You may be asking yourself: "Where are those promised Bargello photos, Jean? My answer: "They don't exist! I decided to finish my Floating Sunflowers pillow first."
During the first few weeks of my surgical recovery I became reflective. I deliberately slowed the pace of my daily routine to allow fear and gratitude to ebb and fade unpredictably. I realized this novel experience was the threshold to my "golden years" - a period of life when I was willing to pursue my passions full heartedly.
I also deduced the true definition of "mindfulness." Up until a month ago it seemed as though it was an unobtainable, abstract, popular culture concept. Now I realize how future personal peace and lack of ongoing worry can be cultivated.
I adopted the wisdom of author Victoria Moran for everyday living. She wrote: "Don't reach for feelings when they start to subside. They're meant to go, and you're meant to go forward."
Frankly, this has been an amazing psychological journey. I feel very blessed I can devote quiet time to needlepoint before I go to bed. I feel like a sniffing dog out for a walk. Intriguing discoveries abound as I stitch.
As you gaze at this photograph of the front side of my "Floating Sunflowers" pillow, I want to share information about the personal iconography of my embellishments. They are the souvenirs of recent journey.
It was important to me to applique the canvas on top of the variegated stripes. I hoped the bars would resemble the vertical stack of little painted squares many professional provide for yarn selection.
I selected a variety of fabric weights to record how I altered Leigh's original palette. The peony pink, swirled silk satin is over twenty five years old.
I also wanted to honor all of the stitching experiments we go through; as we seek the tricky illusion of curvilinear mass.
Consequently, all of those upward flowing, balloon strings of oyster trim portray my daily triumphs and disasters within this specific embroidered surface.
On the back side of this cushion, I used the reverse side of bright, tropical floral cotton. I purchased it last year.
The soft lavenders, faint peony pinks, and light buttery hues mirror my thoughts. I didn't want to create a stimulating palette. I wanted to stitch all of the quiet moments - when I began to realize these days are indeed my "golden years."
These colors also remind me of the many quiet moments of loving friendship I have experienced recently. Karen, my oldest friend, brought me to the hospital. She has great integrity, and a real passion for music. She is my eager companion in any pursuit which involves dark chocolate or dance performance. As a former art teacher she has a real eye for good design.
She was my obvious choice for exploring different solutions to unify both sides of the pillow. I knew I wanted to make an overlap envelope closure with two pieces of quilted fabric. But that was it!
Karen suggested that I replicate the flow of the oyster trim. Perhaps I needed to find a flexible lilac pink ribbon?
Off I scampered to my favorite shop, (Nancy's Sewing Basket in Seattle,) in hopes of finding something she described. Lucky me, I found my beauty and paid $2.50 per yard.
Barb, another dear friend, brought me home from the hospital. We've known for less time, but we are very simpatico.
She is a patient listener, and has a rich spiritual life. Our church has benefited enormously through her ability to bring multiple generations of women together socially. I derive a lot of inspiration whenever I see her latest piece of original jewelry, or her crochet experiments. She, too, is a good sleuth for chocolate!
If you look carefully at my photograph you will see a familiar hallmark to commemorate our friendships. It's the quilted outline of a heart shaped, prayer pocket I sewed inside the larger flap.
Placed at a forty-five degree angle, it is easy to reach and conveniently private. I can rotate small prayers I want to express. And as you know, the heart motif is a personal symbol I value wholeheartedly.
I want to create a variety of heart shaped pockets, one for every future canvas. They are my artistic signature.