Between endings and beginnings
We tidy up.

Austin Kleon says

The best studio tidying is a kind of exploring — I’m re-discovering spaces as I sift through the objects that occupy them. The reason I tidy is not to clean, but to come into contact with something special that I’ve forgotten that I can now use. This is a slow, dreamy, ruminative, reminiscent form of tidying.

Despite a year ending and another beginning, I am still between. I am between not-finished and finished on the last quilt of 2017. Or at this point, the first quilt of 2018. The binding is attached and ready to hand-stitch in place.

I am between. I’ve finished the last quilt on my current longarm and will not machine quilt again until I get a new one.

I am between. My small squares are pinned to my large squares, ready to begin sewing 112 flying geese blocks. They might be for a strip quilt. They might not.

I am between. I’ve drawn a rooster to appliqué and chosen fabrics, but haven’t started cutting or sewing yet.

I am between. Part of my studio has been tidied and vacuumed. Part of it has not.

As Kleon says, the time between is useful for rediscovering spaces. Are they spaces within our studio, or spaces within ourselves? Will my time without a longarm create space to explore other parts of my creative self? The paper-cutting or block printing or writing parts?

Between endings and beginnings
We plan.

I am between, making plans for a year to unfold regardless of my plans. This morning Jim got a call from our son-in-law. He is a satellite engineer and invited us to his next launch. We will plan to go, but it will go up, or not, whether we are there or not.

I plan. I plan for making and for travel. I create “goals” that might just be wishes. I have wishes for the new year, for teaching and writing and travel and family time, not necessarily in that order. I have wishes for outdoors and museums and music in equal measure. All of these require space, the time between, to plan for and enjoy.

Between endings and beginnings
We tidy up.

Between beginnings and endings
We make messy again.

22 thoughts on “Between

  1. Dot

    A beautiful and evocative piece of writing…as always, you’ve given me something to think about. All the best for your new (ad)ventures in 2018

  2. snarkyquilter

    It’s fitting that January is named for Janus, the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. (taken from Wikipedia) All seem to apply to your feelings at this time. Hope you get the longarm issue squared away.

  3. KerryCan

    A lovely, contemplative piece of writing–it really captures feeling of this time of year and the transition we feel like we’re making, all created in our own minds, but no less unsettling! I didn’t know you were going to buy a new longarm machine–do you have one picked out? Will it cost more than a new car? It sounds like you have ideas to keep you busy in the meantime.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Kerry. As you say, the transition from year to year is in our own minds, but that might not be a bad thing. 🙂 Yes a new longarm. I’ve fought with this one for a long time. When it works well, it is great. Jim has encouraged me to get something different, but I’ve resisted, I guess worried about the trade-off between the devil you know and the devil you don’t know. Last week I called the company to speak with the owner. I’ve met him many times and saw him last time I was in the shop a few weeks ago. He actually answered the main phone line. He agreed I need a different machine and offered to give me an even trade for a newer used machine of the same model. Or to give me a fair deal on a new machine with trade-in. I will probably go with the upgraded machine, newer electronics, etc, but will want to try it first. If you bought it new, with the frame, etc, it would be a decent new car. But I have the frame and I have the trade-in, and I couldn’t get a new car for that. 🙂 Anyway, I’ll go back to the factory next week (it’s about 30 miles from me) and try the souped-up version. Then it will be several weeks before getting one, as they build on order. I don’t have any deadlines to meet right now so several weeks is no problem.

  4. katechiconi

    If ‘between’ can be assigned a positive value, then you’re VERY between, and in the best possible way, just the reach of a hand away, or the threading of a needle. No major hurdles, no mental blocks, just… between. It sounds to me as if you’re poised on tiptoe to launch yourself into a wonderful year. Happy 2018.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Oh, yes, what a nice way to put that! No major hurdles or big mental blocks. That’s pretty true! Thanks for framing it in a tipped-to-positive way! I wasn’t feeling badly about it, but this is even better. 😀

  5. audrey

    So interesting to read this post as I was just in the quilt room two days ago sorting through orphan blocks and other bits and pieces of prior quilts! I’ve often found that a good ‘in between’ process when not in the mood for working on the current quilting. Never know when or how inspiration will strike!


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