Walking in the woods early as the sun is making its presence known is a joy I haven’t felt in over a month. Glorious morning light coaxed the newly soaked ground to respond in an interplay of light shadow and mist. This pattern of light through the trees hold a truth whether summer or winter.
I didn’t realize how much I had been holding my breath these past weeks, waiting for something to shift. Shockingly, the knitting and ripping back routine of the past week has continued. I literally am still at the same place I was in the edging of my shawl that I was a week ago. I’ve tried everything from ripping back just so far thinking I’ve got it, only to realize there is a big hole left behind. First I knit a few more rows thinking i can just ignore it, but i can’t. I try to fudge, pick up stitches in a creative way, thinking, oh, it is just a little blip, no one will notice, but that little fib always translates through and shows up as a hole again. I don’t give up, refuse to give in to the fact that something is way off here, that maybe the order of perfection in this pattern is permanently disrupted and there is no going back. It’s as if the challenge of knitting these days has moved into the part of my brain that I have been able to detach from in a pursuit of finding order in a new way. This part of my brain that covets the predictability of pattern and yearns for the perfection of every stitch being in the right place is clearly still alive and strong.
I needed to see that the sensibility of order being revealed through a pattern of repeated activity is no different that what I experience in the process of quilting. In the now completed winter woods quilt, each curve of stitching is like the stitch the precedes the last. They all follow and depend on each other for the order that is there to be revealed
The knitting project has been set aside. I will come back to it after some time, after trying another technique in another chapter of the book of knitting that will allow my brain to see the order there once again.
I’ve also been working on a writing project, for several years now. The working title is ‘The Yoga of Quilt-Making’, and I suspect it will remain so. I’m at the point where the vision of the complete manuscript is finally clear. It’s exciting to be here and equally terrifying to be on the brink of making public this deeply personal piece of work. The blessed sound of the water in the brook this morning reminded me that while there will always be conscious creative flow in the structure of my work, it is the yearning for perfecting this craft of writing that has been holding me back from actually getting it out there. I have been sharing drafts of chapters with my two writing groups and receive wonderful feedback. For years I have been going back to edit, edit, edit. Write a little more. Edit edit edit. Three steps back to take one step forward until finally, the pattern that has been there all along reveals itself and I can move with confidence toward completion. Discovering order has been a passion for as long as I can remember. It is the core of my story.
I look forward to posting the first chapter in parts over the course of the next week.
The introduction to the book began with two thousand words. Was edited down to two pages, then finally down to just these two paragraphs….
THE YOGA OF QUILT-MAKING
Every quilt has a story.
Like other spiritual traditions such as walking pilgrimage or silent meditation retreat, quilt-making is ‘a way’. It has the ability to become underlying structure for a patchwork life that informs all of one’s work in the world. It can create context for experiencing all that one can be moment by moment, stitch by stitch.
Every quilt has a story. I share life events through each telling. It’s not a timeline, but rather a chronicle of hopes and dreams interchangeable with challenges and realizations in a non–linear way. In a playground of many teachers and no one master, The Yoga of Quilt-Making is my testimony to an infinitely rich weaving of consciousness with countless moments spent in sacred space, with Love.
Kathy Ford, 2016