky (IG @keepmeinstitches) and received mine from Isabel Kelly – same gal who hosted the #amhsewalong mentioned above. I loved giving and receiving and made some wonderful online friends through the process. The quilt I made for Becky was a pattern I designed myself. It was challenging to create a layout that I felt was visibly appealing but in addition, I was sending it to a stranger! It pushed me to create the best quilt I could.
The Central Ohio Modern Quilt guild hosted a color challenge which was exciting and fun! Each person blindly pulled two crayons from a bag. The rules stated that were neutrals could also be added. This resulted in me trying out the Wefty needle made by Tara Curtis (IG @weftyneedle or weftyneedle.com) and making a pillow with piping! The palette was limited, but creativity was not.
Diversity in all aspects of life is important. I appreciate the challenges that have come with various projects because I have grown as a quilter and crafter. How has your quilting or other passions grown over the years?
Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎