all my life’s a circle

 y’know that Harry Chapin song? It popped into my head when I stared at a blank screen and thought about a title for this post. Since I thought of the title before writing the post, I will now try to draw a connection from the song to what I sat down to write about. (If you’d prefer to skip over the meandering, scroll down to the bold.)

Since a coworker was teasing me recently for being a young’un and never having played on an Atari or seen a Pinto, I’ll admit that this song is way before my time. Harry Chapin, himself, is before my time; he died four years before I was born. But I kind of grew up with him, or at least his Greatest Stories Live album. It was a standard tape (that’s right, we listened to tapes — I’m not that young) on family road trips. You see, my dad always drove, and the driver got to pick the music. He used to tell me that Harry Chapin wasn’t a musician as much as a storyteller. His songs, particularly “A Better Place to Be” and “Mr. Tanner,” touched me. At an age when I couldn’t really grasp the depth of those songs, I knew on some level that they were bittersweet, and they made me genuinely sad. To this day, when I hear them, I remember being in the back seat of that old, baby blue ford e150 van with blue shag carpeting. (My favorite song on the album as a child, of course, was “30,000 Pounds of Bananas.”)

But “All My Life’s a Circle” is a simple song. It starts in a bittersweet manner, and then everyone in the band takes turns singing (even the cellist) ending in a joyous chorus:

All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.

All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
Season’s spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.

I went through all my Flickr pictures last night. Looked back over just about everything I’ve sewn in the past year and a half. Saw my tastes change, saw a few times when I checked out, disappeared. If there were a Flickr calendar, I could point out weeks or months when I stopped creating. I could also point to certain projects and remember what was going on in my life at the time. The torn pair of pants I patched for an ex just before we split up, for example. A lot changes in 18 months.

No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There’s no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends.

So life is circular. We’ve all seen the Lion King. But when you’re a kid, when you’re going through something for the first time (or even the first few times), you don’t see that. Everything is life or death. Every love is the one. Every heartache is the worst. Every joy or hardship is the superlative. But at some point, you start to see the circles. You start to know that you can conquer whatever comes your way, because you’ve done it all before to an extent. You’ve encountered myriad situations. You’ve borne hard burdens, and you’ve experienced overwhelming joys.

(Cue awkward, forced transition) I wonder if this is what its like to be in a long-term relationship. For me — seeing the circles in my life — it took more than 20 years. My parents will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary in a couple of months. I wonder how long it took them to see the circles in their individual lives and then in their life together. They’ve been together almost two-thirds of their lives.

And here’s where I get to the point: So in a year and a couple of months, I plan to give them a king-sized, hand-quilted double-wedding ring quilt. This is partially a request from my mother, who last summer dropped the not-so-subtle “hint” that I was to make them a king-sized quilt for their 40th anniversary. The pattern and quilting method were my idea.

And no, the pictures I’ve been showing are not the beginning of that project! I did a little thinking today and realized that it will take me at least a month to quilt the sucker, and that’s if I do one block a day for a month, with a couple of extra blocks some days. And that’s a tall order. So I’m starting now with a test mini-quilt of sorts. Basically, I’m starting to make blocks, and I’m going to keep going until I get my technique down, just so there aren’t any flubs or mess-ups when it comes time to make the real thing.

These colors aren’t what I would have picked. I’m kind of on a neutrals kick after seeing this on flickr and this on pinterest. But I’m trying to be frugal. I’ve had this stack of fabric languishing on my shelf, and it needs to go! Also, I think these colors may be just what I need right now. I brightened up my themes on tweet deck and gmail this week — the things I look at most on the computer screen, it seems — and just looking at lighter, brighter colors has lifted my mood a bit.

For the background, I had planned to use some buttercream yellow that I picked up at my favorite local fabric shop, the stitch lab (leftover from my mom’s Christmas gift). Then, this morning, I put the arches up against the leftover aqua from this project (that I still need to finish!) and I gotta say, I like it. Cant decide whats better, though. Blue or yellow?


2 thoughts on “all my life’s a circle

    • Thanks, girl! The paper foundation piecing is weird to me so far. I keep wanting to put the fabric on the printed side of the paper. I’ll definitely be posting more pictures as I progress!

      – meghan

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