Friday, October 31, 2014

Pumpkin Season - Part II: Sewing Pumpkins

Since my last post addressed cooking with pumpkin, I thought I would devote this one to sewing pumpkins. Fall colors are my favorites, and I enjoy decorating with them. I have a lot of neutrals and earth tones in my home, making it very conducive to fall-themed decorations. I'm not particularly into Halloween decorating, but I do enjoy pulling out the pumpkin decorations once Labor Day weekend comes around.

Through the years I have accumulated, and managed to complete, a number of pumpkin-themed projects. The picture at the top is the most recent project. It is a row of pumpkins to be included in a future quilt. This past summer, a number of quilt shops from around the country sponsored the "Row by Row Experience." Participating stores designed a row pattern about 36 inches wide. The challenge was for individual quilters to collect rows from different stores and then create a quilt with them. I collected about a dozen row patterns and kits from shops across Utah, but am only in the process of starting to put them together. The row above was designed by Village Dry Goods in Brigham City. I decided to make it first for a couple of reasons - first, because it was a relatively easy pattern to put together, second because I really liked the fabric colors and textures. Watch for future posts about additional rows. 

The next picture features a couple of small decorative pillows that I made a few years back. I usually keep them up through Thanksgiving.  

The final project for this post is a wall hanging that I made about 3 or 4 years ago. Even though I have been sewing and quilting for years, I think this was the first actual formal quilting class that I took. The project is called "Wonky Fall Foliage" by Pine Mountain Designs which is based here in Utah. If you look closely at the log cabin-style blocks (upper and lower rows), you will see where the "wonky" part comes in. If you look closely again, you can see that I had a bit of a challenge creating the wonky look. The lower center block probably is the one that best illustrates the wonky concept. The idea is that as you add strips around the center square, you cut them asymmetrically. I found breaking some of the more traditional quilting "rules" a little challenging, but became more confident with each successive block. 
Another think I enjoyed about this project was the combination of sewing styles within it. In addition to the wonky blocks, I learned how to work with hexagons. I also learned some basic fused appliqué skills. I enjoyed the opportunity to embellish the appliqués with different embroidery stitches. The designer gave some guidelines for the embroidery work, but also emphasized that we also needed to feel free to be creative with our choices. Again for someone like me who tends to be more comfortable sticking with the rules and matching my work to the example, this challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.

In thinking about stepping out of "rules" and "traditions," I am reminded of Paul's letter to the Galatians. In this letter, Paul admonishes the early Christians in Galatia for living as though in bondage to the Law. He reminds them that they have been set free in Christ and that they were to stand free in Christ and not be bound to a yoke of slavery. 
Given that today, October 31, is Reformation Day, in addition to Halloween, it is somewhat fitting that we reflect on the book of Galatians. Through studying the book of Galatians, Martin Luther came to understand the freedom we have been given in Christ and the free gift of salvation that we have through faith in Christ.
As we contemplate our freedom in Christ, Paul reminds us that this freedom is not just for ourselves but is to be an outlet for serving others.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13