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completed, yet it will go on being completed forever (thoughts on finishing baby quilt, day six)


Hooray, the baby quilt is done, well in time for the baby shower tomorrow!

While doing the hand-sewing of the border, I had ample time to think. I felt peaceful. The room was warm and quiet in the late summer air. A book on the shelf suddenly called out to me.  In it, I found the perfect sentiment to mark the end of this project:

“Enlightenment is a state of constant creativity. It isn’t an end point–it’s only the furthest point on the horizon of our imagination. …  the total process is always unfinished. Poets are very aware of this. Here’s Norman MacCaig, describing a July evening:

Something has been completed

That everything is part of,

Something that will go on

Being completed forever.”


Thanks for reading!



— Norman MacCaig, “July Evening” in The Poems of Norman MacCaig, ed. Ewen MacCaig (Edinburgh: Polygon, 2005).

–Paragraph is quoted from Subhadramati, Not About Being Good: A Practical Guide to Buddhist Ethics, p. 127.

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the joy of technique, or day five of baby quilt

Today was a breakthrough, I suspect, because I have never accomplished machine quilting with less angst. The time flew by with nary a meltdown. That must mean something!  One thing it made me realize is that I am gradually gaining access to a new source of pleasure I had only glimpsed before: the joy of technique.

technique (n.)

1817, at first especially in criticism of art and music, from French technique “formal practical details in artistic expression” (18c.), noun use of technique (adj.) “of art, technical,” from Greek tekhnikos “pertaining to art,” from tekhnē “art, skill, craft in work.”

To all you artists, musicians, furniture makers, chefs de cuisine, and other folks who are committed to mastering techniques of beautiful making… (whatever you may make), my hat’s off to you. You may be the among the few people who experience happy feelings consistently  in this sad, angry, over-heated world.

The baby quilt is now heading toward completion and it will be ready for the party on Saturday! I’ll sign off now with a few mellow shots of the afternoon light shining on it. This is a bittersweet moment when a project is almost finished and it is almost time to let go. But there will be others!  Mastering the technique is an irresistible lure.

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on virtue’s company, day four of the baby quilt

Big progress! The quilt front is done and is now being basted to the batting and the back, in preparation for machine quilting.

Must get some rest tonight but before I stop for the day, I want to share this quote and another favorite square (above):  both remind me of why I love doing T’ai chi at the Seattle Kung Fu Club in Chinatown (even though it must have been over 90 degrees in there tonight, with two fans running!):

“Virtue is never solitary, it always has neighbors.”

–Confucius, The Analects


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Baby shower count-down, day three

It is now Monday night, and the baby shower is Saturday afternoon… will it get done in time? How will I do all that time-consuming hand-finishing, given my obligations to the Parks Department (Seattle Urban Nature Guide training starts this week), family visits, and a concert Friday night! (Should I cancel and stay home and work instead?) Such were my worries last night.

But after Qigong class this morning, I could only smile. It will be what it will be.  And in the meantime, each and every visit, obligation, and opportunity for joy (to listen to music, to see loved ones, or to visit the forest, for instance) will be fully embraced. It is fun to work hard and be creative, but one must not let the ambition for a big achievement  drag you into exhaustion. I know, because I used to do that all the time!

So I’m stopping for today. (Well, it is after midnight, but only a little.)

What you see in the photos here is the whole concept of the quilt at last.  It is a bright and cheerful riot of pattern and color from around the world, anchored in Seattle. It will serve to buoy up the little person who’s to arrive in this sea of humanity. If you look closely at the bottom right (the “end” of the story), Paddington Bear’s there, as always, to lead the little one on her way to the future…

Enjoy my favorite square too! She seems to be on the threshold, standing in a doorway; maybe it’s a portal to another world–notice the skulls on either side, in the bright red-on-pink Mexican design? It’s a story in the story: an homage to the dead in a gift to a  newborn.



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A baby quilt from a group, day two

Making a quilt by committee is a challenge.  What you see here may not look like much, but that design is the result of an entire day’s work!  It’s going to be a baby quilt for my young classmate in T’ai chi class, from all the folks at the Seattle Kung Fu Club who contributed bits of fabric, and me. It is truly multicultural, with the pink and red “Folklorico Las Golondrinas” fabric by DeLeon Design group, the Zen-looking Chinese cats, the cute French baby words fabric, and the Seattle memorabilia. Since the baby shower is in just seven days, I’m zooming through this process and loving the work, with Angelique Kidjo and others singing me on! Stand by for more to come… It’ll be a busy week.

This story is simple:  1 & 1 (plus love) = 3, and we’re all here to welcome her!

SKFC baby quilt day two Sept 1 2019