Monday, March 31, 2014

Seeing Red

About ten months ago, I joined a "block of the month" project. As you will see from the pictures, this project has kept me "seeing red" in the literal sense.

Although I've been intrigued by different block of the month projects in the past, this was the first time that I have actually joined one. This particular project is titled, "Saturday Soiree," and features reproduction fabrics from Marcus Brothers from their Gallery and Red and Blue collection. As you may have just surmised, this project can be completed using either red or blue fabrics. Given that I am a 3-time graduate of the University of Utah, I didn't have to think twice about selecting the red option.

For those of you who may not be familiar with block of the month projects, most support the quilter in completing one quilt block each month with the goal of having a set of completed quilt blocks that can be assembled into a completed quilt at the close of the year. Since I began this project last June, I have enjoyed receiving each month's block kit and instructions. The red colors are really quite stunning and feature high contrast between the red and the white. Here are a few examples of the blocks that I have completed.

Now comes the tricky part with block of the month projects. Remember the part about having a set of completed quilt blocks? Just because you finish the year with 12 completed quilt blocks, that doesn't mean that your quilt is ready to be sewn together. This is where the "finishing kit" comes in. 
Depending on the nature of the project, the finishing kit could include components that are more complex than the 12 feature blocks themselves. In the case of the Saturday Soiree quilt, this is sort of the case. In addition to the feature blocks, the quilt also includes six 12-inch chain blocks, four corner capstone blocks, and ten side triangle blocks for a total of 20 additional blocks to put together. 

Just to keep things interesting, this quilt also features 48 pieced sashing strips featuring red and white squares and triangles. Each sashing strip contains 13 individual pieces. If you do the math correctly, that amounts to a total of 624 individual pieces within these 48 strips. Here is an example of what several hundred patchwork pieces look like along with the layout for an individual sashing strip.

Please don't misunderstand this posting as an expression of frustration at this particular project. Even with all of the hundreds of small pieces, it has been a fun project, and I am looking forward to the finished product. 
In many ways, this particular project is analogous to our life's journey. Although our lives include a number of amazingly stunning "feature blocks," much of life is lived in the day-to-day experience of what can be regarded as "the small stuff." Although the work of assembling the small pieces can feel like drudgery and have us "seeing red" in the figurative sense, these are the components that frame and accentuate the "feature blocks." Often it is easy for us to become so focused on these smaller details that we can miss the larger vision of the end goal. Sometimes, we do well to pause, step back, and get a glimpse of the larger goal to which we are striving.

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself "seeing red" and getting caught up in the frustration of some day-to-day processes that have caused me to feel rather defeated. In the midst of it all, I have been reminded, through God's Word, to remain faithful in those aspects for which I have responsibility. My role is not to encroach outside of my assigned scope but rather to remain faithful and persist in what has been entrusted to me. The following verses from Psalms serve as a reminder:
Love the LORD, all His faithful ones. The LORD protects the loyal, but fully repays the arrogant. Be strong and courageous, all you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:23-24