February 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Day 33.

Quilting seems to be a lost art in my generation. And it’s a shame. The lovely squares of colorful, and usually random, fabrics pieced together create a work of geometric art unlike anything else. The typically faint and tiny stitches make the art a masterpiece. Whether a functional work to be nestled under or a wall decoration to gaze at, quilting should be much more appreciated.

This afternoon, on a northern peninsula jutting out into the great Lake Superior, I wandered around in a quilting store awed by the array of fabrics to choose from. There were soft, rustic colored plaids, giant floral patterns in teals and corals, and vintage-like grey swirls dancing delicately across pale yellows. For a brief moment I scolded myself for not taking more interest in my childhood sewing lessons. I wondered how all of these years (including those that I often passed through Amish country) I could have missed such treasures.

I have been thinking a lot about urban-homesteading these last few days. The definition seems to be held loosely by some; I try to come up with my own personal description. I have learned very few country-like skills during my stay in the forest. Somehow television and dining out with my parents have gotten in the way of other lessons. Or maybe the towering snow banks are to blame. However, I have started a list of skills I would like to learn and things I would like to do in Chicago to keep me in a simpler but hardworking lifestyle. So far the list includes canning, making applesauce, making soap, growing herbs, making milk paint and curing meat. Should quilting be added to this list?

Probably not. The time required in sitting still seems a bit daunting, not to mention the patience needed in cutting all of the squares nearly absent from my life. Yet as I unintentionally run into another quilt or lovely piece of vintage fabric I cannot help but wonder how far my current stint in urban homesteading will take me. I wonder if like a large quilt, my life – its small mismatched patterns and colors – will line up to form a gloriously structured pattern held down by intricate stitches. I wonder if all of this “urban homesteading” will someday get me to a cottage in the woods with goats and cats and a garden. But all of that too requires much work and patience for which I am unsure I possess. So for now I will just continue to take it one colorful piece at a time.


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