Sunday, January 10, 2021

Project Quilting 12.1 I Am Divine Light

This is the second year I've participated in Project Quilting hosted by Kim at Persimon Dreams, with Trish of Quilt Chicken, the dreamer-upper of challenges. It is right up my alley: a challenge, pushing your creativity, with a deadline!

This week we were to create a quilt using predominantly the two Pantone colours of 2021: yellow, aka Illuminating, and grey, aka Ultimate Grey. I immediately thought of a line I love from Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous World", 
Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

and somewhere between that thought and I don't even know the exact moment when, the idea for my mini appeared, fully formed, deep in my brain, in the grey recesses where fissures appear and out comes the light of creativity.

I've been meditating off and on for several years, but I've never been able to get into the habit of daily meditation. In December, my Ashtanga teacher started a 30-day meditation challenge. I joined in late, but as of today I am on day 24 of 30, and Day 20 of Jay Shetty's 20 Days of Live Meditation that he did in March/April. It has become a habit, and I both look forward to and make time for my 20-30 minutes of meditation. Jay describes it as rewiring your brain. It is simply being quiet, noticing, key word, noticing, when your mind wanders, and gently bringing it back to whatever the subject is: music, gratitude, connection, peace, a memory, a place in your mind, or whatever the guide, if you're doing a guided one, which I have been, gives you. In this crazy time, it is a way to put positivity and calm back into the world. Energy, good or bad, has power.

I sit cross-legged, and almost always Bella joins me, coming from wherever she is in the house. Clearly I send out a certain vibration when I am in meditation. Those of you who join me on Instagram for Yin have seen how she joins me, gently settling into my lap formed by my crossed legs, on top of the quilt over my legs.

In the summer of 2019, I was a part of a Lake Erie project funded by Environmental Defence. A photographer spent the better part of a day with me, taking photos to go with the story of my love for and attachment to Lake Erie. This was one of the photos he took:

The idea came to me that instead of using a generic 'woman in lotus' position, I would use this very photo. Sometimes when I'm 'in the zone' ideas just show themselves, it's not any work or effort at all. Just as the entire image showed itself to me, the second inspiration to use myself, and this very photo, also just floated into my brain. Do any of you get that at times when you're totally into creating? It's magic.

I made the photo as big as I could, traced it and used that as a template. Crafted appliqué was the method for appliqué. I didn't take any shots but the teaser on Instagram of the process, but below you see a quilted and unquilted version. Yes I'm making two, one is a gift for a special someone. I say it countless times, but love that quilted texture, and doesn't it transform a piece?

I quilted more in the light section after that shot because I didn't like it quite so poofy. I did cut out the centres of those three layers of light to lessen the thickness, but there were places where I free-motion quilted through seven layers, which includes the batting! The Schmetz Super Non-stick needle and my beloved Bernina handled it just fine, no skipped stitches. That's saying something, with a fancy thread like Sulky holoshimmer metallic! I used four different brands of thread, from cotton to polyester to metallic. I used the 40 weight Aurifil gold in one of the layers of light and in the bobbin for all the light section quilting. Aurifil 2600 (the cone) is what I used for the swirls in the background, such a beautiful thread for quietly giving texture.

There's been a lot of grey, a lot of darkness over the past year, and even now in this new year. However, I know that this quiet time of meditation, of going within, finding balance, peace, stillness and calm, spreading positivity, finding connection, shining my light into the darkness and negativity, is helping and is valuable.

I used some of this fun print on the back of my aunt's Cows quilt, and I had to put it on the back of this mini. As I said on Instagram, I try (and often fail) to not take myself too seriously. I also love animals, and this is just such a hoot.
Brady FaceTimed me yesterday to show you what he had made with his Lego. Using various pieces from many different sets, he made the heroine and her sidekick from the book he got with his Indigo gift card: Katniss Everdeen and Gale from The Hunger Games. Did he ever do a great job! Down to her bow and arrow and Gale's crossbow. I showed him what I had created. It didn't have the binding on at that point. His face immediately lit up, "Oh! That's you, Nana!" Even Brianne peeked in and said, "Oh wow, yeah." I asked them how they knew... 'the hair!'

My beloved curly mop of hair did it again.

The binding fabric is the border on a beautiful Paintbrush Studios fabric I used for my very first publication, On the Plus Side, aka Coins of the Atocha. It's a beautiful rich yellow and gold. When I scanned through to the end of the Cows quilt post for the name of the backing fabric, was I surprised to see that there is another connection between the Cows quilt and Coins of the Atocha! Talk about connections...

I wrote the details on the back of my satin label.

One of the mantras or phrases Jay has given us through a few of his guided meditations, is I am Divine Light. Each one of us is. When we recognize that, that inherent profound goodness, it is power. Power for goodness. Power over the darkness. As he has had us repeat: I choose joy. I choose love. I choose Divine Light. I am joy. I am love. I am Divine Light.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design
Size: 6.5"square
Fabric: scraps
Backing: elizabeth's studio by Willow Creek
Batting: Hobbs Thermore
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: pieced with Gütermann; quilted with Aurifil 50 wt and 40 wt, Sulky Holoshimmer and rayon, Poly-X polyester 40 wt

Update. Here is the second one ready for gifting:
I quilted it a little differently, and with the Poly-X 40 wt because this background is darker than my original one. I love the sheen of this thread and I love the emanating feel of that light...spreading out...

Linking up


  1. Interesting how we are all different. A tight deadline stresses me out. I have many ideas for the current (now completed) challenge ruminating in my mind. Perhaps I will start one today as a warm up for the next challenge. Thanks for sharing your thoughts behind this lovely work, Sandra.

  2. Beautiful picture of you by the ocean, my favorite place. Thank you for this thought-provoking post. Love the animal yoga fabric. Peace!

  3. Such a wonderful and peaceful image and a great start to 2021. So wonderful the way you express yourself in fabric. It is always inspirational.

  4. The backing fabric is just right, and the outline, with the flame or a leaf beginning to shape up in new growth? on the grey, if we could all reach out to every day with those thoughts, life would be a better place for us all.

  5. I love this! What a great idea and to use the image of yourself in it. I hope this year we can go into the light.

  6. Beautiful mini quilt and thought provoking. I'm on day 3 of a yoga course and loving it. I always enjoy yoga when I do it; I just forget to do it sometimes :-(

  7. This is a wonderful piece. Calm and inspiring. Have you seen LeAnna's pq12.1? It's also wonderful.

  8. I found the whole post thoughtful & intriguing. I wish I had the will power to meditate, do yoga or something, but we do have one thing in common & that is design inspiration coming to us whatever/whenever. I must have dreamed last night & awoke with 2 patterns whirling around in my head. I'm going to write down the inspiring words at the end of your post to put on my cork board too. Thank you, take care, stay safe & hugs.

  9. Power over the darkness is something we all need right now! Your beautiful mini quilt is a perfect representation of that, Sandra. I recognized your hair, too - because I have curly hair, too!

  10. It is wonderful when things fall together so easily. I find that sometimes a tight deadline does that -- there isn't time for second guessing, so the first choice becomes the good choice. We were on the same wavelength - I made a light bulb.

  11. What a perfect mini quilt for a creative, sweet soul named Sandra! It's so wonderful when ideas present themselves in our minds with such detail and purpose. This project was meant to be and truly is divine! Did you know that this piece is featured in today's Aurifil Showcase post? So cool!

  12. good choices! Meaningful... love that animal yoga and your tag. I often wish I could take one of your classes but my body is so injured... I like kick the darkness... quote a lot

  13. What a wonderful use for Crafted Applique and the backing fabric couldn't be more fun or more perfect. I love that you made two during the process. I'm sure the special recipient will feel the threads of connection back to you. :)

  14. Crafted Applique is one of the techniques I like when I am appliquéing on clothing. I haven't really used it on a quilt.
    You are so right, the quilting texture truly transforms a quilt.

  15. I love that Brady recognized you instantly - so fun. This is a terrific project, and one that I hope inspires me to some yoga quilts.

  16. Amazing. I love that you used a photo of yourself. I keep saying that I'm going to try meditation.

  17. I love everything about this piece from using the photo of yourself, to the fact that you're making a point to meditate daily to the farm animals doing yoga on the back! LOVE!

  18. This is absolutely gorgeous!!!! Wow. Just wow. And I love the beauty of the piece contrasted and complemented by the humor in the backing fabric--those cos and pigs are just too funny!!

  19. What a fantastic mini to celebrate your meditative practice...which I am sure will inspire many creative endeavors ahead!!

  20. I've always liked grey and yellow together - and how perfect your mini is for fanning the flame of hope we need to get into 2021. I love the use of the photo of you at the edge of lake Erie, it so nice to have our great lakes in such close proximity, in our big country. I am not in any position to be able to meditate, but I'm sure it is beneficial - clearing my mind before sleep is the closest I get, and I couldn't survive without it. Love the mini and your post, thanks Sandra.

  21. How sweet that Brady was able to recognize you! The quilting changed both minis so much :) They're both beautiful.

  22. Hi Sandra, what a lovely mini - and the colours are perfect for it. I love that you used your picture for the silhouette. I have a picture of my girlfriend on the beach by the ocean like that and one day, I will make her an art quilt of it. Thanks so much for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks. Take care.