Monday, January 30, 2012

Humbled and proud ...

A few weeks ago I joined an online BOM quilting group through What I hoped to learn were new techniques but at my own pace. The BOM is a free one: one, I am sure, to expose and entice you to others that you pay for. Judging by the comments from the group, the following is quit large. I made my introductory comment, which included a general statement about how hard it is to get 100% cotton here in Barranquilla. The next thing that I knew I had offers from a couple of members to share some fat quarters (FQ) with me. I am constantly humbled by the generosity that is found, and from strangers at that.

Thinking nothing further, on Friday last I went to the mailbox and wow, there was a large envelope waiting for me. It was indeed, a gift of FQ’s. I was in tears.

aren't they beautiful?

But then another surprise awaited me in the same manner. There were also 3 more envelopes waiting for me, these much heavier.   But first a little history: I have been teaching various manualidades (skills) to the women in my Damas de Casa group here in Colombia. Once a week we all come together, chatting, exchanging and generally having a good time. I started them a book of patterns to get used to the idea of working as a group and sharing without concerns about “this is mine and she can’t have it because she might do better with it than me!” These women collectively have a great variety of skills – they just needed to be shown through example, that they can share these skills and teach others. Each week when we get together, I try to bring new patterns that I find online (free for download only) for their book and for them to try. Oddly enough they all wanted to learn to cross-stitch. This was one week’s topic. Patterns flowed and then books that were old and well fingered started coming out. They were sharing! Another thing that they wanted to learn was a technique called Bordado Español. I didn’t know how to do this myself. I tried and tried to find patterns. Finally I asked a friend from Panama if she could teach me the next trip I made. Well she did but I still didn’t have patterns, only a sampler that she did as she was learning and subsequently copied for me to learn from. I finally found some very basic ideas called Chicken Scratch online. On a online group that I belong to, I then wrote asking if anyone had more elaborate patterns that they would be willing to share, and told my reason for the request. One of the ladies in the group who is a designer, wrote and asked me if she could donate a few supplies to the women. In her opinion, people like this do such fabulous work, if only given a chance. Of course, I agreed again thinking I would deal with it should it occur. And yes, these 3 envelopes were filled to the brim with supplies and fabric for them. These women are going to be ecstatic when they see this.

And I found 3 magazines on Bordado Español while visiting Medellín which I purchased and will put into the women's shared book of patterns. Life is good!

Another designer sent me a design pattern and gave permission to use it for a class. This will be the last class of my service here in Colombia.

We are so humbled and yes, lucky, to belong to a world where people think of others and give freely. I can only hope that the women, when I explain these things to them, will learn and in turn, repeat a kindness.

As for the BOM, well I finished January's blocks yesterday, using left-over fabric from another project. These are slash and sew blocks that are surprisingly simple to make. You start with a square and slash and sew ins trips to eventually make a pattern, or even just random fractures. (I found a blog where someone didn't like a quilt that she had pieced so she randomly slashed it and sewed in strips for a fractured window effect. Beautiful)You make them bigger than your finished block and then trim to size. What could be simpler? 
  I even tried a little liberated cutting, but somehow these always seem to be straight. So I purposely thought of cutting and ended up with a smooth curve. Go figure! I will have to concentrate on this more heavily. :)
Tomorrow, crochet! Man am I touring the world of crafting. Today, however, samples to be made!

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